Wars fought by ground troops, new Army chief says

| August 21, 2015 | 0 Comments
Newly sworn in Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley addresses attendees at the Army change of responsibility ceremony on Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, Aug. 14. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)

Newly sworn in Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley addresses attendees at the Army change of responsibility ceremony on
Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, Aug. 14. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)

Todd Lopez, Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Continued freedom in America requires a continued commitment to maintaining strong, equipped, well-led and well-trained ground forces, said the Army’s 39th Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley.

“There are many who think wars only can be won from great distances – from space, the air, the sea. Unfortunately, those views are very, very wrong,” Milley said.

Milley spoke immediately following his oath as the new chief, assuming responsibilities from Gen. Ray Odierno, who retired during the same ceremony, Aug. 14, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

“War is an act of politics, where one side tries to impose its political will on the other,” Milley said, “and politics is all about people, and people live on the ground. We may wish it were otherwise, but it is not. Wars are ultimately decided on the ground where people live, and it is on the ground where the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Special Operations forces must never, ever fail.”

The general warned that flagging commitment to maintaining ground forces will have a devastating cost, in terms of lives and freedom.

“If we do not maintain our commitment to remain strong, in the air, on the sea and, yes, on the ground, we will pay the butcher’s bill in blood, and we will forever lose the precious gift of our freedom,” he said. “As your chief of staff, I will ensure we remain ready as the world’s premier combat force. Readiness to fight and win; ground combat is and will remain the U.S. Army’s No. 1 priority. And there will be no other No. 1. We will always be ready to fight today, and we will always prepare to fight tomorrow.”

Milley most recently served as commander of U.S. Army Forces Command on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before replacing Odierno, who served as chief of staff for nearly four years and retired after having served 39 years in the Army.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army  (Photo by Monica King)

Gen. Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army (Photo by Monica King)

New chief of staff

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told those at the change of responsibility ceremony that he has great confidence in Milley’s ability to lead the Army into an uncertain future.

“He’s the right officer to lead the Army over the next four years, to shape our force, to continue restoring its readiness, to get there quickly and to win – as our nation expects of its Army. Mark is a leader, a warrior and a statesman,” Carter said.

The secretary said he has had personal visibility of Milley’s command ability. In 2013, he said, the two were together on the day that Taliban fighters attacked the U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan.

“As we flew there, I saw him take decisive command of the scene,” Carter said. “In addition to decades of such operational experience, Mark clearly also has the strategic vision needed to build on what Ray started. I have confidence; I know he’ll succeed because he carries that same unyielding commitment to Army, to Soldier, and to family.”

Milley’s new boss, McHugh, said he’s seen Milley lead Soldiers both at home and overseas, as well as at FORSCOM.

“At all times he’s lead with distinction, in both war and peace,” McHugh said. “He’s a remarkable leader, and I’m confident he’ll be an exceptional chief of staff of the Army and member of the Joint Chiefs.”

Dempsey said that going forward, the Army will be smaller and different than what it has been in the past. But the Army will still do what the nation asks it to do, and to do that, Soldiers must be well-trained, well-led and well-equipped.

“You are an inspired choice to lead our Army into the future, and you are going to be terrific,” Dempsey said.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Army News Service, Change of command, Leadership, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *