For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 10, 2005
Vice President's Remarks at Special Forces Heroism Awards Ceremony
MacDill Air Force Base
2:10 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
Thank you, General Brown. And I'm delighted to be here this
afternoon. I appreciate the warm welcome. Lynne and I consider it a
great privilege to visit the Special Operations Command, and to spend
time in the company of America's silent professionals.
Each one of you has taken an oath to serve the nation, and you do
so in a period of tremendous consequence. Almost four years ago, the
United States was attacked by enemies who hate our country and oppose
everything we stand for in this world. They have declared their
intention to strike America yet again, and they seek weapons of mass
destruction, in order to blackmail free nations and to commit murder on
a massive scale. After the grief of September 11th, 2001, this nation
made a decision: We will not sit back and wait for future attacks.
We'll prevent those attacks by taking the fight to the enemy.
The war on terror is a new kind of conflict, against a new kind of
adversary, presenting a daily test to our national resolve. And the
greatest demands have come to the men and women of our armed forces.
Once again, special ops are the tip of the spear -- and your
performance has been absolutely superb. By your service in distant
lands, facing constant pressure and life-or-death situations, you are
delivering patient justice to freedom's enemies. And I want you to
know that your country is very proud of you.
This morning we recognize five special operators who have performed
with exceptional distinction in the face of peril. Each of the medals
I am about to award has a long and distinguished history. By their
actions, these men have reflected exceptional credit on the armed
forces, and on the nation we are all proud to serve.
The Bronze Star, first authorized during World War Two, is awarded
for heroic service while engaged in action against an enemy of the
United States -- and one of the earliest recipients of this decoration
was Army Captain Audie Murphy. It's presented this afternoon to Chief
Boatswain's Mate Donald Stokes of Casper, Wyoming. As the citation
will indicate, Chief Stokes has earned a second award of the Bronze
Star -- and so his medal will bear a Gold Star as well.
The Silver Star dates back to the early 20th Century, and is cited
for gallantry in action. Many decades ago, Silver Star Medal number
one, with six oak leaf clusters, was presented to Army General Douglas
MacArthur. Today the Silver Star is given to Army Sergeant First Class
Stephan Johns of Pleasantville, New Jersey.
The Distinguished Service Cross also dates back to the early 20th
Century, and is presented for extraordinary heroism. Short of the
Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross is the highest
decoration that can be earned by a member of the United States Army.
It's given this afternoon to Master Sergeant Donald Hollenbaugh of
The Distinguished Flying Cross was created by Congress in 1926, and
first presented to Captain Charles A. Lindbergh of the Army Corps
Reserve. It is awarded for extraordinary achievement while
participating in aerial flight. The Distinguished Flying Cross is
presented today to Air Force Major Matthew R. Glover of Longview,
Texas, and Army Chief Warrant Officer David Smith of Colorado Springs,
Colorado. In addition, Major Glover receives an Oak Leaf Cluster with
And now if you will, publish the orders.
(The orders are published. The medals are presented.)
END 2:20 P.M. EDT