Chairman Thanks USO for Service to Military
(April 17, 2011)
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah, share a laugh during the 2011 USO Metro Awards Dinner in Pentagon City, Va., April 12, 2011. DOD photo by US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeely
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 – For 70 years, the
USO and its thousands of volunteers have stood
as a compass for the nation and adapted to the
needs of every war Americans have fought, the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said last
night at the organization's 29th annual awards
"To the thousands and thousands
of volunteers who still make a difference, to
those who serve and to our military families --
and I speak for the 2.2 million men and women
who serve -- thank you, and keep up the great
work," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told members of the
USO in an audience of 500 people at the
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City.
we sit down and enjoy the evening -- and I know
this is on everybody's mind -- we should
remember the sun is rising in Iraq and
Afghanistan," Mullen said. "As
we speak, we have tens of thousands of military
men and women who are putting their lives in
harm's way, and they are the ones who afford us
the opportunity to spend a few moments together
The chairman said he's
greatly appreciative of public and corporate
support for service members and their families
during the past decade at war.
ask you to keep them in your thoughts and
prayers," he told the audience.
praised the “many special people here who care a
lot about our troops -- professional football
players, announcers, wrestlers, entertainers,
business men and women.
"I'd like to
express my appreciation to each and every one of
you," the chairman added.
saluted the defense industry for its support of
"I've seen that [support of
the military] in our defense industry for
decades,” the chairman said. “When I visit the
plants, they are truly extraordinary Americans
who want to make a difference for those of us
who serve. To all of you for taking the time to
be here, recognize that we are grateful for what
you have given us and what you have given our
men and women and their families over such an
extended period of time."
introduced Medal of Honor recipients Bob Foley,
Drew Dix and Barney Barnum, calling them
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah, speak with U.S. Army Col.
Gregory Gadson and his wife, Kim, during the 2011 USO Metro Awards
Dinner in Pentagon City, Va., April 12, 2011. Gadson lost both of
his legs in an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq in 2007.
DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
"I know how much you care, and your being here
tonight says a lot about that," he told the
heroes. "I thank so many of you in your society
who have stepped forward to mentor those who are
in these wars and share your experiences.”
Mullen said America owes a great debt to its
service members, their families and the families
of the fallen.
"We as a people and as a
country must make sure we do everything we can
to make sure they are OK for the rest of their
lives,” he said. “And we will live with these
challenges that we've gone through in these wars
Mullen said today's U.S.
service members are an extraordinary generation
of people geared to serve and make a difference
and the nation must recognize and tap that
"They're going to make America
so much better over the long run," he said.
The $572,000 raised at the dinner will be
used for USO-Metro's programs and services,
including celebrity visits to local military
hospitals, programs for families with deployed
loved ones and emergency support for service
members facing financial hardship.
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
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