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Enlisted Force Honors Chairman, Wife in Pentagon Ceremony

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2005 – The military's enlisted personnel paid tribute to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers and his wife, Mary Jo, during a Pentagon ceremony today.

Myers leaves office Sept. 30.

The chairman immediately returned the favor. "We know who does the real hard work," he said.

Myers spoke of the success of the Afghan elections held Sept. 18 by relating a story from a small village in the northeastern part of the country. Getting ballot boxes to the village was difficult, because the village is on the far side of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Election officials got the ballot boxes to within 20 miles of the village, and then U.S. and coalition soldiers hiked them the rest of the way. "The villagers got word, and they were greeted with flowers and petals as they entered the town," Myers said.

None of this would have been possible without the talent, dedication and gifts that are hallmarks of the American enlisted force, the chairman said.

Myers spoke of another time when he was wing commander at Langley Air Force Base, Va., in 1988. He hosted a Soviet lieutenant general and introduced the general to the senior master sergeant in charge of the F-15 engine shop. The sergeant was poised, confident and knowledgeable; she amazed the general. "I knew then why we won the Cold War," Myers told the gathering.

"You are the envy of the world," Myers said. The American military can do anything it needs to "with men and women like you and those you represent around the world."

Enlisted personnel from each service, including the Coast Guard, put on a performance in honor of the chairman and his wife. In turn, the services' senior enlisted advisers thanked the chairman for his 40 years of service to America. They called the chairman a true friend of the enlisted force and a strong advocate before Congress for enlisted personnel and their families.

The chairman thanked the senior enlisted advisers for their service and praised efforts to appoint a senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who will succeed Myers chairman, selected Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey for that newly created position.

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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