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Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Honored by Alma Mater

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

MANHATTAN, Kan., Nov. 10, 2006 – A Kansas State University building in which a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once studied was named in his honor at a ceremony here yesterday.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks during the dedication ceremony of the Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., Nov. 9. Photo by James M. Bowman

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Retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who served as the 15th chairman, graduated from KSU in 1965, where he was a member of the Air Force ROTC. The university renamed the Military Science Building, which houses the Air Force and Army ROTC programs, Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall.

“I had no idea that the circle of my last phase of life would be complete by naming a building after me,” Myers said at the dedication ceremony. “This is an especially nice honor to be here.”

Myers, a Merriam, Kan., native, holds a part-time appointment at KSU as a foundation professor of military history and leadership.

Attending the ceremony was Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, under whom Myers served as chairman. Rumsfeld praised the decision to name a building after Myers, saying it was a pleasure and privilege to work with him for so many years.

“This man is a great patriot,” Rumsfeld said. “He’s an outstanding officer, and he is a consummate gentleman, and that is a nice combination.”

Rumsfeld noted that Myers’ achievements are many, but he told one particular story that demonstrated Myers’ dedication to his duty as chairman. On a rainy day in Arlington National Cemetery last year, Myers attended a remembrance ceremony for families of deceased servicemembers, Rumsfeld said. Long after the crowds had dispersed, Myers stayed behind, talking with every family member individually, he recalled.

“Here’s the man who was the senior military officer in the United States of America and without question the most important military officer on the face of the Earth, and there was nothing more important in his life than standing there, visiting with each family member who wanted to talk,” Rumsfeld said.

Myers said he drew much of his inspiration from his days in the ROTC program at KSU. It was in the same building now being named after him that Myers learned what he wanted to do with his life, and it was the Air Force ROTC that gave him the opportunity to participate in a flight introduction program, he noted. “All of a sudden, my life took on a new meaning,” he said.

Numerous military and university leaders attended the ceremony. Myers thanked them all for attending, but paid special attention to the Air Force and Army ROTC cadets who stood at the back of the crowd.

“These are the future of our great country in many, many ways,” he said. “They have dedicated their lives to public service; they have dedicated their lives to serving our country and, if called upon, to risk it all.”

Rumsfeld also noted the building’s significance in shaping future military leaders. The things the cadets learn here -- leadership, duty and integrity -- will be the things they retain throughout their military careers, he said.

“To the students here, you are joining a U.S. military that is the most professional, the best trained, the best equipped, the best led in our nation’s history, and certainly the best on the face of the Earth,” Rumsfeld said. “And that’s in no small part a tribute to Dick Myers. He has helped to give you a force that is respected, it’s appreciated for what it is, and let there be no doubt, it is a force for good in our world.”

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Donald H. Rumsfeld
Retired Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld greets ROTC students after the dedication ceremony for the Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., Nov. 9. Photo by James M. Bowman  
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