Special Retirement Review in honor of General Robert Abrams

Special Retirement Review in honor of General Robert Abrams, August 31, 2021


Ladies and gentlemen, our ceremony will begin momentarily. Today’s ceremony is considered an outdoor ceremony and all. Headgear is to be worn by all military personnel. We also ask that you please silence all cell phones and other electronic devices at this time. Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome to historic Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall originally established as Fort Whipple in 18 63 and changed to Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall in 2000 and nine. Its main purpose was fortification in the defense of Washington. Since its inception, Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall has been the home of horse cavalry, artillery and today it is home to the old Guard, the United States Army Band and the United States Army Garrison. Before today’s review begins, the United States Army Band. Pershing’s own presents a pre ceremonial concert featuring the following musical selections official West Point March and national emblem. Mhm Mhm mhm. All right. Mhm Hello, who is Great. Right, so figure this mm 44 Oh so mhm Oh so okay. Uh huh. Orange shirt sir. Yeah. Mm Hey. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. Who 10. Colonial e working song. Uh huh. Mhm Mhm Mhm Right. Yeah. Mhm Oh yeah. Mhm mhm Uh huh Right, right, Once again, Good afternoon and welcome today the United States Army Military District of Washington, represented by the soldiers of the third United States Infantry Regiment. The old Guard and the United States Army Band Pershing’s own pay. A special tribute to general Robert B. Abrams Who was retiring after 39 years of distinguished service to the United States Army and our nation participating in today’s ceremony from left to right is the United States Army Band Pershing’s own formed in 1922 by then Army Chief of Staff General john J. Pershing at its States Army Band is the premier band of our Senior Service. Pershing’s own provides musical support for ceremonies and special events in our nation’s capital and throughout the United States. The United States Army Band is under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Tove in and led by drum major rob Moore right, Yeah, Elements of the old guard include Bravo Company, commanded by Captain Jefferson, Thorndike and led by 1st Sergeant Alex Thompson. Next online is hotel company commended by Captain Grant Wyndham and led by Sergeant. First class Tyler plumber. Since the days of the American Revolution, the colors have been one of the most important elements of a military unit. Therefore, in the center of our formation and bearing the national color is the nation’s foremost color team. The Third Infantry’s Continental Color Guard. Led by Sergeant Ryan Weber Next online. His honor guard company commanded by Captain Justin Bingham and led by 1st Sergeant Joel Maldonado. Following is the Commander in Chief’s Guard, patterned after the unit created by General 36 to be his personal guard. The commander in chief’s guard is commended by Captain Zachary Rickets and led by 1st Sergeant Christopher Carney. Next online is Echo Company commended by Captain Matt Whitcombe and led by Staff Sergeant Tyler Pain. The last element to your left dressed in the continental musician’s uniform is the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum corps. During the American revolution. Musicians war the reverse colors of their parent infantry unit. The men and women of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and drum corps maintained this tradition by wearing red coats instead of the infantry blue. The course led today by drum major john Parks. Yeah. Mhm. Ladies and gentlemen moving into position is the commander of troops. For today’s ceremony. Colonel Patrick M Roddy, Junior Commander, Third United States Infantry Regiment. The Old Guard. Right, Yeah. The history of the Third United States Infantry Regiment reflects the growth and development of our Nation. Five well-earned campaign streamers to Valorous unit Awards, five meritorious unit commendations and five Superior Unit awards attest to the Old Guards record of bravery in action and achievements during peacetime. Who ladies and gentlemen taking the reviewing stand as the reviewing official for today’s ceremony. General Robert Abrams, accompanied by the host General Mark A Milley, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand as honors are rendered and remain standing for the invocation given by Chaplin. Colonel Dave Bullis. What? Yes. Oh yeah. Oh. Mhm mm. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Mhm. Okay. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Oh. From right almighty God we gathered this afternoon to celebrate with. And to honor a soldier who has invested his life in service to our nation. General Robert Abrams has exemplified a life of selfless service and faithfully lead our nation’s greatest treasure in peacetime and in war supported by his family. He has shouldered more than his share of the task, has served those in his charge and sacrificed much so that Americans and our allies could sleep peacefully in their beds at night. Over the last 39 years you have guided him through many dangers toils and snares and used him to influence hundreds of thousands in our armed forces and around the world. We thank you for such a leader as General Abrams departs the ranks of active duty. Bless him and his loving wife and best friend Connie also encourage and bless their Children, Robert Caroline and Chris and grandchildren. Gwendolyn and Maddox as they cross this phase line and enter into new opportunities of service. Lord May, your holy presence survived with us now and bless all of us who have come to celebrate with the Abrams on this special occasion. I pray this in the name of the father of the son and the Holy spirit. Amen. Please be seated mm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Mhm mm. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm Yeah. Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the advancing of the colors and remain standing for the United States national anthem. Yeah. Mhm Yeah. Yeah. Mhm Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Mhm Yeah. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm Mhm. No. Yeah. Uh huh. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh please be seated. Okay. Mhm. Ladies and gentlemen, General Milley and Mrs. Millie are now moving to the floor to honor General and Mrs. Abrams the Defense Distinguished Service medal is being presented to General Robert B. Abrams. General Robert B. Abrams. United States Army distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility As Commander of United Nations command, Combined Forces command and United States forces Korea From November 2018 to May 2021. During this period, General Abrams demonstrated extraordinary leadership provided military advice to two national command authorities and expertly navigated one of the most dynamic time periods of American presence in Korea. His inspirational leadership maintained an effective deterrence posture, modernized and transformed combined defense readiness and provided time and space for American diplomacy. His unshakeable commitment to the ironclad alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea directly contributed to peace on the Korean peninsula and continued stability in northeast Asia. His military expertise and strategic vision made a lasting impact across three commands. The United States, the Republic of Korea and the region. The distinctive accomplishments of General Abrams culminate along in distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect great credit upon himself. The United States Army and the Department of Defense signed Lloyd J Austin Secretary of Defense. Yeah. Certificate of retirements from the armed forces of the United States of America to all who shall see these presence, greetings. This is to certify that General Robert B. Abrams, having served faithfully and honorably, will retire from the United States Army on the first day of September 2021. Sign James C. McConville, General United States Army Chief of Staff, Yeah, thank you. General Milley is now presenting General Abrams the United States of America flag in recognition of his time honored service to the United States Army and the nation. The Distinguished public service award is being presented to Mrs. Connie Abrahams. Mrs. Connie Abrahams distinguished herself by superior public service in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the United Nations Command, Combined Forces command and United States Forces Korea from November 2018 to June 2021. During this period, Mrs. Abrams voluntarily contributed time and energy to a broad range of organizations while serving as an emissary for the commands and American diplomacy across the Korean peninsula. Her selfless devotion to duty and efforts to improve quality of life through active leadership and support to on and off post organizations, set the highest standards and directly impacted the overall readiness of multiple commands. Her dedication to the community in the midst of the global coronavirus 2019. Pandemic made her contributions to the wellbeing of service members and their families especially impactful. Her commitment to the soldiers, Marines, sailors, Airmen Guardians, civilians and their families epitomised the volunteer spirit and improve the quality of life on the Korean peninsula for all service members, civilians and their families. The distinctive accomplishments of Mrs. Abrams reflect great credit upon herself. The United States Army and the Department of Defense signed Mark A Milley, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. To all who shall see these presents greetings. This is to certify that Connie Abrahams on the occasion of the retirement of your spouse from the United States Army has earned grateful appreciation for your own unselfish, faithful and devoted service. Your unfailing support and understanding helped to make possible your spouse’s lasting contribution to the nation signed James C McConville. General United States Army Chief of Staff. Yeah, yeah. At this time, General Abrams is presenting a small token of appreciation to his family for their love and support of their soldier throughout his 39 year career receiving gifts. Are his wife Mrs. his son Robert Abrams the second his daughter Caroline Abrams Farmer, his son in law, Chris farmer, his granddaughter, Gwendolyn Farmer and his grandson. Maddox Farmer. Mhm. We are proud to recognize general and Mrs. Abrams devotion to our country and we wish them happiness and prosperity and their well-earned retirement. Oh it works, yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the posting of the colors home from the cold. Yeah. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah, mm hmm. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Uh huh. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, mm hmm. Yeah, mm hmm. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Please be seated ceremonial. Yeah. Yeah mm. Ladies and gentlemen, General Milley. Mhm. I wanna thank everyone for joining us here today to celebrate in honor and bid farewell. A good friend of mine and a good friend of yours. General Abrams Abe is a proven combat leader who has led our joint force at the highest levels and the impact he has made in our army and joined of course will not be forgotten. Today is a bittersweet day for the joint forces. We end the U. S. Military mission in Afghanistan and say goodbye to Abrams and his incredible family. Over half of Abe’s long 39 year career has been spent serving a nation at war. They commanded The 3rd Infantry Division in R. c. South a decade ago. And now after two decades at enormous cost and blood and treasure. With over 800,000 of us who served in Afghanistan. 2000 324 of us were killed in action. 20,000 691 of us were wounded in action. And untold thousands more live with the invisible wounds of war. We are now closing a chapter in our nation’s history for the past 20 years there has not been a major terrorist attack on the homeland of the United States. And for the past 20 days We evacuated 124,000 people from a war torn land and a global operation that Spanned nine countries and 26 Intermediate staging bases and cost 11 marines one soldier And one Navy Corum in their lives. So that others will live free. They literally gave their tomorrows for the tomorrows Of 124,000 people. those 124,000 people Never knew the 13. They never knew the thousands of dead and wounded Who came before those 13. But our counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan in the region for two decades and saving the lives of 124,000 men. Women and Children evacuated the last 20 days. Ultimately be the legacy and prove the value of the sacrifice that the men and women that Abe Abrams lead like many people in this room today who served in Afghanistan and really for all Americans today is an incredibly emotional day. All of us are conflicted with feelings of pain and anger, sorrow and sadness combined with pride and resilience. But one thing I am certain of for any soldier, sailor, airman or marine and their family. Your service mattered and it was not in vain. I want to thank all of you here today. I especially want to thank the honorable chuck Hagel Or 24th Secretary Defense who also served wounded and suffered along with General Shinseki wounded and suffered in a previous conflict. Not unlike the one we’re closing today. I want to thank the honorable Christine, Warm you for being here and so many others. four star generals, chief of staff of the army, retired generals, Sergeants majors. I want to thank all of you who came here today to honor a babe and his legacy. And by doing so, you are not only the army, but the entire Joint Force Aid knows more than most about the hardships of his chosen profession. He was born and raised a military child. Born in Frankfurt Germany well, his father was serving there and raised on military bases and is holy the product of an army education right up to his graduation from a small school in the Hudson river. In fact, Abe is so steeped in military tradition That in the summer of 69 is a third grader when most kids spent their summer at Camp Abe was shipped off to Vietnam In the summer of 69. He was at Mac V headquarters with his dad. His mom and sisters had just about enough of them and they said send him to dad. So, Saigon is where he went. And of course he was in the middle of a mini Tet offensive and unbeknownst to AIDS dad at the time, his father’s personal security detail completely against rules and regulation dressed Abe up in a military uniform, did not give him a weapon, but did take them on patrol. I can only imagine what dad Abe would have done to those guys head, you know, and they took his nine year old out on a patrol in Saigon. And naturally after that kind of experience. Abe went to West Point Where he was part of a very famous class of 1982. Yeah, and a bit is a Last member of the class of 1982 on active duty. It was an incredible class, the last of the select few. As a young child growing up in Thailand, he had the unique perspective of two brothers also serving in Vietnam at the same time, who also went to the academy and also one went through a famous school in New Jersey. Abe is the youngest of six with 19 nieces and nephews and many of them are here today. Abe’s choice may seem that he was destined to serve seem natural to some. For his father, of course was a very famous Chief of Staff of the army, who put in place many of the reforms which ultimately transition our army to the all-volunteer force and the force that lead us to victory in the first gulf war. Abe. I know your mother and father right now are incredibly proud of you and our smiling on you at the ceremony day and recognition of your distinguished service. The tough upbringing that Abe had growing up in a house where a service to nation was what mattered most imbued and Abe and the entire family, a sense of selfless service and a call to the Colors and we as a nation are incredibly lucky that Abe decided to follow in his father and brother’s footsteps. Abe is one of the most competent leaders I have ever known. A true master of his craft. Of course we wouldn’t know that from his class standing where he was dead in the middle, just ahead of Kenny doll. So hey, clearly graduated in the half of the class that made the top half possible in that great class of 82. It’s pretty weak AIDS competence as a soldier and a leader has been evident from the very beginning. He’s a legend in the armored community of and at Fort Hood and He’s the only one I know of with a tank almost named after him, but really named after his dad. He performed exceptionally as an operations officer in several cavalry units over the years and He commanded the famous one A Cav And then went on to command 1st Brigade for Discovery And then he was chief of staff of the 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood. It was as a brigade commander of 1st Calvary Division When I first met a I was attached to the first cavalry division and Baghdad at the time and the first Cat was led by General Chiarelli and the current Chief of Staff. General McConville was the aviation brigade commander. I met a bit his headquarters in Baghdad, a city of six million people at the height of the war. I was in Commander of second brigade 10th mountain and I was being attached and general Chiarelli told me to go around and see all the brigade commanders and get oriented to the city. The 1st Brigade Commander I met was Abrams. A few minutes into our meeting the radio’s began to tackle and broadcast that there was a major firefight and we took casualties. The call signs of the casualties or my soldiers. And mind you, we have just been in country For about 48 hours. So eight turned to me he said, they’re yours and I said, let’s go. When we left the headquarters Only a couple 100 m outside a and I found ourselves in a pretty deep firefight and I got to see a skill as a war fighter up close and personal when the bullets flew. I can attest that Abe was and is an exceptional combat leader and he led his brigade with incredible distinction and the extraordinarily violent period in Iraq in cedar city. I got to see him again in combat as a division commander in Afghanistan in another particularly violent period. Again, heb led his division with distinction and courage and skill. He went on to be the special Military Assistant do Secretary Defense Hagel and later replaced me as the Commander of forces command most recently has done an incredible job over the last three years commanding our forces on the Korean peninsula where he is single handedly continued to strengthen the alliance with the republic of career and literally deter war on that peninsula and his leadership during a pandemic was also exceptional. The bottom line is that AIDS competence for 39 consecutive years has kept our nation safe. But confidence alone is never enough. A viz also incredibly committed and displays the highest levels of character and in the end of the day character is what counts doing the right thing no matter what. Having a spine of steel speaking truth to power when the chips are down and it’s really hard. That’s character and a haphazard Abe has the moral character to always speak truth to power even when it hurts. That’s what character is all about. It’s not about only checking the troops when the sun’s out, it’s about checking them at two a.m. and miserable weather when the attack is about to kick off you find out who is who when everything around you is going bad. That’s when you find out who has character and with a he’s always been there no matter what, when the times are tough, he’s been there comforting a grieving family or telling a leader the hard truth character isn’t something the army gave a job character was developed by his family, his coaches, his mentors and frankly everyone in attendance that’s here today. So thanks to all of you for helping to keep our nation safe and thank you all for incubating such great character. General officer named Abe. Abrams you a walked into this army with a high degree of competence, commitment and character And you carry that through for 39 years your entire career. Some people get to where they are in life and they fall victim to hubris. They start looking at the reflection in the mirror and I think they really looked that good. They think they’re jokes are really that funny. But you didn’t do that. You always maintained a deep sense of humility, the genuine anecdote to hubris and you didn’t do it alone. Connie is served just as much as you have and probably more 10s of thousands of volunteer hours, 29 years of marriage and service to our soldiers, our sailors or airmen and marines. Connie is representative of our fantastic group of military spouses. She is comforted the wounded and held the hand of the grieving all the while. Be an incredible example of what it means to be a serving spouse. Much of canyon AIDS time together has taken place during a time of war threatened war on the Korean peninsula in the Fulda Gap together wherever duty is called Connie has made a home and raise their wonderful Children and above all supported and lead our fantastic military families and even Connie have two wonderful Children. We’ve grown into incredibly accomplished adults. Carlin is following an age footsteps born in Frankfurt Germany and is now a professional photographer and the mother of two phenomenal kids herself and rob was born at Fort Bliss and it’s currently working as a cybersecurity professional and also happened to win the family fantasy football tournament this year. So to Connie Caroline and rob an aide, you should know that aid could never have done it without your unequivocal love and sacrificed our nation. And we’re all grateful for your service as well as for Abe’s. So thank you Connie, thank you for keeping him grounded. Yeah, thank you for your own strength and inner core. Thank you for your moral character. Thank you for maintaining your true north at all times. You know, a very, very few people get to lead our military as a general officer and you stand here on the hill today literally and figuratively with your head held high in front of a grateful nation is your backdrop and we are all so incredibly proud of you. You’ve never turned your back on the oath you took on the plain at west point to the constitution, the oath of allegiance to a document. To an idea, the idea that is America, the idea that’s embodied within that constitution that you were willing to, I know your parents and your brothers and your sister Who combined have 144 years of active service are incredibly proud of you. So a on behalf of the nation, on behalf of the Joint force. I want to thank you and I salute you. Oh yeah. Mhm. Ladies and gentlemen, General Abrams Mhm. Good afternoon everyone, wow, It’s dark. I can’t see any faces. Good. I noticed people in here. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you Jordan major. My name is Abrams. I’m a soldier for life. Yeah. Yeah. I want to thank you all for attending the ceremony today. You truly honor me and Connie with your presence. Especially with the ongoing pandemic. All of you assume some additional risk gathering today in a large group and that’s not lost on us. Some of our friends traveled a long way to be here. I think California and Washington state are probably the farthest and for that we’re even more grateful. Today’s ceremony is an opportunity for me to say thank you while reflecting on my service. So I’m giving fair warning that there will be a couple of stories told to add some color to my reflections. Some of you should be very nervous right now about which stories might be told. There are far too many people for me to thank my name. But there are some notables who will be mentioned. Suffice to say you can’t serve 39 years in the army without a lot of people helping you along the way. And for me it’s probably in the hundreds of thousands. So to all of you, please accept my most sincere thanks. I could not have done this without all of you now. I think the sections darkened over here. But there’s an over under bet going on in the friends section, guessing how long I’m going to make it through this speech before I get choked up. Oh, they’re back here. Yeah, OK. Dave, Well, time will tell you might be surprised. I just want to make clear that all proceeds go to a charity of my choosing. I want to acknowledge the 24th Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary war meth the chief device to start Major of the army. All the general officers and SCS is present today for taking time out of their very busy schedule to be here and I want to recognize all the retired senior leaders present. All all these retired senior leaders that came today. These are legends that I looked up to my entire career and I’m grateful for them attending today and for their leadership. Some of you know the general Milley and I’ve been around each other For the last 17 years in one capacity or another. He’s been my boss the last six years. This is the first time in a long time that I’m going to have the last word and I had to give that some thought as I prepared my remarks today, Chairman, what can I say? Let me Oh, I got lots to say. Let me start by saying thanks thanks for hosting this ceremony today. I do know how busy you are and I do know the weight of responsibility on your shoulders with all that’s going on in the world and the time you’re spending with us today. You’ll never get back and I’m grateful and thankful that you agreed to be the host for this retirement ceremony. And more importantly, I’m thankful for our friendship over many years from that very first meeting at iron horse base on the outskirts of Soder City in august 2000 and four When you were commando six, I knew you were my type of soldier focused on the mission and our soldiers, wellbeing plain speaking and direct and as you stated, when word came in during that meeting that one of your battalion commanders and sergeant majors have been wounded while accompanying one of our units. You did not hesitate when I said we need to cut the briefing short and go see the situation for ourselves. Down the Ironhorse brigade. We rode to the sounds of the guns and you immediately embraced the cavalry mindset. I wasn’t sure how you were gonna look in a Stetson, but I figured we cross it up to it and I did not know at the time that you would never ever forgive me for not letting you bring a rifle along and then us ending up in a little bit of a dust up with some militiaman and all you had was your nine millimeter. You’ve been my peer and my boss in war and peace and I’ve always had my back. Thanks Chairman for your leadership and your friendship to the joint staff protocol team, Army protocol, Military district of Washington. The old guard and the army band. You ladies and gentlemen set the standard. This is one of many ceremonies you do on a weekly and monthly basis. Every single one is done to an incredibly high standard. Now I’ve been going to ceremonies with the old Guard, the army band Since I was four years old. And you guys on the floor today or a sharp as the old guard and the army band was back in the day. So thanks for what you do every single day. Join me in a round of applause for all of them. Special thanks to Colonel Champion David Wallace for making the trip up from fort Bragg and for his inspiring invocation. He and his wife Mary D represent the very best of the U. S. Army’s chaplains corps. And it is particularly meaningful to have my last command chaplain from Korea lead us in prayer today. Thanks Dave. Well done. As the chairman said, there’s a big showing from the Abrams family today. Many traveled a long way to be here and as many of you know, and the chairman said, I’m the youngest of six Children and all the living Children are present today and I am certain that our brother and our parents are observing from above. The old man’s got a glass of brown water. Our mother’s got a vodka martini very dry. And our brother john’s got a cold beer. The Abrams family have been ardent supporters of their little brother from the very beginning and I would not be here were not for them. Our parents did instill in us a sense of duty to country and the value of being part of something much bigger than ourselves. And service had sacrificed for part of our everyday lives growing up. And they instilled the values of integrity, selfless service, honor. And they taught us by their own example, that character matters now, most of you are many of you, I should say. You know, my two brothers, the other General Abrams, my sister in law, Joan likes to tell the story of being seen at Walter reed a few years ago. And the medic asked her Mrs. Abrams, are you married to General Abrams and her response? Which one? My two brothers were incredible role models for me growing up, always impatient and understanding when I was so much younger than them, they never overstepped giving me advice and what I might do after I graduated from high school and after I was commissioned, they were always a source of wisdom and good counsel. When I asked while maintaining appropriate distance from the younger brother who was just trying to make his own way and our chosen profession. And later in my career, they were both my strongest supporters and sounding boards and I’m grateful for both of their service. Both of them for their service sacrifice and supported me over my career. Now, many of you probably most of you don’t know about my three brothers in law and their brothers as far as I’m concerned, all three were active duty in my early career, they coached and mentored me were always great sounding boards and I’m thankful for their service and for being the husbands that they are for my sisters and a great brother to my wife. I’ve got three older sisters and they’re all present today along with our sister in law, Celia Abrams and all four have a lot of the same qualities as our mother. They are strong, intelligent, independent women who are forces to be reckoned with. And I’m grateful for their love and support over the years and for their personal example, as each has had to deal with seemingly insurmountable challenges and tragedy in their own lives and they have done so with dignity, grace and intense, strong will and they have been excellent role Miles for me as well. And for that I’m grateful now as the chairman highlighted none, I promise all you, none of what I have accomplished Over the last 30 years of my career. In fact, my entire career would not have been possible without the love of my life by my side. If you know the Abrams family, you also know that Connie Abrahams is the strength of the Abrams family, the single best decision I ever made was asking Connie to marry me. She has been the rock Of our family through 30 years, 18 moves and countless separations. She’s been too far too many memorial services for any one person’s lifetime. She’s cared for our wounded as a volunteer in our hospitals. She’s provided comfort to our gold star families. She’s volunteered tens of thousands of hours in a variety of organizations that support soldiers and families as well. Has been a role model and a friend to every single person in every unit we’ve ever been in. She’s in Arlington Lady and is proudly carrying on a tradition started by her mother in 1973, Kanye stood graveside at countless burials at Arlington National Cemetery to represent the army family on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the army. She’s been incredible mother to our two kids and proud supporter of her soldier join me in a round of applause for Connie. Yeah, yeah. Our two kids have been through it all and we are so proud of how they grew to be strong, resilient, independent adults with integrity and character. Thanks to both of you for all your 11th with me and mom as we dragged you across the country for another PCS and for rob it was twice in two different, in the middle of two different school years and for supporting mom during deployments and frequent absences. We love you as a general officer I’ve had a number of AIDS executive officers, special assistance and executive assistance. This is a group of very special people, all certified superstars in their own field. And when it works right, these people become part of our family because they become deeply entwined with just about everything that we do And for the last 14 years of being a general officer, I think I’ve spent more time with my front office than with Connie. Now that’s not something I’m proud of. But it’s a fact. A number of this special group made it here today to help celebrate my retirement. Connie and I are thankful for their attendance but more thankful for all they did to support us over many years to of this group deserves special recognition as they serve with us the longest at six consecutive years. First my executive assistant Mr. David Lamb, Lynn and my enlisted a disarmed first class john smart. Both started with us and forced come in August of 2015. Both volunteered to go with us to Korea and stayed with us to the very end. These two gentlemen are unbelievably well respected professionals who are integral to everything we did for the last six years and I could not have survived. Neither one of us could have survived without them. So thanks to both of you and your spouses who support you, my best friend in high school and his wife are here today. We got reconnected when we’re at fort Irwin and they lived in Burbank California. We’ve kept in touch over the years and we are thankful that they could join us today. And for those of you who are looking for some stories on me from my youth, he’s the guy. I’ve had a lot of mentors and role models in my career. The list is long. Some, you know, some, you probably don’t names like J. W Thurman john birch, randy house, bob cone the 67th Colonel Marty Dempsey, David McKiernan joe Peterson, Pete Chiarelli, Honda Campbell, J. D Thurman joe Dunford Secretary Hagel. All of them have had a hand in shaping me to be the leader I became and I’m thankful for the support and leadership. I’m also thankful and fortunate that none of them were zero defect leaders. If they have been, I definitely would not be here today. Many of them underwrote my errors and mistakes, chewed me out appropriately picked me up and put me back to work 39 years, three months, 5 days. That’s what it says on my D D 2 14 on seven July 1978 me and 1400 or so. My soon to be closest friends stood on the plain at West Point sworn oath four years later, 863 of us graduated the select view. You got to do better than that. I’m never gonna hear the end of it. General Milley in particular. I think there’s at least 14 classmates from my cadet company, The G two Gators. What’s new? We’re not for them. I am certain I would not have graduated from West Point and even had a chance for standing here today. You guys are awesome. Thanks for being here. Now. Before I continue, I need to make something clear to everyone. In my last assignment I was a joint commander and I’ve served as a joint commander previously in combat. I’m on the record. I love the United States Air Force. We never, ever go to war without the Air Force. I’ve been the personal beneficiary of close air support from a tens F 16 and a C 1 30 gunships in combat. I’ve seen their courage firsthand to include watching an 8 10 fly into the teeth of the rocky defenses in February of 1991 In return 45 minutes later with all ordnance expended and the aircraft was shot up and pieces were falling off. I love the United States Marine Corps. I’ve served with marines and I’ve had marines on my flank in combat and there is no greater comfort than knowing that the marines have your back semper fi and I love the U. S. Navy. I have commanded navy seals in combat. I’ve witnessed their courage and valor firsthand as well as head the mighty Seventh Fleet worked for me in Korea. There is no finer navy in the world. But today today I’m a soldier and I’m going to talk about my experience in our army. I’ve had the distinct privilege and honor to serve across the globe in peace and war alongside the best America has to offer the American soldier. They come from all across America, every race, color, religion, gender, gender orientation and from a diverse number of countries of origin. They joined for a whole host of reasons. They all swear an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They are smart, adaptive, hardworking, fearless and to face the toughest conditions imaginable the strength of our army as our soldiers. It’s been that way since the beginning and it remains that way. Today the 26 Chief of staff of the army was fond of reminding audiences that soldiers are not in the army, soldiers are the army and the 40th chief of staff of the army has been wise to remind us all that his leaders, we must put people first. There’s a young sergeant here today who exemplifies the quality of soldiers we have in the army. Her parents emigrated to the United States from Korea. She grew up in queens, got her bachelor’s degree and decided to join the army to serve her country. She was assigned to Korea as a repair parts specialists initially and ultimately became my command driver. It’s a long story while serving as my driver. This sergeant decided to pursue her dream to be a doctor. So she applied and was selected over thousands of other soldier applicants for a fully undergrad. Hey joy capacity to complete her premed requirements and then she’ll go to medical school in a few years. We’ll be calling her doctor. That is the quality of the soldiers. I’ve had the privilege to serve with the strength of our soldiers. Our families are families frequently carry the heaviest rucksack and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid and I want to specifically highlight and recognize our Gold Star families. While many of us have been to too many memorial and ramp ceremonies, nothing we felt can compared to the loss of a family member. Our Gold Star families are an amazing group who have suffered the unthinkable loss of their loved one there soldier and that they persevere live on honoring the sacrifice of their loved one. I’ve represented the chief and the second army. It’s 16 funerals for fallen soldiers and I have addressed many gold star family groups. They’re soldiers served and fought for their buddies and their unit and every single gold Star family I have met universally are proud of their soldiers. Service and show should all of us The army today is much different and better than the one I joined in 1982. But there’s a couple of constants in every assignment. I’ve had one, every soldier has a sergeant and deserves a good one. I’ve been blessed throughout my career with the finest sergeants. First sergeant in command. Sergeant major as my sergeant. I’ve been on great teams. My entire career dream team’s best of the best and most importantly, I have never served in a zero defect organization. 3rd, I’ve served with incredible people. I’ve served in units where uncommon valor was common. People were selfless, courageous, committed to our mission and their teammates. They were compassionate and at the same time incredibly disciplined in the face of undaunted challenges. I’ve served with people who are driven to be the prince. I served with people who made the impossible possible. And lastly, in every assignment, there are plenty of challenges and opportunities. And what was constant was that leadership matters and that character matters. I served in units for speaking truth to power was not only encouraged, it was expected and I served in units and with leaders where we did the right thing. The harder, right and not the expeditious or easy thing. It’s my bio states. I started out in 3 12 calves. Third Army divisions, Cavalry Squadron. My first troop commander was a guy named joe Barto. He was no nonsense establish high standards and enforce them and he could chew some rear end and probably most importantly, joe believed in developing leaders and especially lieutenants. Shortly after arrived Job Arto and first Sergeant Harold jones assigned staff Sergeant. Tibbs is my platoon. Sergeant. Tibbs was the junior staff sergeant are calvary troop with a whopping nine months’ time and grade. But he was the best we had in the troupe and he had fire in his belly. He embraced the Encino creed and he taught me the true power of our army is in R N. C. O Corps. Now, as hard as joe Barto was, I’m particularly thankful he was also willing to underwrite mistakes. As one day during the Forger 1983, Staff Sergeant Tibbs through track on his tank in the middle of an off limits German force preserve that. I had maneuvered the platoon through That ladies and gentlemen, as I look back, 39 years was the single best but chewing I ever received was from Joe Barto that day. But joe stood up for us with the squadron commander at the time who was ready to fire both me and Tibbs and our second squad commander was JW Thurman, a living legend in the armored calvary community. The Distinguished Service cross Awardee in Vietnam, a war fighter without peer who inspired intense loyalty from his troops. Jw was a firm believer in working hard and playing harder. Our squadrons officers were banned from three different officers clubs in Germany after some beer calls that got a little rowdy. Those were my formative years As a captain. I was in one, a cab 1st carrier division. I was fortunate to be there 55 months including deploying the desert storm. Our battalion commander during desert storm was Lieutenant Colonel. John birch. another Vietnam vet who got selected to command on his third try, john birch was soft spoken and a man of the strongest faith. You could not find a starker contrast to jw Thurman but make no mistake. John Burton knew how to build and lead teams and he knew how to fight. John Burt saw in me what I didn’t see for myself. But more importantly, he taught us all by his personal example, the meaning of humility and a senior leader. And I was blessed with more great sergeants and first sergeant chuck Webb, Don Malindi and Jeff Ross. I was a major in the 3rd cab at Fort Bliss. My squadron commander and regimental commander were relieved of duties 65 days after I arrived while the regiment was full of superstars and both officers and N. C. O. S. The regimental commander at the time was the definition of an abusive leader in tyrant. I learned firsthand the devastating impact that a toxic commander can have on a unit morale was low when I arrived and it only got worse. Bob Wilson assumed command of the regiment. 10 days after the relief And the next day flew to the national training 7 to start the regiment’s rotation. The following day, it was like someone had flipped the light switch and the regimen immediately bounced back and had a great rotation, Bob Wilson and later the 67 Col Marty Dempsey. They showed us what right looks like when it comes to leading high performing outfits. That dream team produced a dozen general officers, including several three and four stars along with the future trade command sergeant major, john sparks in the future Sergeant major of the army and Ray Chandler and for me I was blessed with Sergeant major, ken, sales call sign Tiger Grumpy and Sergeant Major Sam Osborne the regimental. I’ve started major Who in 39 years by far the single best absorbed major I ever served with who was like having another field grade officer in the talk because I look back across my career, there are probably three things I’m most proud of and one of them is our time in 18 cabins, mustang six that was a dream team for the ages. We were not good at everything but we cannot shoot out maneuvering out maintain and how PT anybody and we invested in developing leaders and believe in coaching and teaching and we held each other accountable. Ngos were the backbone of our formation. They lead by example and four standards and they took pride in being their soldiers. Sergeant, we worked hard, we played hard and we underwrote mistakes, especially with lieutenants and our young N. C. O. S and soldiers. President today’s ceremony are a few eyewitnesses to the mustang day of infamy. They’re getting nervous right now joe Peterson reminded us frequently that the human form learns to ways repetition and significant emotional event. The mustang day of infamy was a significant emotional event but we all learn from it and we got better and from those two years, three of the company commanders are serving general officers today And one is a former brigade commander who retired as a Colonel. 19 of those lieutenants later became centrally selected lieutenant colonel. Battalion commanders and four of those lieutenants are serving or former brigade commanders and countless NGOs and soldiers became first sergeants and there are four command sergeant majors, all produced Out of one out during that time period. I was blessed with Sergeant major Juan Garcia and later with Sergeant major Toby Chandler who are right by my side the entire time no one was more surprised than me to return to fort Hood again for a third time to command the Ironhorse brigade first brigade, first calf. When experts accuse the army of not being Angela adaptive, I can say with certainty that is not the army. I’ve been in telling the most modernized armored brigade in the army To deploy the Operation Iraqi freedom in seven months but take only a handful of your armored vehicles reorganize your entire formation and make everyone else motorized infantry And when you get there conduct stability and counter insurgency operations in a highly dense urban environment of 3.5 million disenfranchised people and we’ll get your armored trucks sometime after you get there. I watched our unit make the impossible happen and this was improvisation and adaptation and at times, sheer brute force and ignorance by the finest group of warriors I have ever been associated with, some of whom are here today. And I was just playing lucky to have commands are major stand small as our brigade sergeant major and my sergeant stand may have been small and name, but he was a big man who earned the respect of every trooper in the formation for his leadership, grit and determination. There are countless similar examples across the first cavalry division and the army at the exact same time and ever since. For us in the iron horse, the numbers 404, have significant meaning some people know it as black Sunday for us. It was a day of reckoning. Would we crumble or would we come back stronger, more determined and more focus to accomplish our mission and ensure that we returned home with as many troopers as possible because of the leaders and troopers of that brigade combat team. The people, we persevered and overcame every obstacle and delivered. It wasn’t the equipment or the technology, although some of it helped. It was the courage and determination of the American soldier. Countless N. C. O. S. Soldiers and officers who were wounded refused to leave theater refused to leave their unit so they could remain with their buddies and continue fighting. There’s a black granite wall on cooper field in front of the first cavalry division headquarters that has the name of 35 of our teammates who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their names and the names of the 455 others in our brigade who are wounded that year will be ever etched in our hearts that ladies and gentlemen, that’s the army I had the privilege to serve in. And oh, the first calf team of brigade commanders that we were under compete with Pete Chiarelli to future Chiefs of Staff of the Army. A future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the future Army futures command Commander, a future first Corps Commander of future D. C. G. Of three. Core, A future Tier two SCS and me. That was a good team. I was lucky to command the 3rd Infantry Division. The rock of the Morn in Fort Stewart. The brain three main parade field. They’re surrounded by a living memorial aptly name. Warriors walk where today 486 white blooming crape myrtles. One for every dogface soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice since 2000 and three are carefully planted in rows. It is hallowed ground again. Luck was mine. His command. Sergeant Major. Ed Watson was the division Sergeant Major and he was my sergeant. Ed was a long time. three eyed soldier. He was a mountain of a man who spoke loud, carried a big stick had ensured every single soldier understood the march standard and R. N. C. O. S. Were the best sergeants for their soldiers. We had an incredible team of leaders and soldiers today. Are there in that unit. Some are here today. Not fancy just tough was our unofficial motto. As the chairman said, we ended up deploying to Afghanistan has combined joint task force three and R. C. South. We were blessed with amazing allies and partners during our year there we had several seriously wounded when I visited him at the combat support hospital immediately after they came out of surgery to the man. The first thing they asked when they came out of anesthesia was how are my buddies did so and so make it, how is so and so and then they would pledge to be back as soon as they were able, that is the army. I had the privilege discernment. Now let me give you all of you need to get this heads up. At the end of the ceremony, the band’s gonna play a musical tribute. I asked that they not play the traditional old anxiety and instead they will play the dog face soldiers song. If you don’t know the words, get your phone out, you can google it right now and be ready to stand and sing with us. When the time comes There are former three eyed soldiers in every section who will lead you. I’m looking at you lee Quintus and Jim rainy. Both former Martin 6es need to be leading from the front opportunities come in many ways. While I was still in Afghanistan, I was told to report to the pentagon to interview with Sec def chuck Hagel to be a senior military system. I had to google what that position was all about. I didn’t have an idea. I did honestly. I still didn’t know what I was getting into and I’m not entirely sure his secretary Hagel knew what he was getting when he selected me. I learned more in 19 months about how D. C. Really works and how to get things done from Secretary Hagel than any formal education education could ever teach. And I was fortunate to work side by side with an all-star team of amazing selfless and dedicated civilians, some of whom made it here today, who worked tirelessly as a team and supported the secretary in leading the department. I was privileged commands. The army’s largest formation Forces command for a little over three years. What an amazing team of soldiers and civilians And I got to see the Army Army truly become one army and not three separate components. As I witnessed firsthand our citizen soldiers of the Army, National Guard and U. S. Army Reserve become more operationally capable and ready to respond to operational requirements and homeland disasters. And by my side was commands are major Scott Schroeder and then command Sergeant. Major Tony Greenstone. Our current so our Major of the Army. No one and I’m telling you, no one is more professional then those do not commissioned officers. And we are so fortunate to have Tony Greenstone as our star major of the army Readiness was our number one priority. And we put our money where our mouth was in those three years for school readiness improved its unit top level readiness rating 500%. And that’s a testament to the commitment and dedication of the entire command that is the army. I had the privilege to serve in The professional honor of my life was to be the commander of United Nations command, combined forces, command and US Forces Korea for 32 months now. Think about this five secretaries of defense, two US Presidents to US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Republic of Korea, Ministers of National Defense to Rock. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and three CFC four star deputy commanders later and I was still standing together with command start Major Tag U. S. Forces Korea Iraq military re maintained a training combat ready force that is a credible deterrent to prevent the restart of hostilities on the Korean peninsula. While keeping the door open for diplomacy that can ultimately lead to north Korea’s denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean peninsula. We prided ourselves and knowing that 51 million South Korean citizens slept well at night because they trusted that we were ready to defend them against any adversary And we did it all while being at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. We got asked frequently about how we were able to be so successful in keeping Covid out of our formations. And the answer, we had a dream team in Korea, not just our USfk surgeon who happened to be one of the army’s top infectious disease doctors, but the entire USFK team, including our amazing families and civilians. They all pulled together and committed to following our core tenants. They made the sacrifices, they demonstrated true resilience. Our mantra was to protect the force to protect the mission and even our Children bought in Not one positive case in all of God’s Korea schools for academic year 2020 2021 that is the army and Joint Force. I’ve been privileged to serve in Connie and I made lifelong Korean friends during our time in Korea. Some are watching this ceremony by livestream even though When the ceremony started, it was 0430 2 4. So to them I say. And yeah, Shamika Johnny Jimmy we left there with great fondness for the of the Korean people and their culture and we hope to return in the future. I want to give a special shout out to command start major tag and Caroline for their lifetime of service and sacrifice. Tag was my last sergeant in the army and I can’t think of a finer N. C. O to serve my final days in uniform with as candy and I prepared next chapter. We want to thank all of you for being in our lives. We have made lifelong friends in our journey. It’s always been about the people for us and we are grateful that you have allowed us to become part of your families and for those still serving will be cheering you from the sidelines. We wish you all the very very best and godspeed thank you. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Oh okay. Mhm. Yeah. Well no last time. Mhm mm. Right yeah ladies and gentlemen please stand for the army song. Mhm. Uh huh. Mhm. Uh huh. Sir. Oh ready who? Thanks four oh four where more ladies and gentlemen taking the floor before you are soldiers from the commander in chief’s guard along with their historic cannons please feel free to move down to the floor and join them for a photo opportunity at your leisure. General and Mrs. Abrams invites you to join them for retirement party at seven p.m. At the Arlington rooftop bar and grill the dress is casual. The United States Army is honored to have presented today’s special ceremony. Please join General Abrams and his family on the floor for his receiving line

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