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WATERLOO — An old Cold Warrior from Waterloo recently received a rare career service award in the heart of a former Warsaw Pact country.

Retired U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Evan “Curly” Hultman last month received the highest award of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve officers, a NATO-affiliated group, at a recent conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.

A Waterloo resident, Hultman, 84, who served as the group’s president in 1992-94, received the group’s honorary president award. Only one other officer in the organization’s 61-year history has been so honored. Hultman has been active in U.S. and NATO reserve officer organizations for more than 25 years.

“That blew me away. I didn’t believe it,” Hultman said of the award. He had been in charge of a day-long seminar at the Sofia conference, unaware he was to be honored at a banquet at day’s end.

“This was accepted an announced in a moving ceremony with our good friend Curly, who was totally surprised and overwhelmed,” said Dr. Hans-Jurgen Schraut of Germany, also a past president of the organization, in an e-mail communication to association members. “It is tough to keep a secret from him as you know, but we achieved it. Nobody deserves it better than our good friend and true American patriot.”

Hultman was nominated for the honor by other past presidents of the organization.

The organization provides advice on reserve issues, support to the NATO alliance, and promotes the professional development of reserve officers. Hultman, in particular, has been active in working with the former Warsaw Pact nations of eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria, now members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program as many of them make the transition to full NATO membership.

Hultman, a graduate of East High School, entered the Army in 1943 as an infantry private and was discharged from active duty as a captain in 1946, having served as a battalion commander overseas, but continued with the Reserves. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1975 and major general in 1980. He was elected president of the Senior Army Reserve Commanders Association in 1983 and 1984. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He served four years as Iowa attorney general, 14 years as U.S. district attorney and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1964.

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