Gen. Pete Schoomaker was sworn in today at the Pentagon as the Army’s 35th chief of staff by Les Brownlee, acting secretary of the Army.
President George W. Bush nominated Schoomaker in June to replace retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the former Army chief.
As the Army chief of staff, Schoomaker will be responsible for the training, equipping, readiness and welfare of the Army. He will also serve in a dual role as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Service as the Army’s chief of staff is both a tremendous responsibility and a matter of duty,” Schoomaker said. “Today our nation is at war and we are a critical member of the joint team fighting that war. It is a war waged for the very survival of our way of life and it reaches to the furthest corners of the world. I remain totally committed to our soldiers and to ensuring the Army remains the world’s finest land force.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was among those attending.
“Gen. Pete Schoomaker brings wisdom, experience, drive, and leadership to the job as chief of staff of the Army,” Rumsfeld said. “He is the right man to lead the United States Army as it continues its transformation into a force that will provide 21st century capability to the challenges we will face.”
Schoomaker, who retired from the active Army in December 2000, came back on active duty to assume the position after being confirmed by the Senate Thursday. He most recently served as commander-in-chief, U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., from November 1997 to November 2000. Prior to that, he commanded the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., from August 1996 to October 1997.
Following the swearing in, Brownlee praised Schoomaker for his distinguished service to the nation and Army.
“We are indeed at war,” said Brownlee. “General Schoomaker’s vast experience in both conventional and special operations, along with his genuine care and concern for our great soldiers and their families, clearly distinguishes him as the right soldier to lead our Army at a very critical time in history. He will ensure the Army remains a responsive, relevant, and capable member of our joint force.”
Schoomaker’s 31-year military career includes assignments with infantry, armor and special operations units. He participated in operations Desert One in Iran, Urgent Fury in Grenada, Just Cause in Panama, Desert Shield and Storm in Southwest Asia, Uphold Democracy in Haiti and numerous other joint contingency operations.
“I thank our commander-in-chief President Bush, Congress, the secretary of defense, and the acting secretary of the Army, for the trust they have placed in me,” said Schoomaker. “As an American soldier, I have never left your ranks, but it is a great privilege to wear our uniform once again.”
Also attending the ceremony were Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and Gen. John Keane, the Army’s vice chief of staff.