Skip to comments.General Peter J. Schoomaker, 35TH CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMY, Arrival Message
Posted on 09/10/2003 8:45:41 AM PDT by D. Brian Carter
This afternoon I stood in the office of the Secretary of the Army and was sworn in as the 35th Chief of Staff of the Army. Thirty-four other distinguished leaders have preceded me -- well-known stewards of our Army. It is a great honor to walk in their footsteps.
Twenty-three years ago I stood in another place -- in the Iranian desert on a moonlit night at a place called Desert One. I keep a photo of the carnage that night to remind me that we should never confuse enthusiasm with capability. Eight of my comrades lost their lives. Those of us who survived knew grief ... we knew failure but we committed ourselves to a different future.
There were some important things we did not know about the future that night. We did not recognize that this was a watershed event that the military services would begin a great period of renewal that continues to this day. We did not know that we were at the start of an unprecedented movement to jointness in every aspect of our military culture, structure, and operations a movement that must continue. We also did not realize that we were in one of the opening engagements of this countrys long struggle against terrorism a struggle that would reach our homeland and become known as the Global War on Terror.
Today, our Nation is at war and we are a critical part of the joint team -- an Army at war. This is not a new war. Our enemies have been waging it for some time, and it will continue for the foreseeable future. As the President has stated, This is a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy. It is a war we must win, a war for our very way of life.
War is both a physical reality and a state of mind. War is ambiguous, uncertain, and unfair. When we are at war, we must think and act differently. We become more flexible and more adaptable. We must anticipate the ultimate reality check combat. We must win both the war and the peace. We must be prepared to question everything. What is best for the Nation? What must endure? What must change?
This war has demonstrated that our Soldiers, civilians, and families are up to the task. It has also provided new insights into the current operating environment. Can we sustain our high performance with our current methods of preparation? Can our Combat Training Centers better reflect the joint context in which we will fight? Are we organized for the long haul? We must answer these questions and more. We need to be mindful that the world has changed and it will never return to what we knew before. As my great friend, Dick Meadows, always said, The Army aint like it used to be and it never was.
Sustained engagement of our Army will be the norm, not the exception. How do we man the Army in a way that provides cohesive, high performing units in this reality of continuous engagement?
Our recent combat operations reinforce the requirements for units and echelons that are flexible and tailorable. Can we balance our force structure and develop increased modularity so as to enhance our critical role in effective joint contingency operations while maintaining our campaign qualities?
We have already shown that we have innovative and adaptive leaders. But our enemies are adapting as well. Will our development programs continue to produce leaders who can meet this challenge?
Leadership and courage are easily recognized as prerequisites at the tactical level, but they are essential at the operational and strategic levels as well. Are we developing the George C. Marshalls for the new era?
The National Guard and Army Reserve are indispensable, full members of the team. Do we have the proper mix of both active and reserve units? Are we properly balanced? Is all of our structure readily accessible to meet the requirements of this and future wars?
As we transform the Army from the current force to the future force we must ask these questions and more. While some things will change, others will not.
The American Soldier remains indispensable. Our Soldiers are paramount and will remain the centerpiece of our thinking, our systems, and our combat formations. As General Creighton Abrams taught us, People are not in the Army, they are the Army.
We are, have been, and will remain a values based institution. Our values will not change and they are non-negotiable. Our Soldiers are Warriors of character. They exemplify these values every day and are the epitome of our American spirit. They are the heart of the Army.
As long as the United States Army has existed we have transformed and we always will. For four years under General Shinseki our Army has asked hard questions and made tough choices. We will continue to go where the answers to those questions take us. Our azimuth to the future is good. The Army must remain relevant and ready.
Our Army has much to be proud of. It is the preeminent land force in the world and continues to be respected by our friends... and feared by our enemies. We set the standard. We were part of the joint team that defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan and took down a brutal regime in Iraq. Today we are deployed and conducting contingency operations at an unprecedented pace. Our Soldiers, civilians, and their families set the standard every day for selfless service.
The Army continues to serve our great Nation well and faithfully as it has in the past. For more than 228 years, the Army has never failed the American people, and it never will.
As an American Soldier, I have never left your ranks; but it is a great privilege to wear our uniform once again.
Alot of it is your standard banter, but there are a few pretty good passages to consider in this message.