Rumsfeld visits Mountain Post
July 28, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a book signing and meet and greet with the military community at the Fort Carson Post Exchange July 21.
His memoir, “Known and Unknown,” hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list in February, and since then Rumsfeld has traveled to military installations around the country personalizing copies of his book and meeting servicemembers and their families.
“(Book signings) give me a chance to thank (Soldiers) for their service and say ‘hello,’” said Rumsfeld, who led the Department of Defense after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “All my proceeds are going to military charities sponsored by the Rumsfeld Foundation.”
The book spans half a century of American history from Rumsfeld’s experiences as secretary of defense, 1975-1977 and 2001-2006, as well as his service as a U.S. congressman, U.S. ambassador to NATO and White House chief of staff, along with other job positions.
“The book is my slice of what happened,” Rumsfeld said. “I’ve backed (the book) up with 3,800 documents … if I say something in the book, people can go to (http://www.rumsfeld.com) and find the original document.”
About 500 people stood in line to get their books signed.
“I’m a great admirer of Rumsfeld and we wanted to say ‘thank you’ for his service,” said David McComb, who stood in line for an hour and half with his wife, Sgt. Kiki McComb, 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
The line snaked through the store and Rumsfeld stayed until every book was signed.
“He was originally only going to sign books from 4-6 p.m., but he stayed until the line ended around 8:30 p.m.,” said Sean McCoy, PX sales area manager.
McCoy said that 10 Soldiers walked into the PX shortly after the event ended.
“Mr. Rumsfeld saw the Soldiers walk in and decided to put the table back to personalize their books and take a picture with them,” McCoy said. “He then autographed about 100 unsold books … he didn’t get out of there until around 9 p.m.”
During his visit, Rumsfeld sat down with Brig. Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, and Senior Mission Command Sgt. Maj. John Kurak, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. Doty presented Rumsfeld with a 4th Inf. Div. belt buckle before chatting for a half hour about 4th Inf. Div. history and changes in the military during the last 50 years.
Rumsfeld then headed out to the sales floor where he was greeted by a line of PX employees and customers waving small American flags in front of the book-signing display.
He began signing books and posing for pictures immediately.
“Someone brought in a talking ‘Rummy Doll’ for him to autograph,” McCoy said. “He got a kick out of it ... he is a good-natured fellow.”
The event proved to be a success with great attendance and about 500 books sold, said Pat Riordan, PX general manager.
“This book is definitely going on my night stand,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Jablonski, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., who was first in line.
Rumsfeld, who is the youngest and oldest person to serve as secretary of defense and the only person to serve twice, said he spent four years writing the book.
“Writing the book was a lot of work … but it seemed to me that for people to understand the history of that period, it would be helpful for them to have a book and the documentation to support it,” Rumsfeld said.