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 Home > News & Policies > October 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 15, 2001

President Welcomes New Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Remarks by the President In Welcoming Ceremony for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Fort Myer
Rosslyn, Virginia

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3:30 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  Thank you very much.  Mr. Chairman, thanks for those kind remarks, and congratulations once again.  I know your family is proud.  I want to congratulate Mary Jo, Rich, and your daughters Nicole and Erin.

     I also want to congratulate Pete Pace, who succeeds General Myers as the Vice Chairman.  Pete, I want to congratulate Lynn, as well; Tiffany, Lt. Pete Pace, and of course, I've got to congratulate your Mom, Doris. Moms are pretty important, as I learned firsthand.  And so did you. (Applause.)

With Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at his side, President George W. Bush presides over the welcoming ceremony for the incoming Chairman, Gen. Richard B Myers (left), and Vice-Chairman, Gen. Pete Pace (right), of the Joint Chief of Staffs at Fort Meyers Oct. 15. White House photo by Tina Hager.      Mr. Secretary, we did a fine job in picking these two men.  There's no question we made the right choice.  And there's no question I made the right choice when I named you Secretary of Defense.  (Applause.)

     The country is coming to know Don like I know him -- he's a no-nonsense kind of guy.  He speaks his mind.  He's results-oriented.  He's the right man at the right time to defeat the evil ones.  I appreciate your service.  I appreciate the service of Paul Wolfowitz, your Deputy, and all the folks you've assembled at the Defense Department.  I also want to welcome the members of Congress who are here -- I know Congressman Ike Skelton is here, and others are, as well.

     General Myers and I have spent a lot of quality time together recently.  He has my complete confidence.  Richard B. Myers is the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, taking his place in a line that began with another general who was born in Missouri, Omar Bradley.  And like Omar Bradley, General Myers is known for his calm manner, sound judgment, and his clear strategic thinking.  Now, at any time those qualities would be important; but today, they're indispensable.

     When General Myers and General Pace stood at my side in Crawford, Texas this summer, I spoke of our duty to protect and defend America's values and interests in the world.  Since that time, those values and interests have come under direct attack.

     America has awakened to a great danger.  We have entered a different kind of war.  And the enemy is finding out we are ready.  We are fighting this war, and we will win this war, on many fronts -- by diplomacy, law enforcement, financial sanctions, and intelligence.  And our military is playing an essential role.  Eight days ago, I sent the Armed Forces into action.  They have performed with skill and precision.  They know their work, and they know the American people are behind them.

     I made a commitment to every serviceman and woman:  For the mission that lies ahead, you will have everything you need -- every resource, every weapon, every means to assure full victory for the United States, our allies, our friends, and the cause of freedom.  (Applause.)

     In the war against terror, there will be times of swift and visible action.  There will be times of steady and quiet progress.  We will be patient, and we will be persistent.  The terrorists are beginning to understand there is no place to run, there is no place to hide, there is no place to rest.

     During last week's memorial service at the Pentagon, Secretary Rumsfeld observed that the terrorists reserve special contempt for the United States military.  And it's easy to see why.  In the values and traditions of our military, you represent everything they hate.  You defend human freedom.  You value life.  Here and around the world, you keep the peace that they seek to destroy.  You live by a code of honor and a tradition of loyalty and decency.

     The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs represents the best in this tradition.  Since the day he was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1965, Dick Myers has brought great credit to his uniform and to his country.  He and his outstanding Vice Chairman have assumed crucial positions at a crucial hour, and our country is thankful for your service.

     May God bless you all, and may God bless the United States. (Applause.)

                               END          3:36 P.M. EDT