Mullen Accepts Award on Behalf of Armed Forces

WASHINGTON — Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair­man Navy Adm. Mike Mullen accept­ed the Dwight D. Eisen­how­er Award from the Cen­ter for the Study of the Pres­i­den­cy and Con­gress last night on behalf of all mem­bers of the U.S. armed forces.
“Tonight, there are thou­sands upon thou­sands of young men and women answer­ing our nation’s call in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan and around the world,” the chair­man said. “Off the shores of Libya, where they are fly­ing and fight­ing to pro­tect inno­cent peo­ple from their own gov­ern­ment, they are doing a mag­nif­i­cent job.”

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress awards
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deb­o­rah, greet retired Sen. John W. Warn­er of Vir­ginia at the Cen­ter for the Study of the Pres­i­den­cy and Con­gress awards din­ner in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., March 24, 2011. Mullen accept­ed the Dwight D. Eisen­how­er Award for excel­lence on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces at the din­ner.
DOD pho­to by U.S. Navy Pet­ty Offi­cer 1st Class Chad J. McNee­ley
Click to enlarge

When the cen­ter select­ed Mullen for the award, the chair­man agreed to accept it -– but only on behalf of the nation’s uni­formed men and women.

For­mer Vir­ginia Sen. John Warn­er, past chair­man of the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, pre­sent­ed the award. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma extend­ed his con­grat­u­la­tions to Mullen and U.S. ser­vice mem­bers in a let­ter.

“Through­out his extra­or­di­nary mil­i­tary career, Admi­ral Mullen has set an exam­ple for men and women across all branch­es of gov­ern­ment,” the president’s let­ter read. “His out­stand­ing lead­er­ship of our armed forces will be stud­ied for gen­er­a­tions to come, and as he accepts this award on behalf of our ser­vice mem­bers, I hope he takes pride in his enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions to strength­en­ing our nation.”

Mullen is a long­stand­ing advo­cate of sup­port­ing U.S. troops and fam­i­lies dur­ing and after their ser­vice for the “needs they deserve,” rang­ing from med­ical care to edu­ca­tion and jobs.

“You, your fam­i­lies, and all of the vet­er­ans you rep­re­sent have my unyield­ing sup­port and my deep­est grat­i­tude for all that you have done in ser­vice to our nation,” Mullen told vet­er­ans in the audi­ence from the Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans and the Iraq and Afghanistan Vet­er­ans of Amer­i­ca.

Their actions and ded­i­ca­tion to duty, Mullen told the vet­er­ans, “stand as stark tes­ta­ment to Pres­i­dent Eisenhower’s words that ‘We can­not build peace on desire alone.’ I will take that one step fur­ther and say that while desire alone won’t build a bet­ter future for our nation or our world, you have.”

The cen­ter chose Mullen for the Eisen­how­er Award because “he is a for­ward-think­ing, ser­vant leader and grand strate­gist who, by look­ing through a long-term lens, has pro­vid­ed unpar­al­leled lead­er­ship in nav­i­gat­ing our men and women of the armed forces suc­cess­ful­ly dur­ing America’s longest war,” said Jonathan P. Mur­phy, the center’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor.

The chairman’s vision for the future includes jobs for vet­er­ans. Mullen said vet­er­ans are ready and will­ing to con­tin­ue serv­ing their com­mu­ni­ties, and when com­mu­ni­ties help vet­er­ans tran­si­tion to civil­ian life, he fore­sees a “win-win” rela­tion­ship.

“[That part­ner­ship] makes a pos­i­tive and last­ing impact on our nation and the young men and women who have served, for decades to come,” the admi­ral said.

Mullen chal­lenged the Eisen­how­er Center’s fel­lows to find new, cre­ative ways to “reach out to the great resources res­i­dent in our vet­er­ans.” Then, he chal­lenged vet­er­ans to grab hold of the oppor­tu­ni­ties that are offered, “and bring your ship­mates, bat­tle bud­dies and wing­men along with you.”

Mullen also encour­aged old­er vet­er­ans to men­tor the younger ones. “Men­tor­ship knows no rank or age lim­it,” he said.

Quot­ing Eisen­how­er, Mullen told the audi­ence, “Our heart sum­mons our strength, our wis­dom must direct it.”

With that thought, the admi­ral said, he hopes the lead­ers of today and the future see the wis­dom in keep­ing faith with those “who have brave­ly served the nation, as many more do so around the world tonight.”

“So when that time comes,” Mullen added, “our nation will have the heart to sum­mon the strength need­ed to serve our nation and world.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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