DoD Pays Tribute to Departing Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2005 Departing Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz leaves DoD "with the good fortune of seeing so much ... being accomplished" that he helped set in motion, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is congratulated, following the presentation of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld during military ceremonies held in his honor at the Pentagon on April 29. Wolfowitz will be leaving the Defense Department to take the helm of the World Bank. Photo by R. D. Ward
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
DoD honored Wolfowitz during an armed forces full-honor farewell ceremony at the Pentagon. Rumsfeld and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the ceremony.
Wolfowitz is slated to become president of the World Bank. President Bush has nominated Navy Secretary Gordon England to replace him as deputy secretary.
During today's ceremony, Wolfowitz thanked the men and women of the military and the civil service. "They are the ones who serve America quietly and professionally every day," he said. "They are the ones who deserve our special and lasting gratitude."
Wolfowitz, who became deputy in March 2001, also recognized those who have fallen in service to this country. "They remain in our hearts," he said, "each one of them a reminder that our country is blessed beyond all measure. Let us never forget how much we owe them."
The department returned the admiration. Pace called Wolfowitz a "man of great intellect." He said the deputy works hard and encourages collegiality.
"You are, in fact, a facilitator and a person who values the judgment of others. And for that, we thank you," Pace said.
The general said the deputy is also a man of great courage. "Those of us who wear the uniform understand courage on the battlefield, but there's another very distinct form of courage, and that is intellectual courage," Pace said. He said he has often seen Wolfowitz respectfully disagree with a prevailing opinion.
"You were going to speak your mind as you knew it should be spoken and benefit all of us in uniform by always speaking the truth as you knew it," Pace said.
Rumsfeld said Wolfowitz was involved in extensive actions in the Pentagon as the nation fought a global war on terrorism, including deliberations that led to operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
"He has helped bring new technologies to protect our troops," Rumsfeld said. "And he has helped to reconfigure a number of Cold War systems and organizations to help us meet the threats of the 21st century."
People tend to fall into two categories in life, dreamers or doers, Rumsfeld said. "Our friend Paul is a bit of a 'mugwump,' as they used to say in the old days; he's a bit of both, one who lives the creed of 'think as a man of action and act as a man of thought,'" he said.
Wolfowitz said that the terrorists miscalculated how Americans would react following the Sept. 11th, 2001, attacks. "They thought we were weak, grown used to comfort, softened by everything we enjoy in this great nation," he said. "But they were wrong.
"They must have failed to notice that it was by the sweat and blood of each soldier, sailor, airman and Marine and each member of the Coast Guard that America has met every threat throughout our history," he said. "When we needed them, the heroes of this generation stepped forward to defend America from terrorists."
In doing so, they liberated the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and gave an example to millions of people throughout the Muslim world that freedom and self-government can succeed, Wolfowitz said. "The tide is turning against the terrorists' brand of totalitarianism," he said. "Like Nazism and communism, this false ideology is headed for the ash heap of history."
The deputy said that it has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve with the heroes of this generation. "Nothing is more satisfying than being able to do work that can really make a difference," he said. "I've been lucky to have many opportunities to do that, but this one was as good as they come."
He said he has one big regret as he leaves for the World Bank. "I'll be leaving some of the most dedicated, most capable, most courageous people in the world," he said.
"In many speeches over these years, I have been accustomed to ask the good Lord to bless our troops and our country. And while I do it for the last time as your deputy secretary, I want you to know that I will always carry these words as a prayer in my heart: May God bless you. May God bless the men and women who serve this country so nobly and so well. And may God bless America."