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American Forces Press Service

U.S. Military 'Very Busy but Healthy,' Myers Says

By Petty Officer 3rd Class John R. Guardiano, USN
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2005 The U.S. armed forces are in good shape on this Memorial Day weekend, and military personnel well understand and believe in what they are fighting for overseas, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said today.

"They know what this is all about in terms of this effort against violent extremism," Myers told Bob Schieffer on the CBS News program "Face the Nation." "They're proud of what they're doing; they understand the importance of the mission. We see that in their cards and letters home, their e-mails home, and their phone calls."

Myers noted that he gave the commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., the previous day. The 2005 Class entered the academy just prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

"They experienced the nation going to war, and 911 of them graduated yesterday," Myers said. When "you look in their eyes, shake their hands, talk to them, ... they understand what their purpose is and what they must do for this country."

All of the West Point graduates, he observed, raised their "right hands and swore to defend and support the Constitution of this country. So I think the state of our military is very, very healthful -- busy, very busy, but healthy."

This is Myers' last year of formal military service. He steps down Sept. 30 after having served 40 years in the Air Force and four years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I am very thankful," he told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." "I'm proud to wear the uniform and proud to have served with some really great Americans."

Myers paid homage to U.S. military personnel, both stateside and overseas, who are "defending our freedoms and our friends' and allies' freedom around the world."

"I'll leave my position knowing that there's a whole group of folks coming along that are dedicated to this country, to our freedoms, and to ensuring that those freedoms endure as long as they possibly can," he said.

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