Vice Chairman Praises Outgoing NDU President
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2012 The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff paid tribute today to outgoing National Defense University President Navy Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau as a natural leader who has paved the way for many other women in the service.
Calling her “a great sailor, a great officer and a great American,” Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., told an audience of several hundred people at NDU’s Fort McNair campus here that Rondeau has helped to clear the way for others.
“Many of the women officers who are today growing into key line leadership positions in our Navy owe it to a few trail blazers like Ann, our Navy’s most senior three-star officer, who demonstrated how much we had to gain by opening the door to women’s leadership,” he said.
Winnefeld officiated the NDU change of presidency ceremony, which coincided with Rondeau’s retirement after 38 years of naval service. Among those in the audience were attaches, ambassadors and NDU staff, as well as CIA Director David H. Petraeus.
Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, NDU’s senior vice president, will serve as interim president until Rondeau’s successor, Army Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, arrives this summer. He is currently commandant of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
The National Defense University, which was established in 1976, has the mission to support the joint warfighter by providing rigorous joint professional military education to members of the armed forces and select others.
At today’s ceremony, Rondeau received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as president of NDU.
Rondeau gave much of the credit for her success to a long list of relatives who served in the military before her, as well as to those currently wearing the uniform.
“I am also a citizen and a receiver of all the good things that our military has done,” she told the audience. “I am grateful to this profession of warfighters and peace makers and to wearing the cloth of the nation. To every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine and Merchant Mariner, I say thank you. I’m grateful to you [for] the legacy that you have given us.”