Photographer Documented Defense Secretaries for Decades

Department of Defense Photo Essay

  • Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward took this photo of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld working at his desk, May 31, 1976.  Rumsfeld, at age 43, was the youngest man to serve as the secretary of defense. Returning to the post in 2001, he also became the oldest, at age 69. Ward retired Dec. 30, 2011, after spending decades as an official photographer to 12 secretaries of defense, including Rumsfeld twice. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks on the phone, smoking his pipe in his Pentagon office Nov. 30, 1976. Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward captured the image. Ward retired Dec. 30, 2011, after spending decades as an official photographer to the secretary of defense. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Personnel work in the National Military Command Center, located in the Pentagon,  circa 1975. Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward photographed many scenes at the Pentagon over four decades. Ward retired Dec. 30, 2011, after having served as official photogrpher to secretaries of defense since 1974. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Harold Brown walks from the Marine Corps helicopter at the Pentagonafter having met with President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, Md., Nov. 24, 1979. Almost certainly, the topic of the meeting was the taking of American hostages by Iran on Nov. 4th. Accompanying him is National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Following them are Gen. Lew Allen Jr., Air Force chief of staff, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Thomas Hayward. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • President Jimmy Carter signs up for the monthly purchase of a savings bond in the White House Oval Office, April 9, 1980. Defense Secretary Harold Brown, left, served as chairman of the government-wide Savings Bond campaign, and baseball star Pete Rose, center, was the honorary chairman.   DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Harold Brown walks towards the Pentagon River Entrance steps with Chinese Vice Premier Geng Biao, May 30, 1980. This was one of the earliest diplomatic visits by a senior Chinese official to the United States. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • World War I veterans place a wreath placed at the grave of General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1980. This was one of Robert D. Ward's personal favorite photographs taken during a career that spanned decades. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger holds a Pentagon press briefing on Soviet military capabilities, Sept. 29, 1981. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • King Hussein, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, addresses the audience at the White House with President Ronald Reagan looking on during welcoming ceremonies on the south lawn, Nov. 2, 1981. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Muhammad Ali signs autographs for guests at a Defense Department-sponsored dinner recognizing the contributions of African Americans to the defense of the nation, circa 1981. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward, right, poses for a photo with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1985. Ward served as an official photographer to 12 defense secretaries, since 1974, retiring on Dec. 30, 2011. Photo courtesy of R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Dick Cheney talks with soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division in Saudi Arabia, Aug. 19, 2011. The paratroopers were recently deployed to an air base in Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. The division was the first large US ground combat force to arrive in Saudi Arabia after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on Aug. 2, 1990. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meet with reporters in the Pentagon Briefing Room to discuss the air attacks by coalition forces undertaken as the first phase of the effort to dislodge Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The secretary and chairman spoke with the press approximately 2 and a half hours after the commencement of hostilities, Jan. 16, 1991.  It was announced the operation would be called Desert Storm. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Pentagon photographer Robert D. Ward walks out to the Pentagon River Entrance parade field to cover the welcoming ceremony honoring newly appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen John Shalidashvili, Nov. 9, 1993. Ward served as an official photographer to 12 defense secretaries, since 1974, retiring on Dec. 30, 2011. Photo courtesy of R. D. Ward
  • Pentagon photographer Robert D. Ward wears a flak vest and helmet aboard a C-17 airplane on final approach into Sarajevo, Bosnia, Jan. 3, 1996.  All passengers were require to wear protective gear as some landing aircraft had been recently fired upon by Serbian forces. Ward served as an official photographer to 12 defense secretaries, since 1974, retiring on Dec. 30, 2011. Photo courtesy of R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary William Perry, accompanied by U.S. Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. George Joulwan, supreme allied commander, Europe, and Army Gen. William Nash, commander of the 1st. Armored Division, along with a group of reporters, begin to walk across the recently completed pontoon bridge over the Sava River, Jan. 3, 1996.  The bridge connecting Zupanja, Croatia, at the north, with Orasje, Bosnia, in the south, allowed the 1st Armored Division, the backbone of the U.S. forces committed to Operation Joint Endeavor, to enter Bosnia. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • A Bradley infantry fighting vehicle crossed the Sava River on the longest pontoon bridge in history and is now on Bosnian soil. The photographer, Robert D. Ward, remembers being up to his knees is mud -- wearing a business suit -- while covering the event.   DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward remembers hearing on the radio as he was going to bed on June 25, 1996, that a building housing U.S. Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia had been attacked with a truck bomb, killing 19 American personnel and one Saudi.  Four days later, he was standing next to the ruins of Building 131, known as Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where he took this photo of Defense Secretary William Perry.   DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, accompanied by his wife Janet, arrive to a warm military welcoming in Seoul, South Korea, on his first major foreign visit of his term in office, April 9, 1997. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary William S. Cohen shakes hands with Nelson Mandela at Mandela's home in Quna, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Feb. 16, 2000.  Cohen and his wife, Janet, being, perhaps the most visible and high-ranking mixed race couple in America, were both very interested in racial issues around the world. During this visit to South Africa, they met with Mandela and spent time touring the prison on Robben Island where he had been incarcerated for 18 years. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • When Donald H. Rumsfeld came to the Pentagon on Jan. 5, 2001, for his first transition meeting with outgoing Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward suggested to Cohen that they might show Rumsfeld some of Ward's photos from his first term as defense secretary.  Cohen liked the idea and placed eight of the photos in the desk drawer.  When Rumsfeld came in, Cohen remarked that not much had changed since he was last there.  He opened some of the drawers and then said "Oh, I think you left some old photos behind."  They had a good laugh looking over the 26 year-old pictures. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • The day after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush visited the impact site to thank the workers there both military and civilian for the work they were doing in search and recovery,  Sept. 12, 2001. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • President George W. Bush, right, was back at the Pentagon on Sept. 17, 2001, to meet with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They met to continue planning an appropriate military response to the al Qaeda threat.  They held a press conference after the meeting, where Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward shot this picture of a very determined-looking president. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, right, is interviewed by Gerald F. Seib, executive Washington editor of the Wall Street Journal. The audience is a large group of corporate CEOs at the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2010. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • President Barack Obama, left, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates render honors at the playing of the national anthem during ceremonies at the Pentagon Memorial, Sept. 11, 2009.  The commemoration marked the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon that killed 184 people. DOD photo by R. D. Ward
  • Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, tells the audience at the Saban Forum that the U.S. and its allies and partners in the international community must do everything possible to make sure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. The forum was held at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2, 2011. Panetta was the last secretary of defense to be photographed by Robert D. Ward, who photographed 12 secretaries of defense in a career that spanned decades. DOD photo by R. D. Ward