Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Article excerpt

Remarks as delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, San Antonio, TX, Monday, August 25, 2003.

Ray Sisk [VFW Commander-in-Chief]: The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld became the 21st Secretary of Defense in January 2001. Under the direction of the President, he has deployed American combat troops into Afghanistan and Iraq and American peacekeeping troops into Liberia. As Secretary he has directed the military global war on terrorism. At the same time, back in the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld has taken the initiative to streamline and better integrate the National Guard and the Reserves with our active duty forces, is reviewing all active duty missions that could be better accomplished by the private sector and has asked Congress for sweeping authority to change the way Department of Defense may use its Federal Civil Service workforce.

Mr. Rumsfeld brings an unusually high degree of energy, intelligence, and experience to the job. Some highlights include the fact that he was President Ford's Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military arm of United Nations and he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 8 years.

Mr. Rumsfeld completed a successful military career in the Navy first as an active duty aviator and later in the Navy Reserves where he retired as a Captain. Mr. Rumfeld has been the Chairman of the worldwide pharmaceutical corporation G.D. Searle and Company, the Chief Executive Officer of General Instruments Corporation and Chairman of Gilead Science Incorporated.

The one thing Mr. Rumsfeld has not done in his 46 years of public service is to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Therefore, it is my unique privilege and pleasure to introduce to you the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.

[Applause]

Rumsfeld: Thank you Sir.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Commander-in-Chief Ray Sisk thank you so much for that kind introduction and for your able leadership of this important organization. I appreciate your invitation to join you today a great deal and I thank you for that very warm welcome.

Admiral Dymock, I too want to join in expressing our appreciation to the people of your country and to the brave men and women serving in Iraq and in Operation Enduring Freedom as our Coalition partners. They're doing a superb job, thank you Sir.

[Applause]

Veterans of Foreign Wars: it's an honor to stand before 6,000 American heroes. When America was threatened, when freedom's adversaries were on the march, you answered your country's call. You stepped forward risking your lives in far away mountains and arid deserts, in perilous skies and on the high seas to defend freedom and to liberate those trapped by tyranny and oppression. Because of your courage and because of your willingness to serve Americans still live as free people, your country is grateful to you And I can assure you of this, your legacy of courage, of honor and dedication to duty is alive and well in the men and women of today's Armed Forces.

At this moment, brave soldiers, sailor, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen are following in your footsteps and risking their lives in the global war on terror. They are remarkable. I know that you share America's pride and their truly outstanding service and in this time of conflict I suspect you also feel a special personal bond with each of them. You are showing your solidarity in many ways. More than 500 VFW Posts haw adopted military units deployed in the global war on terror. Through Operation Uplink members of the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary have distributed I'm told over 3.5 million pre-paid calling cards to our deployed forces. Those efforts mean a great deal to the troops and to their families back home and I want to salute Bud Haney, the Director of VFW's Military Assistance program and Betty Morris, President of the Ladies Auxiliary and the countless others who have worked so hard in recent months to support the troops. …

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