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Bush Nominates Retired General for Army Chief of Staff

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2003 – President Bush has nominated retired Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker to be the next Army chief of staff.

Schoomaker retired in November 2000 as the commander U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The Senate must confirm Schoomaker before he can take up his new duties.

This is only the second time that a president has reached into retired ranks for a high-ranking military position. Army Gen. Maxwell Taylor was retired when President John F. Kennedy asked him to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962.

Schoomaker was commissioned via ROTC in June 1969. Early in his career, he served in Germany and Korea. In 1978, he became commander, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He was part of the unsuccessful rescue attempt of the American hostages taken by radical students in Iran in 1980. Eight Americans died and five were wounded at the Desert One refueling site in Iran. In a 1999 Soldiers magazine article, Schoomaker said that the failures of that rescue attempt led to the formation of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Schoomaker had several assignments with the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg throughout the 1980s and served on the Long Commission to investigate the October 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut.

He was appointed commander of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1997.

Among his decorations he has received the Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and two Bronze Stars.

Schoomaker, 57, is a master parachutist and has received the Combat Infantryman Badge.

(Based on biographical data from the Department of the Army.)

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