Speaks of Troops’ Courage,
American Forces Press Service
July 2008 – Defense Secretary
Robert M. Gates delivered a tribute
to servicemembers’ courage,
dedication, adaptability and
patriotism to the Daughters of the
American Revolution’s Continental
Secretary of Defense
Robert M. Gates
speaks during the
Daughters of the
Constitution Hall in
Friday, July 11,
2008. Defense Dept.
photo by U.S. Air
Force Tech Sgt Jerry
(Click photo for
“Whenever I meet with troops, I am
impressed by their resilience, their
good humor, their courage, and their
determination in the face of
personal sacrifice,” Gates said to
the more than 3,000 members of the
group in Constitution Hall, here.
Gates was the featured speaker at
the organization’s national
It is important to remember that,
when Americans talk about national
security, it is the men and women in
uniform who make the discussion
possible, Gates said. Servicemembers
carry out the policies of the United
States, and they “shoulder the
burdens of this complex and
dangerous world,” he said.
The war on terror is the longest war
the United States has fought with an
all-volunteer force since the
American Revolution. “Frankly, our
military, our government and our
country were not prepared for such a
long and grueling conflict,” he
said. “Despite this, our troops
have persevered and overcome
“Often, they live in Spartan
quarters, work in combat theaters
and face the uncertainties of
non-traditional war in an era when
any mistake -- even the perception
of a mistake -- can be transmitted
around the globe in seconds.
American troops serve not only as
warriors, but as diplomats and
development officers as well, the
secretary said. “In the face of
these challenges, they have
maintained a steely resolve,”
And they are staying with the
missions. All services are meeting
or exceeding their recruiting and
retention targets. “High retention
rates continue to be nothing short
of remarkable, especially when
considering that those most likely
to re-enlist are those most often
deployed,” Gates said.
The courage of those serving cannot
be doubted, Gates told the group.
The country has awarded five Medals
of Honor; 38 Distinguished Service
Crosses, Navy Crosses or Air Forces
Crosses; nearly 700 Silver Stars,
and almost 5,000 Bronze Stars with
valor devices, the secretary said.
“Each represents a story of
bravery and sacrifices so great they
are almost impossible to comprehend
-- from men and women who have
fallen on grenades to save comrades
to others who have sprinted through
firefights to save a buddy,” he
The troops and their commanders
exhibit adaptability that is key to
winning a counterinsurgency fight.
In 2006, coalition forces forecast a
bleak future for Anbar province in
Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq just about
ruled the province’s capital of
Ramadi. “When all hope seemed lost
in Anbar, the unit in charge of
Ramadi dramatically changed its
tactics -- moving out of heavily
fortified bases and into combat
outposts in the middle of the
fight,” Gates said. “Through
heavy fighting, through great
sacrifices, they won Ramadi back
from al-Qaida. Many of the tactics
successfully employed there would be
replicated across Iraq.”
Gates also spoke of the sacrifices
military families make, calling them
the “unsung heroes” of the war
on terror. Families, too, are
affected by multiple deployments
around the world. “Words cannot
describe how grateful our troops are
for their wives and husbands, sons
and daughters, brothers and sisters,
fathers and mothers -- the network
of love and support that carries on
in their absence,” he said.
Those wounded in the nation’s
service deserve the best the country
can give, Gates said. He said the
American people may disagree about
the war, but they still support the
troops. “You … see it in efforts
by the Congress to make sure our
wounded have all they need to make
the transition to the next phase of
their life,” he said.
Americans also see this appreciation
through bipartisan legislation
President Bush signed last week that
greatly increases the benefits of
the G.I. Bill for troops and their
Gates said it is “deeds, not
words” that count. American
soldiers, sailors, airmen and
Marines are performing those deeds
to ensure the nation’s safety and
protecting U.S. allies around the
world. “In both principles and
deeds, our men and women in uniform
embody the best our country has to
offer,” he said. “We are truly
blessed to have among us citizens of
such tremendous and awe-inspiring
Essay: Gates Attends Daughters of the
American Revolution Event
Departs on Nine-Day World Trip
By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2008 – Defense Secretary
Robert M. Gates left today on a nine-day trip
around the world aimed at reinforcing
relationships with some countries he has yet to
visit as defense secretary.
Gates will visit U.S. Pacific Command in
Hawaii, participate in annual bilateral talks with
Australia, and discuss security matters with his
counterparts in Indonesia, India and Turkey.
The Australia-United States Ministerial
Consultations are the principal forum for
bilateral talks between the two allies. It brings
the U.S. secretaries of state and defense together
with their Australian counterparts, along with
other senior officials from both countries.
The trip also coincides with the day the Navy
plans to try to shoot down a dead U.S.
intelligence satellite. The window for the
shoot-down opened this morning after the landing
of the space shuttle Atlantis.
Defense officials said yesterday that they are
evaluating the situation and will advise the
secretary when they have a shot to take. President
Bush has empowered Gates to order the shoot-down,
and based upon the advice he gets, he is prepared
to do so during this trip, officials said
Highlights World War II Events
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
June 2008 – A special Defense Department-sanctioned
organization is highlighting key events of U.S. participation
in World War II, the head of the committee.
Army Lt. Gen. Ed Soyster, executive director of the World War
II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, said during an
American Forces Radio and Television Service interview that
his organization would highlight "all of the events of
World War II."
June 6, 1944, allied invasion of Europe known as D-Day
"is certainly one of the major events" of World War
II, Soyster pointed out. President Bush, he added, is slated
to participate in a D-Day commemoration ceremony in Normandy,
important military events the committee will commemorate,
Soyster said, include the Battle of the Bulge in Europe and
the retaking of Japanese-held islands in the Pacific Theater.
said committee commemorations are slated to cover significant
World War II campaigns until the surrender of German and
Japanese forces in 1945.
D-Day commemorations in France include a June 5 observance of
the U.S. Army 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions' parachute
jumps into Normandy, he said, "that opened the
invasion." The ceremony will feature a parachute jump,
followed by a march up to St. Mare Eglise. Joint Chiefs of
Staff Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, he said, will
be the keynote speaker.
other D-Day observations will be held in France on June 6,
Bush will participate in a 9:30 a.m. D-Day commemoration
ceremony for fallen U.S. service members at the U.S.
National Cemetery near Omaha Beach. That burial ground
contains the remains of some 9,000 U.S. service members
who died during D-Day operations.
p.m. ceremony will be held at Point du Hoc, where U.S.
Army Rangers climbed the heights to seize enemy gun
emplacements during the D-Day assault. Army Chief of Staff
Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, a Ranger, will provide remarks.
out the day, a 5 p.m. commemoration ceremony will be held
at Utah Beach.
people of Normandy truly remember 1944," Soyster said.
Washington, D.C., the official dedication of the World War II
Memorial will be held May 29 on the Mall, Soyster said.
President Bush, he added, will participate in the ceremony.
World War II Memorial dedication, Soyster said, doesn't fall
under his committee's purview, but nonetheless "is a
major event" for veterans, especially those who can't
make the trip to France.
traditional Memorial Day observance, Soyster said, will be
held May 31 at Arlington National Cemetery.
a grand weekend (in Washington), lots of people attending, …
just continuous events for our World War II veterans," he
Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker
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