Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Outgoing Secretary of Defense

Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Outgoing Secretary of Defense

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom to Robert M. Gates.  our nation’s 22nd Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has selflessly dedicated his life to ensuring the security of the American people.  He has served 8 presidents of both parties with unwavering patriotism.  As a champion of the men in women in uniform and their families, he has led the Department of Defense with courage and confidence during our nations wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ensured our armed forces are better prepared for the conflicts of today and tomorrow. “The United States honors Robert M. Gates for his extraordinary leadership and a lifetime of service and devotion to our nation.” At the conclusion of the reading of the proclamation, President Obama presented the medal to Secretary Gates and turned the microphone over to him. Speaking through tears, Gates said, “I’m deeply honored and moved by your presentation of this award.  It is a big surprise, but we should have known a couple of months ago that you’re getting pretty good at this covert ops stuff.” Gates thanked the Vice-President and other distinguished guest for attending the ceremony.  He congratulated the incoming Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.  He commended the members of Congress in attendance for their support of the military. “Serving as Secretary of Defense has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life,” he said before thanking President George W. Bush for appointing him to the position and President Obama for allowing him to remain.  He thanked many of his key staff, his wife and the men and women of our nation’s military. Gates, who has served our country for 40 years, will leave his office in the E-Ring of the Pentagon today. Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Immediately after being recruited by the CIA, he also served as an officer in the United States Air Force. After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates also served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as the first Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University. Gates accepted the nomination for Secretary of Defense on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. ]]]]> ]]>