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Remarks by General Dempsey, Denis McDonough, Jeremy Bash, Secretary Hagel, Deputy Secretary Carter, and Stephanie Carter in the Pentagon Auditorium

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin E. Dempsey; Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter; Denis McDonough, White House Chief Of Staff; Jeremy Bash, Former Chief of Staff to the 23rd Secretary of Defense
December 02, 2013

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY: Well, it's my honor to begin the festivities today, as we celebrate -- and I do mean celebrate -- the career and accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Ash Carter, who has served most recently as our Deputy Secretary of Defense. It's really quite an impressive gathering of people. There can't be much getting done in the government right now, at least in the executive branch. Well, actually, all of the government, probably not much getting done. (Laughter.)

But I do want to welcome you all here. I speak on behalf of the Joint Chiefs. And we're going to give Dr. Carter an award here in a moment, our highest award to a civilian, in recognition of what he's done for the force. And, of course, the Joint Chiefs are seated right there in a row, due to -- they're very behaved right now, not always that way, but I do want to make mention of the fact that -- to you, Dr. Carter, that your impact on us as a group and individually has been absolutely remarkable. And we can't thank you enough for the things you've done.

But more on that just in a moment. First thing I want you to know, though, is I took the time to Google "Ashton" before I came here today. (Laughter.) And you'll be interested to know that when you Google "Ashton," you get three returns. Ashton Kutcher. Can we get the picture of Ashton Kutcher up there? There we go. (Laughter.)

Ashton Kutcher has been described as “hot,” but kind of a mediocre model turned actor. You also get Ashton Irwin. Ashton Irwin is also “hot,” but a mediocre drummer for an Australian boy band. And then, of course, you get Ashton Carter -- (laughter) -- who has been described by some as “a middle-aged über-wonk and, in the words of Politico, "makes think-tankers' hearts flutter." (Laughter.) Now, in the words of Paris Hilton, “now that's hot.” (Laughter.)

However, hot in DOD terms takes on a completely different meaning. Issues are hot. Suspenses are hot. Regions are hot. And I can tell you that no one has handled the heat like Dr. Ash Carter. We're proud of him. We're thankful for what he's done, and we're very appreciative of the way you've done it, not just what you've done, but the way you've done it.

It's lucky for us that you have worked without glamour or fame behind the scenes to make sure through good management and common sense and discipline that we are an organization that continues to adapt to the challenge that we find in front of us. He did it all again without fanfare. In fact, I think he's been called the least -- the most important, least known figure in Washington, or some language to that effect, and I agree with that.

He did have a moment -- a brief, recent brush with fame when he decided to give back a fifth of his paycheck during the recent furloughs, and he, in fact, became known as the “superhero of sequestration.” I don't know if that's a title I'd actually aspire to have myself, but -- (laughter) -- but it worked for you, I think. And we did, in fact, respect his willingness to put skin in the game, to be personally invested, and to think big when many around him were thinking small.

So you see that picture right there of him being “piped over the side” by a great group of sailors in a recent trip. And farewells are always a sign of how much we value leadership, service, and big decision-making, and in that context, Dr. Carter, it's my great pleasure on behalf of the Joint Chiefs to present you with the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award. (Applause.)

(UNKNOWN): Attention to orders. The citation to accompany the award of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award to Dr. Ashton B. Carter.

Dr. Ashton B. Carter distinguished himself by exceptionally superior service while serving as the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics from April 2009 to December 2013. Throughout this period, Dr. Carter provided outstanding stewardship in the assessment, budgeting, and management of the security posture of the United States. As a senior leader in the department, he quickly recognized the complex capabilities of our nation's military force and continually strove to ensure it was utilized in the most effective manner to serve national strategic goals.

His superior leadership style and tireless devotion to duty were instrumental to the establishment of critical liaison efforts with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the geographic combatant commanders. Through an intense period of international crisis, he served as a staunch advocate of the appropriate manning, equipping and employment of our military force for all efforts, from conflict resolution to humanitarian relief, ever exhibiting an extremely conscientious and most respectful view of the daily sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.

The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Dr. Carter reflect great credit upon himself, the Department of Defense, and the nation. (Applause.)

Thank you, General Dempsey. Ladies and gentlemen, Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff. (Applause.)

DENIS MCDONOUGH: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Chairman, Ash, Steph, all my -- Dr. Perry, all my friends and colleagues, it's so good to see everybody. It's really good to be here.

I think you all know, as well as I do, that Ash's service in this Department of Defense started many, many years ago, including for many presidents and many secretaries of defense. Even outside of government, when the republicans were running the government, Ash continued his service, as both a member of the Defense Science and Policy Boards, which indicates what we all know about Ash.

But let me tell you, when I met him was in about 2002, and democrats had just had our butts whipped in the midterm elections on national security, so President Clinton and Senator Daschle at the time reached out to Dr. Perry and to Ash for new thinking on the thing that dominated the national public debate at the time, national security.

And I remember getting to know a person on that panel that the democratic senators had impaneled at the table as Ash Carter. Some thought he was a dove, having written a very hard-hitting study about “Star Wars” technology in the 1980s -- 1970s and 1980s. Some thought him a hawk. And I think when I saw an op-ed that he and Dr. Perry wrote some years later about a missile test that the North Koreans were considering in the 2000s, I thought, boy, that's a guy I'd like to work with.

And what became clear to me is that Ash is neither hawk nor dove. He's a man who just likes to get stuff done. And it's a guy -- he is a guy who's influenced not by ideology, but by facts. And that's a hallmark of what he brings to everything we do and have done together, because after all, he's a man of science, a man of data, and ultimately a man of action.

So I guess I used to like to think about it, as we watched him and all the work he did in AT&L, where he was bound and determined to make the acquisition system much more agile and much more responsive to the customer -- namely, the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan -- I saw him as exactly that, a man of action. And we used to like to say that, consistent with his training in physics, a Dr. Carter in motion will tend to continue to be a Dr. Carter in motion. (Laughter.)

And I think he demonstrated, in fact, that there were no immovable objects, even when it came to acquisition. The same continued, of course, when he became the Deputy, where he had an unfailing focus with Steph, incidentally, as they just have done, spending Thanksgiving in Afghanistan with the troops, an unfailing focus on the troops and on the mission.

And when you think of the things that he accomplished as Deputy, the most powerful, but least known person in Washington, as the Chairman said, he kept us focused on the main priorities, both today, but into the future, his role in that regard on the Asia pivot, on the budget challenges we face as a result of choices we made and, frankly, sadly, choices we've been unwilling or unable to make. Ash has unfailing kept us focused on that mission.

And as I said to a smaller group the other night, when you think about the things Ash has done or made happen, you're left with a very lasting impression of a very influential Deputy Secretary of Defense. But when you think of the things that he ensured did not happen, you recognize just how lasting his impact will be.

As we've struggled with budgets, as we've struggled with sequester, as we've made that SCMR, as he calls it, a reality, we know that we’ll all, long after he and Steph go to New Zealand and continue their private life, continue to benefit from his unfailing focus on mission, on facts. Not on ideology, but on what works.

So consistent with the fact that we're in a sequester, I don't come armed with an award or medal from the White House. That went out with the 2011 budget deal, as you know. (Laughter.) I do come with an inscription that Susan and I talked to the President about and it's signed by the President, and it simply says, "Ash, thanks for your extraordinary work in keeping America safe. You have made a difference."

That is unfailingly true about you. We'll miss you sorely. We'll benefit from your work for many, many years ahead, and I wish you guys all the best as you go back to civilian life. So, Ash, thanks very much. (Applause.)

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. McDonough. Ladies and gentlemen, Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff to the 23rd Secretary of Defense. (Applause.)

MR. JEREMY BASH: Mr. Secretary and Mr. Chairman, Dr. Perry, Stephanie and Ash, I'm here to read a letter from Secretary Panetta, but, first, I just wanted to relay a couple quick stories.

One is, a couple weeks after we got to the Pentagon, your predecessor, Bill Lynn, and I were talking. We were on the telephone, when all of a sudden the building started to shake. It was an earthquake. And Bill said to me, "We finally got the Pentagon to move." (Laughter.) And Ash, as Denis referenced, you also got the Pentagon to move in the fine way that you handled the role as Deputy Secretary under Secretary Panetta.

Now, Secretary Panetta wanted to write you a letter saying that you think you're a tough guy because you fly around in helicopters, you got these pictures on the wall of you with the troops. You're really a physics nerd with a very small dog. (Laughter.) Have you seen the dog? It's a hypoallergenic cottonball of a dog. (Laughter.)

Here's the letter from Secretary Panetta. "Ash, I want to express, again, my deepest thanks for your extraordinary service to our nation. You stepped up and helped run the Pentagon at a time of great challenge. I couldn't have done my job as Secretary without you. You are the real deal, a brilliant and compassionate patriot who brings as much heart to the cause of running the DOD as you do to the bedside of a wounded servicemember. I will always remember the way we started each day together, reviewing the department's priorities. I sought your counsel on how to make our military stronger, fairer, and more effective."

"You led our efforts to implement the most significant reprioritization of defense spending in a generation. You strengthened our relationships with the men and women who bravely wear the uniform of our country. I will forever cherish the memory of our partnership and our service together. God bless you for your great service. We're safer because of you. Now take some time, get the hell out of Washington, and enjoy Stephanie and your great family. Bravo barks congratulations, too. Sincerely, Leon E. Panetta." (Applause.)

(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Bash. Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Chuck Hagel, the 24th Secretary of Defense. (Applause.)

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Jeremy, Denis, thank you each. Please thank the President. I know he is well represented here today. I know what President Obama thinks about this very unique individual that we're honoring today. I know how much he respects you, Ash, and what he thinks of you personally.

So to the President, to his team -- many, as I noted, are here -- thank you for what you continue to do for our country and being here to help us recognize a pretty special individual in Ash Carter.

I want to also note, as has already been mentioned, the group assembled here to thank you, Ash, and to acknowledge you for what you have done these last five years for this country and for all of us and to you, Stephanie, and to Ash's family, who is gracing us today with their presence, in particular his two sisters, who shaped this very unrefined piece of clay early on in his life. You've done a pretty good job. And I know you take some credit, and I know you take a lot of pride in your brother.

To your son, Will, who is here, I know how proud you are of your father, Will, as we all are, and the rest of the Carter clan, we're very happy you're here. We're not happy you're here to celebrate Ash's going away party, but we're happy you're here to celebrate this person who you all know better than anyone and hear from many, many people what he's meant to this country and to this institution and everyone assembled here today.

All of us here today have benefited from Ash's hard work, for his friendship, from his inspiration, from his leadership. No one in this room understands more than each of you sitting here cumulatively and individually what Ash has done for this country and will continue to do in many ways.

Much has been said about Ash Carter's distinguished public service. This is a pretty unique career. His career in public service is a model for all who aspire to real and effective public service. And as has already been noted, he's been an essential part of the senior DOD leadership for five years, this second tour that he's had in this building. And we all recognize he'll be a loss -- he'll be a great loss to our institution, to our men and women, to all of us. He'll be a loss to me.

Teddy Roosevelt's famous description, Ash, of the man in the arena -- and you are much familiar with that description -- is a phrase, as many of you know, from a speech that Roosevelt gave in 1910. I'd like to read a passage from that speech. That speech was entitled "Citizenship and a Republic."

President Roosevelt said, "The citizen must have high ideals, and yet he must be able to achieve them in practical fashion. The impracticable visionary is far less often the guide and precursor than he is the embittered foe of the real reformer, of the man who does in some shape, in practical fashion, give effect to the hopes and desires of those who strive for better things for all people."

Ash Carter's years at the Pentagon represent those words. Ladies and gentlemen, throughout his career, Ash Carter has shown time and again that he can translate his high ideals into better, more efficient, more effective ways of doing business for our department and for our people, for our country. And in the course of those efforts, he's made a better world for our men and women who serve in uniform and men and women in this country and around the world.

He is a reformer in every sense of the word, a practical visionary in every sense of the words. The men and women of the department have had no better friend and will have no better friend than Ash Carter.

There will be citations proclaimed not just throughout the day, but over the next few weeks and awards given to Ash Carter, recognizing his many professional accomplishments, and that is how it should be. But I'd like also to share some thoughts about Ash Carter the person, not just the professional.

Like most of you here today -- in fact, every one of you -- each of us here today -- I've known Ash Carter for many years. And like all of you here, I've always admired his remarkable abilities, his capacity, his commitment, and his professional range.

But as I've worked very closely with him, Ash Carter, as the Deputy Secretary, as my partner, my real partner here at the Pentagon these past nine months, I've observed him as a person, a person first. As always, he's gracious, thoughtful, humble, willing to help others, give advice, fit in where he needs to fit in, unassuming, and he's decent. He's been a real partner. He's a real human being. These virtues and values are not always compatible with perceived success, especially in this town.

Growing up, my mother and father would often say about an individual, "He's a good man." I never fully appreciated the meaning of those words until later in my life when I began to distinguish the difference between “a good man” and just “a man.” I've come to believe that my parents, in their typical greatest generation, understated way, no superlatives, no hype, were paying the highest compliment to a person, the highest compliment that they could possibly pay, when they would say “he's a good man.”

Ash, you're a good man.

Ash, I know that you and Stephanie are looking forward to your visit to New Zealand, maybe Stephanie more than you. (Laughter.) This is a visit that's been well earned and much deserved for the time that you have spent serving this country and the people in this institution. But know that all of us will miss you. We will miss you greatly. And thank you for your years of contributions and leadership to this department, to the men and women all over the world who you so faithfully served and to your country. Ash, I will miss you.

Ash, please join me for an award presentation. Thank you. (Applause.)

(UNKNOWN): Attention to orders. The citation to accompany the award of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, Gold Palm, to Ashton B. Carter. The Honorable Ashton B. Carter is recognized for distinguished public service as Deputy Secretary of Defense from March 2013 to December 2013. Dr. Carter played an essential role in guiding the department's activities during a period of tremendous challenge and opportunity. He led the department's Strategic Choices and Management Review to help prepare for all budget contingencies, inform fiscal guidance for the military services, and anchor the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.

Dr. Carter deftly managed the department's response to sequestration and the government shutdown and oversaw its security review in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. He focused the department's attention on the war in Afghanistan to ensure that U.S. troops receive necessary resources while enabling the transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces.

Dr. Carter has been a tireless advocate to ensure U.S. servicemembers receive the highest quality care and seamless transition support. Dr. Carter championed the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative with India, a key component of U.S. bilateral relations and rebalance to the Asia Pacific region. In every aspect of his performance, Dr. Carter displayed the highest levels of professionalism, dedication, and judgment. His distinctive accomplishments reflect great credit upon himself and the Department of Defense. (Applause.)

Thank you, Secretary Hagel. Ladies and gentlemen, Deputy Secretary Ashton B. Carter. (Applause.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASHTON B. CARTER: Mr. Secretary, Chairman, members of the administration, White House present here, thank you. And, Denis, all of you, thank you for your kind and generous words. And distinguished guests, many of them -- Secretary Perry, Senator Lugar -- many others, friends, family, thank you, thank you all for being here today.

I'd especially like to acknowledge the members of Congress, past and present, who are here today and thank them for their patriotism and for their bipartisan support of our men and women in uniform.

It's been the greatest privilege of my life to serve President Obama first as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and then as Deputy Secretary of Defense. During this time, I've also had the honor to serve three magnificent Secretaries of Defense, Secretaries Gates, Panetta, and Hagel, making the total of 11 in the course of my career.

From Bob Gates, I learned that the troops come before Washington, D.C., and never to swear in public. (Laughter.)

From Leon Panetta -- (laughter) -- I learned certainly not that -- (laughter) -- but that we had one dog to deliver, to protect this country and give our children a better life.

Secretary Chuck Hagel I've known as a friend and admired as a leader and manager for more than 20 years. And there are so many things that make you an inspiring Secretary of Defense, but there's one especially that makes me love working for you every long day, and that is that, beneath that gruff exterior, there lies a tender heart for the men and women under your care and command. Thank you for that. (Applause.)

Mr. Secretary, your strong and steady leadership of this department during these difficult times is deeply appreciated by all of us who serve you. I'm confident that with your and the President's guidance we will find a way to meet the daunting challenges, but also the bright opportunities ahead for this nation's defense.

Chairman Dempsey, Marty, we came into our current jobs at the same time, more than two years ago. We talked while we waited for Senate confirmation about what needed to be done and what we wanted to accomplish and how we wanted to conduct ourselves. Steph and I felt an immediate closeness to you and Deanie.

I was amazed by your strategic brilliance and by the clean, crisp way you summed up a thought. Since then, it's all come to pass the way we hoped, to put strategy before budget, to refocus on new opportunities, like the Asia Pacific, and new threats, like cyber, to challenge the way the department did things at our morning meetings with CEOs from the private sector. When it came to do something new and different, I was never in doubt that you were with me, and usually ahead of me.

The Vice – Sandy -- there's no more important relationship in the day-to-day running of the Department of Defense than the relationship between the Deputy Secretary and the Vice Chairman. Here I've been blessed to have a gifted partner, an officer with a mind so wide and so deep that it dominates an astonishing range of issues. And in addition to total mastery of the matters before us, Sandy has a creative mind that fashions new solutions where vast and talented staffs beneath us somehow have not.

So few in the government can do this. And normally in Washington, when an issue is hot, everyone swarms and jostles to get into the act. For me, with Sandy, it was usually the opposite. If I saw Sandy wrestling with a problem, I would feel safe moving on to work another of our many headaches, knowing that Sandy would work the first, as well as better -- or better than I would.

And Denis McDonough, who's the quarterback of the President's team and so many members of the president's team present here, our cabinet secretaries, our National Security Adviser, our Director of National Intelligence, and many others, for Denis -- he's gone now, he's back to what he's doing, but I'll just say it about him. He's the quarterback of the President's team, so many of whom have been gracious enough to come here today.

I thank him. I think we all should thank him for his indefatigable energy, his organizational talent, his policy brilliance, that with which he gives us order and direction, all this with an unfailing decency and civility so rare in Washington and so true to our president.

And my friend and partner, Jeremy, I used to call him my co-deputy, because of how effortlessly we divided our duties to support the secretary, thanks for that message from Secretary Panetta. And, Mr. Secretary, if you're watching, I wish you well beneath the walnut trees.

Now, nobody accomplishes anything in this building or in this town with other people -- without other people, and here I have truly been blessed with a spectacular OSD constellation, including Undersecretaries Frank Kendall, my successor at AT&L, and before that, my trusted deputy, Jim Miller, partner of decades now, Bob Hale, Mike Vickers, Jess Wright, the sparklingly brilliant Christine Fox, and literally hundreds of others of career officials that I know now by name, by face, and by talent.

Service secretaries, my brothers, John McHugh and Ray Mabus, Mike Donley before him, Joint Chiefs, Ray Odierno, Jon Greenert, Jim Amos, Mark Welsh, Frank Grass, combatant commanders, including those not able to be present today, and all of your subordinate commanders, so many of whom I know now down many links of the chain of command by name, by face, and by talent.

And I can't say enough about my own staff, team DSD, my family. I'll have the opportunity to thank you all later this week, but I need now to mention four of you. First, my incomparable adviser, sidekick, and link to the world, Chief of Staff Wendy Anderson. My omni-competent senior military assistant, General Eric Smith. My longstanding special assistant, the gifted Jonathan Lachman. And the organizer of my life, confidential assistant Julie Park -- and her daughter, Emma.

Last, my home family, Will, Eva, and my perfect, precious, vivacious wife and partner in life, Stephanie. Steph has been at my side with countless wounded warriors, families of the fallen, and over Thanksgiving, troops at war in Afghanistan. It is they who have been the center of our lives these five years and will always be in our hearts. And you see them, all 2.5 million of them, represented here by this honor guard, so magnificent, so proud, so young, our future. And it's to them that I would like to address my remaining remarks. I'd like to describe my hopes for you.

I hope, first, that we're given the chance to win in Afghanistan, because winning is truly within our grasp, so that we secure an Afghanistan that will not again be a source of attack on our country and that gives a decent life to its people and so that America retains its reputation as a country that defeats its foes and keeps its commitments to its friends.

More broadly, I hope we continue to learn ever better ways to combat terrorism, because as long as there is human society, there will be the problem of the few against the many, the abhorrent and twisted against the decent and tolerant civilized life. And so those charged with security, including the Department of Defense, will always retain this mission. To do it in a democracy, we will need to convince the public that the methods we are using are necessary, lawful and appropriate, as they have been in every -- on every occasion I've witnessed during this administration.

But with all this, and more fundamentally, the post-9/11 era is ending, and I hope that we continue to turn a strategic corner, to leave behind the era of Iraq and Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden and face this department towards the challenges and opportunities that will define the future for you, our successors as soldiers and citizens.

I hope, for example, to see us continue the so-called rebalance to the Asia Pacific, where so much of humanity's future will be written, and where peace and prosperity will depend in the future as it has for decades, on the pivotal, stabilizing role of U.S. military power.

I hope to see us invest in new capabilities for you in cyber, special operations forces, space, ISR, counter-weapons of mass destruction, electronic warfare, and dramatically new things that we don't talk about that will surprise the world, all so that you have the most technologically advanced systems, and in medical advances, like brain injury, so that your wounded comrades live long and full lives.

And I hope to see us enhance the number and capabilities of the alliances and partnerships that the U.S. only, because of its -- the values it represents has, our challengers and antagonists have none, whether in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and add new ones, like India, so that you don't have to bear the world's security burden alone.

To make this, the President's and our Secretary's vision of your strategic future, a reality for you, I hope that we in our generation change the way we do things. We can fulfill our strategic destiny as the single most important provider of security of the world without the ever-increasing defense budgets we once enjoyed.

But the turbulence surrounding governance in Washington is having serious effects. It injects inefficiencies into our programs and industry that we're striving to have deliver better buying power to the taxpayer for their dollars. It's unsafe, because it affects the readiness of the forces that would respond to contingencies. It's dispiriting to and unworthy of the patriots, military and civilian, who serve this government. Most seriously, it embarrasses us in front of friends and allies and also potential opponents. A great and strong nation needs a working government.

What's regrettable in all of this is that it's not the result of any objective external force. It's not that the country's in an economic decline and can't afford an adequate defense. It's not that it's the true answer to deficit reduction. You can do the arithmetic. It's not that we made a breakthrough in military technology that somehow makes our forces unnecessary, and it's surely not because the world is suddenly a safer place. It's purely the result of political gridlock, and you, our future soldiers and citizens, deserve better.

At the same time, though, I hope to see us continue the way -- to change the way we do business in DOD, sometimes in fundamental ways. And I hope Congress will support that change in eliminating waste and unneeded facilities, basing and overhead that are tail and not tooth, the way the Secretary has led by slashing his own office costs right here in the Pentagon, and in balancing the growth of your own pay with the rest of the budget so that we can afford more of you fine young people in uniform and equip and train you so that you're safe and successful in combat.

All of this I hope for you, our amazing force represented by you here. And I have complete confidence that with President Obama, Secretary Hagel, and this superb leadership before you, the department will meet all the management challenges and grasp all the right strategic opportunities ahead for your America.

For Steph and me, we will watch them -- we will watch them with admiration and continue to behold you, our troops, with deep respect and loving care. You will always be in our hearts. Farewell. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Stephanie Carter, wife of Deputy Secretary Carter.

STEPHANIE CARTER: Surprise! Come here you crybaby.

Well, you know we don't like to do anything plain and simple, and, Ash, I have a little surprise for you. We wanted to put our own little personal mark on this and, you know, this is a -- for those for you who don't know Ash's musical taste he is a huge Motown fan.

And Julie Park was amazing in combing all of our military music talent to find someone that could execute on this, and no surprise, in our amazing military we found someone that could.

But this is a song that I think of when I think of Ash, and this is a song that I know he thinks of when he thinks about his extended DOD family and friends.

So, baby, with that, I will let you enjoy.

(MUSIC PLAYING - "I'LL BE THERE")

(Applause.)

DR. CARTER: It turns out that was not the song that we thought, but it was a lovely song. (Applause.)

Now I do hope my wife doesn't leave me. But I (inaudible). (Laughter.)

But what a lovely song. And thank you so much. A magnificent group. Thank you. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the formal portion of today's ceremony. Please stand for the departure of the official party.