Gen. Casey Becomes Chief of Staff
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

<b>Acting Secretary Pete Geren:</b> It's an honor for me to preside over this ceremony celebrating the career of one of our Army's finest, General Pete Schoomaker and welcome General George Casey as our new Army Chief of Staff.

Pete Schoomaker, son of a soldier, a soldier, father of a soldier. Nearly four decades of active duty service characterized by sacrifice, courage, and devotion to duty by Pete and his wonderful wife Cindy whom we also honor today.

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your husband and your life with the Army for these many years. Thank you for your service in meeting the needs of Army families and improving the quality of life for soldiers and their loved ones. The Army is going to miss you both.

I'm one of three men who have had the privilege to serve as Secretary or Acting Secretary of the Army alongside General Pete Schoomaker, including Les Brownlee and Fran Harvey who are with us today. I speak for all of us when I say it's been a privilege to work alongside this extraordinary leader and this great teacher -- a man who has given so much for his country and the Army he loves. A former Commander in Chief once said "Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. By that measure and any other Pete Schoomaker is a patriot. A man who's always put the good of the country first, who's always answered the call to duty although this last time around he was ready but he nearly missed the call.

In November 2000 General Schoomaker retired from active duty, or thought he had retired. In the summer of 2003 the General received a call from Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld asking him to return to duty. General Schoomaker thought the call was a joke, thought it was a friend. Uttered a few choice words, as Pete Schoomaker is apt to do, and he hung up. [Laughter]. Undeterred, the Secretary persisted. General Schoomaker took the call and he took the job.

Today, four years later, here we are at the conclusion of the latest chapter in the lifetime of service of Pete Schoomaker.

Pete Schoomaker's career is highlighted by command at every level from an armored cavalry troop command in Germany to many special operations commands, but the experience that did the most to shape his service to our nation and his leadership in the Army was his assignment with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment B, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In 1980 he led a Delta Force team during Operation Eagle Claw, known to most of us as Desert One -- the ill-fated attempt to rescue Americans held hostage in Iran. One of the opening engagements of our country's long war against terror.

Desert One taught General Schoomaker important lessons that shaped his leadership as a senior Army officer and as our Chief. In his words, "Don't ever confuse enthusiasm with capability." And, "Great effort can never make up for lack of readiness." Hence Pete Schoomaker's commitment, his determination that all soldiers who serve under him, and as Chief that means all soldiers, would be properly trained, manned and equipped. They would be ready.

As Army Chief of Staff, General Schoomaker has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Army is ready for any mission that our nation requires; that wherever duty calls the soldiers we send will be the best trained, best led, best equipped, we've ever put in the field.

The Chief has long recognized that this global war on terrorism is a long war. This war is not new for Pete Schoomaker. From his participation in Desert I; his deployment to Lebanon after the Marine Corps terrorist attack in Beirut in 1983; his deployments to counter multiple terrorist attacks in the following five years; to Operation Just Cause in Nicaragua; to the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998; Pete Schoomaker has been a soldier in this long war for a long time. He understands the threat and he shapes our Army to respond. He understands further that we must use all elements of national power, not just the military, to win this war.

While resourcing this fight he also led the greatest reorganization of the United States Army since World War II. Moving from a division to a brigade-based force and leading the most extensive modernization plan in three decades -- the Future Combat System.

He has dedicated himself to ensuring the Army's future readiness by building strategic depth. His work with Dr. Harvey has resulted in unprecedented growth in the Army's available resources and progress in balancing the Army's global requirements with available resources -- a prerequisite for maintaining the momentum the Army has established in building a fully modular force, ready and capable to conduct sustained operations any time, any where duty calls. This is a strategic imperative that is driving every aspect of Army transformation.

But as the Chief often reminds us, this job of modernization and transformation is never done and it cannot wait until this war is over or until the next war is over. We must maintain the momentum he initiated and sustained over his years of service.

He also reminds us, perhaps most importantly, that war is fought in the human dimension. There is no substitute for boots on the ground. All the modernization and transformation will never change that.

Pete Schoomaker's list of accomplishments is long and will prove enduring, but perhaps the one that has done more to prepare our Army for whatever lies ahead is the warrior ethos. The words he requires every soldier to learn by heart and an ethos he has lived every day he has worn the uniform. Every soldier must learn it, but they must more importantly learn what it takes to live it. No matter the rank, the job, the unit, all soldiers are warriors. They learn to always place the mission first; never accept defeat; never quit; and never leave a fallen comrade. The ethos is and will continue to be the soul of the American soldier, a proud legacy for this great warrior, Pete Schoomaker.

Pete has also said, "If you're riding ahead of a herd take a look back every now and then to make sure the herd is still there." Pete, you can be assured that this herd is following you every step of the way and that your leadership will be missed.

As you make your well-deserved world to the retired world from the Army know that the legacy you have left for your Army is a legacy that will endure as long as your Army keeps rolling along.

Pete and Cindy, on behalf of 1.3 million soldiers -- active, Guard and Reserve, and Army civilian -- stationed and fighting around the globe, we're proud to have served with you. We wish you and Cindy the very best, whatever comes next.


As we say goodbye to one American soldier and his family, we welcome another and proudly do so today. Our 36th Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, his wife Sheila and his family. He also is the son of a soldier, the father of a soldier.

General Casey spent the last two and a half years as Commanding General, Multinational Force Iraq. He is a soldier's soldier with 36 years of distinguished service. He knows firsthand the quality of the force that he will lead as America's top soldier. The Army welcomes your leadership, experience and knowledge as we face the challenges of the future together.

In closing, our Army is blessed with selfless and gifted men and women who have answered the call to duty at great sacrifice and with great risk, soldiers such as those we honor today, who accept nothing but the best that our Army and our nation can provide our soldiers. I thank each of you for what you have done and continue to do every day in support of our nation. May God bless Pete and Cindy Schoomaker and George and Sheila Casey, our soldiers, our Army, and our great nation. Army Strong. Thank you.


I now welcome Dr. Robert Gates, the 22nd Secretary of Defense. Thank you.

<b>Secretary Robert Gates:</b> Thanks Pete.

The only positive thing I can find about Pete Schoomaker retiring is that it will simplify my life a little bit because I deal with Pete Geren, Pete Pace, Pete Chiarelli. [Laughter].

I want to thank all of our distinguished guests, especially the former Chiefs of Staff of the Army who are here with us today.

I've been fortunate in recent weeks to attend a number of changes of command and they've given me the opportunity to honor some of our military's most talented leaders, some of whom are going on to other commands, and some of whom are retiring after decades of service to our country. General Schoomaker falls into the latter category, but I would have to note this isn't the first time that he retired. I do suspect it will be the last.

Some of his staff are under the impression that his truck is over in the parking lot right now packed with the engine running as we speak, just waiting for this ceremony to end. And rumor has it that he has a vanity license plate that reads "AWOL". [Laughter].

As Pete Geren noted, in 2003 Secretary Rumsfeld asked Pete to return to service as Army Chief of Staff. It's a great testament to Pete's sense of duty that he abandoned a nascent ranch adventure in his home state of Wyoming to return to Washington, D.C., a place where he has noted too often "the horses ride the cowboys." [Laughter].

Like Pete, I slunk from just retirement, but unlike Pete who as the other Pete said, hung up on Secretary Rumsfeld thinking it was a crank call, I did not hang up on the President -- a decision I may live to regret. [Laughter]. But it does remind me of another Washington saying, you know about being careful what you ask for. Well in Washington you have to be careful even what you don't ask for because you may still get it.

Although Pete didn't ask for this post he knew from the second he took the oath that there were great challenges before him, that this was a critical moment in the history of the United States and in the history of the Army. I doubt many people know it, but both Pete and I consider the same event to be a pivotal moment in our professional lives. As Secretary Geren said, in early 1980 Pete was part of a team sent in to rescue our hostages from the embassy in Iran. I was Chief of Staff of CIA at the time and I spent most of that long night at the White House with the Director of Central Intelligence. Though we at the White House and those on the ground saw things from very different perspectives, many of us came away with the same lessons about the importance of true jointness and the constant need to be prepared and vigilant. To maintain our armed forces even in times of peace. And always to look ahead to threats on and even beyond the horizon.

Pete keeps a photo of the destruction from the rescue attempt to remind him of what had happened. It was at that moment that he committed himself to a future where enthusiasm would always be matched by our capability.

We are seeing that future today. Challenging times require extraordinary vision and leadership, and Pete has shown both of those qualities. He has entirely changed the manner in which our Army is training, deployed and organized.

Pete was called out of retirement because of his wealth of experience, particularly his unique knowledge of special operations and unconventional warfare -- an area of expertise that stresses innovation and versatility. He has shown remarkable ability to lead individuals as well as institutions by his more than 30 years in the military. From his days as a platoon leader, to several Delta Force assignments, to his leadership of U.S. Special Operations Command. Preparing our forces for the kinds of wars we are fighting and the ones we may be called upon to fight in the future is a difficult task in an environment that requires the riflemen as well as the smart bomb. Unconventional approaches as well as conventional power.

He has led the transition from a division-based Army, the standard since World War II, to a brigade-based Army, a lighter, more lethal force that can deploy rapidly and effectively to meet today's challenges.

To give some perspective, when I was last in government 14 years ago we measured the time it took to deploy most brigades in months. Today we measure it in weeks and days.

In just a few short years Pete has also revamped the training protocol across the entire Army, focusing on the skills necessary to conduct complex operations on an unconventional battlefield with no front line.

I'm reminded of a story Steven Ambrose told in one of his books about World War II. A reporter was interviewing a man who had been in a front line foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge. He asked about the rear echelon. The veteran replied, "Listen, as far as I'm concerned, every son of a bitch behind my foxhole is rear echelon." [Laughter]. That sounds a lot like Pete Schoomaker.

Every so often an institution needs a leader to remind us of its core values. Pete has done that by emphasizing the warrior ethos and focusing on physical fitness and basic skills like marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat. This has led to a renewal of timeless values like personal courage and pride and one's physical and mental strength; an integral part of the moral fiber and institutional memory that has throughout history made our military so effective against our enemies and so respected by our friends.

Any of these accomplishments alone would be the accomplishment of a career, but Pete has managed to do all of this in a few short years while simultaneously fighting two wars. He has done so within the confines of one of the world's largest bureaucracies -- one that isn't exactly known for turning on a dime. In fact I understand that when Pete came out of retirement his status was changed somehow from retired to deceased. [Laughter]. It took General Schoomaker, the highest ranking officer in the Army, a full six months to iron out the paperwork. Leave it to the Pentagon bureaucracy to prove that you can in fact be brought back from the dead. [Laughter].

Pete, thank you for your service. Cindy, he couldn't have done it without your love and support. Our nation is grateful to both of you and the men and women of the armed forces are stronger and safer because of everything you've done.

Pete's successor, General George Casey, is well qualified to take the Army spot -- or was well qualified to take the Army spot three years ago after serving as Vice Chief. After that job, however, he volunteered to spend 30 months as Commander of Multinational Forces Iraq. In that capacity he oversaw the largest sustained ground force operation by the United States military in more than 30 years, and years that included the ratification of the Iraqi constitution, two successful nationwide elections, and the creation of the Iraqi Army and police force essentially from scratch.

George Casey has the unique experience of having served at the highest levels on both the institutional and operational sides of the Army. Perhaps more importantly, though, he has seen the face of war in the 21st Century firsthand. The complex nature of asymmetric warfare, urban combat, counterinsurgency operations and sustained commitments of a rotational, expeditionary Army abroad.

If George Casey were well qualified to take this position before his tour in Iraq, he is superbly qualified now. He has an intimate familiarity with all the challenges, personnel, equipment and tactics that the Army must face in the present and in the future.

I'd be remiss if I didn't close without a word about Sheila Casey. For 30 months she endured separation from George when he agreed and then re-agreed to assume the mantle and burdens of command in Iraq. Our nation is in Sheila's debt as we are to all the spouses of all the soldiers who are deployed to dangerous and distant battlefields. I know Sheila will be a stalwart advocate for Army families as she takes on her latest role in what has been a lifetime of service.

George, Sheila, thank you for everything you have done and will do for this country. I look forward to working with you.

Thank you very much.


<b>General Pete Schoomaker:</b> Sir, thank you very much for your kind words.

In that letter that I received from Finance when I got called back, the interesting thing was, it was a form letter. They had my name in there three times. Each time it was misspelled. [Laughter]. Now it takes some incredible talent or some deep stupidity to be able to do a form letter that way. The good news is today our name is actually being pronounced correctly every time, and I am profoundly grateful. I know my father will be for that. Thanks very much. [Laughter].

Before I address the Soldiers, civilians, retirees and families who make up our great Army, let me take a moment to acknowledge all of the distinguished guests, friends and family members who are here today. Of course they're so numerous I'm not going to try to recognize each individual, but I want to thank all of you sincerely for your presence in honoring us here today.

Secretary Gates, Secretary Geren, thank you both for hosting today's ceremony and for your kind remarks. Your leadership remains critical to the success and the future readiness of our Army and the security of our nation.

Members of Congress, your support has been and will be essential in the future as we continue to fight this long war. Thank you very much.

General Pete Pace and my brother Joint Chiefs, your presence here is appreciated and reflective of the joint teamwork that is so necessary today. I stand before you here as a "joint officer" in Army blue. I thank you very much for your presence.

It's also great to see so many representatives of our allies and our coalition partners here. There are dozens of them present today, all of whom are very very important to our Army and our nation as we join together in the great challenges that lie ahead.

General Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; Sergeant Major of the Army Preston, my battle buddies. Thank you both for your support and dedication over the years, both for your professional support and for your friendship; and for all those who are on the Army Staff, the DAS with the Secretariat and all of those who have served so well during the time that we've been here.

I would also like to recognize all of our former Chiefs who joined us here today. Many of them present and I won't go through all of them. But as I've said before, there have been 34 distinguished leaders who have preceded me in this position, all renowned stewards of our Army. It has been an honor to walk in their footsteps, and we all stand on the shoulders of these giants as we go forward.

It's great to see Fran Harvey and Les Brownlee here today, both of whom I shared foxholes with during my tenure as the Chief of Staff -- fighting the good fight for the Army and the nation. Both of these individuals are selfless servants of our Soldiers and their families and I thank them for their leadership and for their friendship.

Finally, I'd like to thank my wife Cindy and our wonderful family for all their support and understanding over the many years, especially these last four. Many of our friends and relatives have traveled great distances to be here. We thank you for that. Unfortunately my parents cannot be here today. An Army couple, who served 32 years themselves in three wars -- World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and of course the Cold War. My mother is on the operating table as we speak, a very serious surgery, and of course our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Let me now turn to the men and women of the United States Army to whom so much is owed. The Soldiers in formation on this field this morning represent those 1.3 million members of our total force -- active, Guard and Reserve -- along with our families, the Army civilians, retirees and veterans. Again, you always look so great and we thank you for all that you contribute, for your service, for your precision, and for your professionalism. Again, I'd like to give them a warm round of applause.


As General Abrams taught us, "people are not in the Army, they are the Army." My four years as Army Chief have only affirmed that our Soldiers remain our greatest strength. Because war is fought in the human dimension the men and women, both in and out of uniform, who are willing to put their boots on the ground are absolutely essential. While technology has changed our Army's almost 232 year history, there can be little doubt that when you look into the eyes of our warriors today as I have in the past four years, you see the same patriotism that George Washington must have seen at Valley Forge. You see the same dedication to duty that General Pershing must have witnessed during the Muese-Argonne offensive. When you look into the eyes of our warriors today, you can't help but see the same steely-eyed resolve that our Rangers who scaled the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day certainly had -- the same resolve that I saw in eight of the survivors of that mission some 60 years at the [Normandy]reunion. You see the same Warrior Ethos that those who fought at the Chosin Reservoir clearly exemplified, and the same courage that those who fought in the Ia Drang [Valley] possessed.

The past four years I have looked into the eyes of today's warriors -- both on the plateaus in Afghanistan where I joined Soldiers in battle; and on the patrols that I walked, in the streets of Ramadi, in Mosul, and elsewhere; with squad leaders who are living the NCO Creed and taking care of their Soldiers; at log bases in Kuwait and around the world where logisticians are focused on sustaining the force and where young NCOs and officers are leading Soldiers over hundreds of miles of open desert on convoys in the face of danger; during rotations in our training centers and where we're training new Soldiers in initial entry training, our trainers and our OpFor and drill sergeants and instructors on the platform -- all living their values, building the Warrior Ethos, growing leaders, growing Soldiers for the future. And of course in our world-class depots where our Department of the Army civilians and others work.

Everywhere I have visited and everything I've seen encourages me.

This past four years I have looked into the eyes of today's warriors and I am proud to report that they continue to achieve every expectation for courage, dedication and selfless service. They are the heart of all we do. They are our future. They demonstrate both strength and compassion.

Of course, I don't need to remind any of you here, so near to the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery where many of our nation's fallen warriors rest, and in the shadow of the Pentagon where terrorists rained their evil almost six years ago, that America is in the midst of a Long War. I believe that this is the most dangerous period in my lifetime. We're still closer to the beginning than the end of this fight.

For all those who have sacrificed so much already, the reality is that although the burden of this Long War is slowly beginning to shift to a more balanced approach, using all elements of our national power, the pace of conflict and the pace of the required transformational change and adaptation must accelerate.

The road ahead will not be easy and the stakes could not be higher. As Soldiers we must continue to demonstrate the initiative, resilience and innovation at all levels. As Soldiers we must continue to adhere to our non-negotiable values and Warrior Ethos. As Soldiers, we must continue to learn and adapt.

In return, however, as Soldiers we must know that our country recognizes and appreciates the burdens that we and our families carry. Soldiers must know that we will continue to focus on improving the readiness of the force to fight today and to succeed in an uncertain, complex future. Soldiers must know that the Army continues to enjoy the admiration, support and appreciation of all Americans.

Finally, as we pass the mantle of responsibility to George W. Casey and to his wonderful wife Sheila, I am confident that with his leadership and the dedication, skill and courage of the Soldiers that continue to serve the nation. I once again can take off this uniform with the conviction that our Army is on the proper azimuth and having been proud of the privilege of having been a small part of all of this.

To our brave men and women in uniform, to the families of our fallen heroes, to all our combat wounded veterans, to our VA civilians and Army families, and every one who supports us, thank you. Thank you for your service and for your sacrifice. It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve alongside each of you.

God bless you all. God bless America and our great Army. Thank you.


<b>General George Casey:</b> Good morning.

It occurred to me as I was walking up to this [duty] stand today that the last time I was on the stand I was playing with my grandchildren who were having a fine time running up and down the ramps here until we were chased away by the duty officer across the road over there. When he came out and yelled at us, we did the only honorable thing. We ran across the parade field and hid in the bushes. [Laughter].

Secretary Gates, thank you very much for your confidence and your personal support. I look forward to working with you.

Representatives Shelton and [Saxton], Representative of Congress, welcome, and thank you for what you personally do and for what Congress does to support the men and women of America's armed forces.

Ambassador John and Diane Negroponte and Ambassador [Senady], also welcome to you.

Secretary Geren and the other service Secretaries, and the former Secretaries of the Army, Fran Harvey and Les Brownlee -- welcome and it's great to see you here today.

Pete and Lynn Pace and the other members of the Joint Chiefs and their brides, welcome. I look forward to working with you here in the coming days.

Former Chairman -- Dick and Mary Joe Myers. Thanks for coming out here and sharing the day with us.

As was already mentioned, lots of former Army Chiefs of Staff are present here today. I'd like to thank them personally for their support and helping prepare me for this position and I will take you up on the many offers of continued support.

Some of the flag officers, both serving and retired, military and defense attaches from our friends and allies, Command Sergeant Major and Karen Preston. And I'd like to recognize retired Command Sergeant Major Tom [Charl] and his wife Dagmar. Tom was my first infantry platoon sergeant. He and Sergeant Major Preston, who was my Division Command Sergeant Major are fine examples of the non-commissioned officer corps of our Army that have not only made a skinny little college kid from Georgetown into a soldier, but make our Army what it is today. So welcome.

I'd like to thank the Old Guard here and the Army Band for making this a very very special day for everyone. You look sharp and you are a fine representation of the men and women of our Army.

It's an honor and a privilege for me to stand before you today and I am both proud and grateful for the opportunity to serve here as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. And I'm thankful to the President, and particularly [to Members of] the Congress, for their trust and confidence.

I'd like to add my personal thanks to those already expressed on behalf of our Army and of the nation to Pete Schoomaker. He did a tremendous job building an Army ready to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and Pete, I wish you and Cindy the very best in your retirement and all your future endeavors.

Our Army is strong today and every soldier is a warrior because of your vision and your leadership. You and Cindy are both a fine example of selfless service to our nation.


I'm proud to be taking charge of an Army that's regarded as the best in the world at what it does. And having watched the men and women of our Army in action for the past several years in the most demanding combat environments I take great pride in the courage, the competence, and the commitment of our soldiers and civilians to both the ideals that have made this country great, and to making a difference in our world. They epitomize what is best about America. They and their families carry heavy burdens in today's world, with the hard road ahead. Yet their willingness to sacrifice, to build a better future for others, and to preserve our way of life is a great strength for our nation.

In every generation when faced with difficult challenges Americans have risen to the occasion. Today such heroes fill the Army's ranks. They continue to rise to the occasion and it is their selfless efforts that make victory possible. I could not be more proud of them.

We are locked today in a war against a global extremist network that is fixed on defeating the United States and destroying our way of life. This [inaudible] will not go away nor will he give up easily and the next decade is likely to be one of persistent conflict. We are engaged in a long war.

At stake is the power of our values and our civilization, exemplified by the problems of America to confront and defeat the menace of extremist terrorism. At stake is whether the authority of those who treasure the rights of free individuals will stand firm against the ruthless and pitiless men who wantonly [sway] the defenses. At stake is whether the future will be [framed] by individual freedoms we hold so dear, or dominated by the [inaudible] of extremism. At stake is whether we will continue to expand freedom, opportunity and decency for all those who thirst for it or let fall the darkness of extremism and terror.

We've been at war for over five years fighting for our freedom, our security, and our future as a nation. We have made hard sacrifices and we will be called on to make more.

Faced with such a long and difficult struggle it's useful to remind ourselves that this Army exists to field forces for victory. We are in this war to win. We have fought this way since 1775 and we always will. It will be soldiers that will lead our nation to victory over this enemy. Such is the nature of this war.

Our combat veterans know well the meaning of Army Strong. They have been baptized in fire and blood and they have come out as steel. That steel endures. Our warrior ethos has it right -- I will always place the mission first, I will never quit, I will never accept defeat, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.

The quality of the men and women of our Army is the best that I've seen in my 36 years of service.

In his second inaugural address President Lincoln clearly established our collective national responsibility to our soldiers and families. "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphans."

The remarkable men and women of our all volunteer force supported by their dedicated families are a national treasure and will be cared for accordingly. Our nation recognizes that our soldiers and families deserve a quality of care and a quality of life commensurate with the magnificent service they rendered to the American people.

I want to renew my personal commitment to ensure these standards are met and maintained for our soldiers, civilians and families.

Finally, I'd like to take a moment to recognize my bride of 36 years whose courage and grace have been a great source of strength to me, especially over the past three years.

Dick Myers tells the story about he and Mary Joe returning to their hometown and going into a gas station and meeting one of Mary Joe's old boyfriends pumping gas. After Dick teases Mary Joe a little bit about the quality of her old boyfriend, she reminds him that it could have been Dick Myers pumping gas and the other guy who's the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. [Laughter]. That's the same story in our house. So thank you, dear. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for who you are and what you do.


Seldom in our history have our soldiers faced greater challenges. We serve at a time when the stakes for our nation and our way of life are high and the demands on our force are significant. We've been here before in our history and we will answer the call with the same pride and professionalism that have marked the Army through the generations preceding us. We will continue to reflect the very best of our people by defeating the enemies of freedom and the proponents of terror, by defending our homeland and the way of life, and by assisting our nation to build a better future for generations yet to come.

We are the Army Strong. We are the strength of the nation. And we are committed to maintaining our worldwide preeminence as a fighting force.

I could not be more proud today to be a soldier and to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and your families during this time of danger and uncertainty.

Pete and Cindy. Thanks again for your service. Good luck and Godspeed.

May God bless the men and women of our armed forces, and may God bless America.

Thank you very much.


# # # #