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John Shalikashvili Dies

July 24, 2011 by staff 

John Shalikashvili DiesJohn Shalikashvili Dies, Retired Army General John Shalikashvili, who was the first foreign-born President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to President Bill Clinton, died at a hospital in Washington State on Saturday. He was 75. Shalikashvili died at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday from complications of a stroke. A public memorial service will be held at the Tacoma Convention Center on August 6, followed by a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Born in Poland in 1936, Shalikashvili raised from a U.S. Army recruit the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served as president from 1993 until his retirement in 1997 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Bill Clinton.

“Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, General John Shalikashvili. He represented the U.S. at its best,” Clinton said in a statement. “An immigrant who entered the army as a recruit, who became an outstanding chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who supervised more than forty operations, including the liberation of Haiti, a brutal dictatorship and the first use of NATO’s force outside of its member countries in Bosnia. ”

Shalikashvili praised Clinton for his “strong case” for the Bosnian people who said they saved thousands of lives in Bosnia. “It was also a key advocate for the reduction of nuclear weapons, NATO expansion, creating a partnership for peace and, always, for men and women in uniform from whose ranks came out,” Clinton said. “I was honored to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

The former president said Shalikashvili will be remembered as a “general excellent and a wonderful man” who saw the world through some of the most critical moments of the late 20. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Joan and Brant,” Clinton said, referring to his wife Joan and his son Brant Shalikashvili.

President Barack Obama also spoke about the death of Shalikashvhili, calling him a “true soldier and statesman, whose extraordinary life from the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose their service.”

“Since its arrival in the United States at 16 years old Polish immigrants after the Second World War, a young man who learned English from John Wayne movies, his ascent to the highest ranks of our military, life Shali was “only in the history of America,” Obama said. “By any measure, that made our country safer and better.”

Obama Shalikashvili acknowledged for his work as president, during which the strengthening of U.S. alliances in Europe and Asia, and closer defense ties with Russia. “At the same time, he successfully oversaw military operations in Bosnia and Haiti and elsewhere. Above all, he fought tirelessly to improve the quality of life of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and their families, which serve to keep us safe, “the president said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said he received the news of the death Shalikashvili with a heavy heart. “John was a remarkable patriot who faithfully defended this country for four decades to the very top of the military profession,” said Panetta. “I lived the American dream, arriving from Europe with his family as a teenager after World War II, and dedicated his life to defending the country have quickly adopted him and his family.”

Panetta, who served as head of the White House when he was president Shalikashvili said he trusted him for his wise counsel and his great military experience. “I will always remember John as being a staunch supporter of the brave men and women in uniform stand guard over this nation,” said Panetta. “During my many years of public service, I have been privileged to serve with great leaders. John Shalikashvili was one of the best in this country.”

Current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, also mourned Shalikashvili. “We are a stronger, more capable military today because of their efforts to make us well. He will be sorely missed,” said Mullen.

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