"As we mark Father's Day this weekend, I'd like to convey my thanks and gratitude to the fathers and grandfathers in our military family. This is a time for all of us to recognize and show our appreciation to fathers for everything they do in bettering our military, securing our nation, helping to raise and nurture our families, and inspiring future generations of Americans to serve.
"To all fathers in uniform: thank you for your loyalty and dedication to our country, and for your willingness to balance the demands of military and family life. Over the past year as Secretary of Defense, I've had the opportunity to meet many of you deployed around the world. I've seen how you focus on the mission while enduring extended periods away from loved ones. Through it all, you've shown courage on the battlefield and tenderness to your families at home.
"To fathers and husbands of those who serve: we simply could not do our jobs without your love and support. It is never easy to deal with the challenges and concerns of a deployment, just as it is always hard to take care of everything back at home.
"To all of you, I join your families in saluting you and offering my most heartfelt thanks. You are true heroes in the eyes of your fellow citizens and most especially in the eyes of your children. We honor you as fathers and we will always be thankful for your leadership and your love of family, of service, and of America."