Farewell Message from Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker
The following is a farewell message to the Army from Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the 35th chief of staff of the Army.
Tomorrow we will stand on the parade field at Fort Myer and the mantle of Army Chief of Staff will pass to General George W. Casey. It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve alongside you - the Soldiers, civilians and family members - who make the Army the world's preeminent land force, the ultimate instrument of national resolve.
Upon becoming 35th Army Chief of Staff in August 2003, I issued an "Arrival Message" to the force. In that message I spoke of standing in an Iranian desert in 1980, on a moonlit night, at a place called Desert One, where eight of our comrades lost their lives and others were forever scarred. I spoke of keeping a photo of the carnage that night to remind me of the grief and failure of that mission and the commitment survivors of that operation made to a different future.
Having now been in this Army for almost four decades, and having seen the Army my father served in for 32 years before that, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that today's battle-hardened Army does, in fact, reflect the different "future" we envisioned.
Standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, the men and women of today's Army have remained focused on our nonnegotiable responsibility to the nation. For almost 232 years, the Army has never failed the American people, and it never will. We have been resolute in the pursuit of our four overarching strategies - providing relevant and ready landpower; training and equipping Soldiers to serve as warriors and growing adaptive leaders; sustaining the all-volunteer force composed of highly competent Soldiers who are provided a quality of life commensurate with the level of their service; and providing infrastructure and support to enable the force to fulfill its strategic roles and missions. Furthermore, instead of reigning-in our drive to transform during a time of war, we have leveraged opportunities in this conflict to establish and accelerate the momentum necessary to reshape the entire force into a more capable campaign-quality force with vastly improved joint and expeditionary capabilities.
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