Donald Rumsfeld meets Yongsan eye to eye
October 17, 2011
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense for the Bush Administration until 2006 and a public servant for over 50 years, visited Yongsan Garrison to promote his memoir with a book signing at the Post Exchange Oct. 13.
His memoir, "Known and Unknown," was released in February with two interesting conditions. First, all of the proceeds from the book would go to veteran's charities, as he had already turned down his advance for the book.
The second move was to release, in conjunction with the book, thousands of documents on a public database online at his website. The documents are referred to throughout his memoir, and are stored in a library index on his site, giving readers the ability to check the official documentation with his story. This mixture of online reference directly tied to the book meant that it was, Rumsfeld said, the first book made for the information age.
Rumsfeld first met with USAG Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. John Justis, in a small room inside the PX for coffee and pastries. Rumsfeld presented him with a personally signed copy of the book and the two spoke about their various experiences within the Military, Rumsfeld reflecting on his time as both an aviator and an ambassador.
Garrison Commander Col. William Huber arrived shortly after with his own copy of the memoir. After a brief talk with both Huber and Justis, Armed Forces Network Korea interviewed Rumsfeld during which the former defense secretary answered questions about his memoir along with his attempts to transform the Military during the Bush Administration. When asked about what he would tell the people of Yongsan, Rumsfeld was clear.
"The wonderful opportunity for me is to be able to look them in the eye, shake their hand and tell them how much we value their service to the country," Rumsfeld said. "To see some of their Families and tell them as well that their service is important. That they're performing something for our country that is highly valued, and I'm grateful to them and I know the American people are grateful."
The book signing began as Army Capt. Victor Kareh, a pilot with the 4th Squadron, 2nd Aviation Regt., 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was the first man to get his signed copy from Rumsfeld. Even after noon, the line led from the podium to another section of the PX, with dozens waiting in line to meet with the former secretary of defense. During that time, Rumsfeld refused to sit down, instead wishing to stand to meet the people of Yongsan eye to eye.
Keith Urbahn, Rumsfeld's chief of staff for five years and a member of the Navy reserve, said that it has been a terrific experience to travel with Rumsfeld on his tour, both on and off base.
"Everywhere we go, we try to visit a Military post," said Urbahn. "Not because it necessarily sells a ton of books or because he doesn't have other meetings, but because he genuinely loves being around the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. He's energized from it, and he appreciates having the chance to get to say thank you to all of the people, many of whom he served alongside during his time as SecDef."