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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 419-03
June 16, 2003

Pentagon Spokeswoman Steps Down

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced today that chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clarke would step down from her post as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs on June 20. Citing personal reasons for her departure, Clarke said, "I depart sadly, because this has been the best professional experience of my life. It has been a true honor working for the men and women of the U.S. military."

"Torie Clarke is a gifted communicator," said Secretary Rumsfeld. "During her remarkable two years of service in the Department of Defense, she has developed countless new methods to tell the story of our fighting forces, and bring their courage, dedication, and professionalism into sharp focus for all Americans. She will be sorely missed."

Lawrence Di Rita, special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, will perform the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs until a permanent replacement for Ms. Clarke is confirmed.