Gates Accepts Patriot Award on Behalf of Troops
(November 9, 2010)
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is awarded the 2010 American Patriot
Award for outstanding contributions to the intelligence, national
security, and defense communities by the National Defense University
Foundation at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5,
DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was awarded
the 2010 American Patriot Award last night for outstanding contributions
to the intelligence, national security, and defense communities.
In accepting the prestigious award, Gates said he was doing so on behalf
of all the young men and women in uniform who serve their country in
time of war.
Gates received the National Defense University Foundation's award at a
ceremony here for his contributions during four decades of government
“Tonight we sit and enjoy this wonderful occasion and each other's
company, but we must never forget that our comfort and safety are borne
on the brave and broad shoulders of those young men and women in
uniform,” he said.
honoring servicemembers, Gates quoted Gen. George C.
Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II and
Nobel Peace Prize winner for whom The Marshall Plan to
rebuild Europe after the war is named.|
“More sacrifices will be required of them to defend the
security and freedom of our country in this dangerous new
century,” he said. “And it is our duty -- it is, indeed, our
sacred obligation -- in Marshall's words, to make things
well for them.”
Their well-being, Gates added, is his continuing highest
Among more than 600 guests were senior defense and military
officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary William J.
Lynn III, senior administration officials, members of
Congress and corporate and community leaders.
In his comments, Gates recognized retired Republic of Korea
Army Gen. Paik Sun-yup, who traveled from South Korea to
attend the gala.
“For those of you who don't know,” Gates said, “General Paik
was the ROK army's youngest and fiercest division commander
during the Korean War and for nearly six decades has been
one of America's most steadfast friends.
“Sir,” Gates told him, “I'm pleased that you came so far to
be here, and thank you.”
Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau and others
spoke on Gates' behalf.
“The American Patriot Award is presented each year to a
citizen whose sacrifice and dedication stand out as
remarkable,” Rondeau, president of National Defense
“To someone who answers the call to public service,
patriotism is not a concept. It is a commitment, it is a
duty upon which we act,” she added. “This level of
commitment is what National Defense University Foundation
prizes above all else. It is what we recognize and
acknowledge every year and again this year.”
Cartwright thanked the university staff, professors,
executives and the National Defense University Foundation
for “making a difference” to all the field-grade officers
and general officers who attend the institution, educating
themselves and enriching their spirits.
One of several standing ovations of the evening acknowledged
the gala's special guests -- more than 40 members from each
military service who were part of the 2010 Sponsor a Patriot
program. Their commanders chose them based on character and
dedication to country, and some came from around the world.
In a video message played during the celebration, former
President George H.W. Bush highlighted Gates' “monumental”
contributions to his country.
“For eight presidents, having gone from raw recruit to CIA
director and now secretary of defense, Robert Gates has been
wisely and relentlessly fighting and winning America's
wars,” Bush said.
The American Patriot Award recognizes exceptional Americans
who demonstrate a love of country and whose leadership and
dedication symbolize U.S. ideals, values and democratic
Past award recipients include former President George H.W.
Bush; former Secretaries of State retired Army Gen. Colin
Powell and Henry Kissinger; Army Gen. David Petraeus and the
men and women of Central Command; astronaut and retired U.S.
Senator John Glenn; and former Defense Secretary Caspar
Beyond honoring the recipients, the gala supports the
university and its mission of preparing military and
civilian leaders from the United States and other countries
to examine national and international security challenges
through educational and research programs, professional
exchanges and outreach.
The main campus is at Fort Lesley McNair in Washington.
The National Defense University Foundation is a nonprofit
organization that has provided private-sector support for
the National Defense University for more than 28 years.
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
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