February 16, 2001

Farewell message to soldiers

By Louis Caldera
Secretary of the Army

It has been a tremendous honor to serve as your Secretary. President Bush will undoubtedly choose an outstanding individual to be the 18th Secretary of the Army, and I know you will support him or her as well as you have supported me.

As I come to the end of my tenure, I want to tell you how enormously proud I am of each and every one of you for the honorable and dedicated manner in which you serve our country each and every day.

As I look back on my two-and-a-half years as secretary, what I will remember most is the selflessness and professionalism of our soldiers, civilians, and families. Whatever our nation asked of you, you have always delivered more. Through all my travels - to Bosnia, Egypt, Kuwait, Kosovo, Germany, Korea, Greece, Turkey, Colombia or here at home across this great land of ours - I witnessed the dedication, enthusiasm, and spirit that binds the Army together as the one family upon which our nation will always be able to rely.

At every turn, you demonstrated through your service your commitment to securing peace for our nation and the blessings of peace and liberty for people throughout the world. Because of what you do, often under the most difficult of circumstances, America's Army is recognized around the world both as a land force without peer and as a team of goodwill ambassadors who represent the best the greatest nation on earth has to offer. There is no better testament to your abilities.

The same dedication you bring to the job, you bring to your families and loved ones. I know that you could not achieve all that you do without their steadfast love and support. Our nation is indebted to them for the sacrifices they make that allow you to do this noble and important work of keeping America strong, safe and secure. My special thanks to them for their service to our country.

The future of our Army in the 21st century is bright because of you. The values, leadership, judgment and talent you bring are the cornerstone of all we are and ever will be. You are the enablers who will achieve the Transformation of the Army that General Shinseki and I have charted to make a lighter, more lethal, and more mobile force a reality. Whatever challenges may emerge in the coming years, I am confident that we will always meet them successfully because of your selfless dedication and commitment to always be the best.

In closing, let me say once more how proud I am of you, how much I admire you, and how honored I am to have been associated with you as your Secretary. My wife Eva and I will miss being a daily part of America's Army, but we wish each of you continued success, and our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your families wherever you serve. God bless you, God bless our great Army family, and God bless America.

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