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American Forces Press Service

President Extends Praise, Thanks to Pace, Giambastiani

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2007 – As he nominated his picks for the nation’s top two military posts, President Bush said today they will succeed “two of America’s finest military officers,” Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman.

Bush named Adm. Michael G. Mullen as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Marine Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright as vice chairman, subject to Senate approval.

Flanked by Mullen, Cartwright and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in the White House Roosevelt Room, the president acknowledged that his nominees will be stepping into big shoes.

“Pete Pace has been at my side most of my presidency, serving first as the vice chairman and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Bush said. He noted that Pace made history as the first Marine to hold both positions.

“We've been through a lot together,” he said of Pace. “Pete was with me at the attacks of September the 11th. He played a key role in planning America's response to that brutal assault on the American homeland.”

With Pace’s leadership, the U.S. military brought down brutal dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq that liberated 50 million people from oppression, he said. “He helped lead our military through unprecedented campaigns, and as he's done so, Pete never took his eye off the horizon and the threats that still lie ahead,” he said.

At the same time, Pace “played a critical role in transforming our military for challenges of a new century,” the president said. “He made sure that … future generations will benefit from the reforms that he has set in motion.”

Bush extended thanks to Pace, his wife, Lynne, and his children for their service to the country. “I'm going to remember him simply as one of the best military officers and finest men I've been privileged to know,” he said. Bush said he will always be “grateful for his friendship, his sense of humor and his character.”

The president extended praise to Giambastiani, whom he calls simply “Admiral G,” and thanked him for his outstanding leadership as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “He's an officer of character and vision, and I appreciate his insights and his strong military advice,” he said.

Bush noted that before serving in his current post, Giambastiani helped lead the military transformation as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. He also helped strengthen the NATO alliance as the first supreme allied commander for transformation.

The president thanked Giambastiani, his wife, Cindy, and their children for their contributions. “Ed has given 37 years of dedicated service to our country,” he said. “His work will affect the security of our nation for decades to come.”

“Pete Pace and Ed Giambastiani are hard acts to follow,” Bush concluded. “I can think of none more qualified to follow them than the men whose nominations I am sending to the United States Senate today. I call on the Senate to quickly confirm Mike Mullen and Hoss Cartwright. I thank these fine officers and their families for continuing to serve our country.”

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