RETIREMENT OF MG ARNOLD PUNARO
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I was privileged to attend the retirement ceremony of MG Arnold Punaro from the U.S.
Marine Corps on September 19, 2003 at the Marine Barracks here in Washington, DC. General Punaro is known to many here in the Senate from his outstanding service of many years as staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee and on the personal staff of Senator Sam Nunn. I ask unanimous consent that there be printed in the RECORD, at this point, portions of the remarks made at the ceremony by Gen. James L. Jones, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
REMARKS OF GENERAL JAMES L. JONES, SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, EUROPE AND COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
The real reason we are all here is to pay honor to a true patriot who has given so much of his time and talent to our Nation, and to each of us . . . Major General Arnold Punaro, United States Marine.
We also honor an exceptional family, which has supported him through his life in the "public sector' of Capitol Hill and in his career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jan Punaro stands in no shadow among spouses who deserve our eternal gratitude. Her support to Arnold, through his "many" simultaneous careers, has been remarkable.
Arnold has been a marine since 1968, a personal staff member for Senator Sam Nunn for 24 years, a minority and majority staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee for a total of 15 years, a member of Georgetown University's adjunct faculty for ten years, and a most valuable "utility infielder" of the Department of Defense on a wide range of issues all having to do with transformation, long before the term itself became popular.
As a marine, Arnold Punaro has literally "done it all" . . . Republic of Vietnam combat leader, wounded and decorated, the
Marine Corps basic school "staff protocol officer." Upon leaving active duty, he went into the reserves where he saw active duty in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and in the Balkans where he battled the largest snow storm ever to hit Zagreb.
He has participated in the Marine Corps transformation starting back in 1995 until today. In 1997 he chaired the "Defense Reform Task Force" for Secretary Cohen and produced a document that remains very current. He also participated in the Hart-Rudman Commission, and currently serves on the Secretary of Defense's newly formed Defense Business Board.
In the public sector, Arnold Punaro started his post-active duty life working for Senator Sam Nunn, rapidly rising from press secretary to foreign policy/national security legislative assistant on the Senator's personal staff, before moving to the
Senate Armed Services Committee and its leadership positions as Director for both the Minority and the Majority. The legislation produced during his time on the committee was both historic and transformational. Let's be clear . . . where we are today in our military has a lot to do with the fact that Arnold Punaro was where he was in a very important time for each of our services, starting with the all-volunteer force and Goldwater-Nickles legislation.
Arnold Punaro is currently serving as the Director of Reserve Affairs at Headquarters Marine Corps. He has been instrumental in bringing the "Marine for Life Program" to fruition in these past few years, for which I am sincerely grateful.
Marines now can have a lifelong association with the Corps regardless of their career pursuits. Always a passionate advocate, Arnold Punaro's well known compassion for the lives of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines and their families defines him in all that he is and cared about.
As an adjunct professor (with one bachelor of science and two masters of arts) at my alma mater, Georgetown University, for over ten years he helped mold and shape the minds of our future leaders on national security issues.
For all he has done in his short life, Arnold Punaro has always found time for his family . . . the son of Angelo and Anina Punaro, first generation Italian-Americans from southern Italy, who watched with great admiration as young Arnold grew into manhood and became a United States Marine, going off to war in 1967.
His company commander in Vietnam, COL Jim Van Riper, and his wife Connie, are here today to pay tribute to this great American, and we welcome them back to this post where they served with distinction in the early 70's. We're all proud of Arnold and Jan and their children, especially as we celebrate the safe return of 1LT Joe Punaro, USMC from Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served at the front of Marine lines in the capture of Baghdad. Joe . . . welcome home, we're all very proud of you and your Marines.
Arnold, it is a special honor for me to be able to be here today. We've known each other for 24 years, and for 24 years I've been privileged to have a front row seat which has allowed me to witness your very significant contributions to our Nation, both in and out of uniform. Very simply, you have been and remain today a special asset, and people who make the big decisions, who need the really good advice, the thoughtful consideration on difficult issues, turn to you knowing that you will always give straightforward, thoughtful, and forthright advice. In this respect, you are in a class by yourself.
You stand here today, in our eyes, as a great Marine. The Corps has benefitted from your wise advice for many years, through both good times and bad times, and we are all the better for all you have contributed. You represent the finest example of the concept of the citizen-soldier by your selflessness and your dedication to, simply, but relentlessly, trying to do the right thing . . . regardless of the difficulty or the popularity (or lack thereof) of a given position.
All of us known full well why we are here today, and it is simply for this reason, to honor you, Jan, and your family; to say thank you for all you have done for all of us; and to wish you well in all you will do from here on out. There is still much more to be done.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, "semper fidelis" means "always faithful." Those words seem awfully appropriate today as we honor Major General Arnold Punaro.
Well done, my friend, well done!