WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 —
If one man can sum up the depth and closeness of U.S.-British friendship and cooperation, then that one man would be Sir Winston S. Churchill, the indomitable British Prime Minister who governed the United Kingdom during World War II.
And now Churchill has a place in the Pentagon, after British and American officials unveiled a bust of the wartime leader in a ceremony yesterday at the conclusion of the U.S.-U.K. Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting.
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and British Army Gen. Sir Nicholas Houghton presided at the ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Work thanked the British chiefs and the British people for the bust.
“It’s a most appropriate time to celebrate the legacy of Winston Churchill as this Friday marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day,” Work said. “Churchill did so much to make that victory possible, along with the entire British people. They truly gave their blood, sweat and tears during that titanic struggle.”
Churchill was an inspirational leader, the deputy secretary said. He steeled the entire alliance for the tasks ahead and he demanded, and got, the best possible effort from his countrymen and allies, Work said. In a measure of the esteem that Americans hold for Churchill, the U.S. Navy named an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after him in 1999.
Britain and the United States share values, the deputy secretary said. “The United Kingdom goes wherever we go. If not with forces, then with spirit and support,” Work said. “The U.K. is the first ally whom we seek support from, and guidance.”
The United States appreciates allies that demonstrate the will, capabilities and experience to assume responsibility for security challenges around the world, he said.
“The United Kingdom is definitely one of those allies,” Work said. “When we are in a fight, the ones we want on our right and left are service men and women from the United Kingdom.”
Work thanked the British for their service in Afghanistan and said America mourns with them for the 453 British service members who gave the last full measure.
Close American-British Relationship
Houghton said having the bust in the Pentagon is entirely appropriate given the closeness of the British and American militaries.
“How delighted Churchill himself would be to see we are following the final piece of advice that he ever gave to his ministers upon leaving Downing Street for the final time in 1955 -- ‘Never be separated from the Americans,’” Houghton said.
The alliance between the United States and Britain is more than just shared national interests, “it is shared human ideals and a profound trust in democracy,” he said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews)