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Hearing of the Senate Committee on Armed Services - Department of Defense Nominations


Location: Washington, DC


I'll ask to place my statement in the record. You covered very accurately and carefully the distinguished biographical records of each of these nominees.

And I'm so pleased to see that they're joined by a number of members of their family this morning. Even though they have served in the Department of Defense for some period of time, I have always thought that at this hearing I would tell the families that their respective spouses should be home by 8:00, as every decision made in the Pentagon after 8:00 is usually changed the next day. And having spent many years in that building myself, I tell you, I look back on it as probably one of the most exciting and challenging chapters of my life.

And I thank you for the service to not only the men and women in uniform, but directly and indirectly to their families. Today's military is very much of a family affair. And we would ever be mindful of their needs and their concerns, especially when their loved ones are sent on missions abroad.

I will have to leave here shortly, which I rarely do, but in this case it's an important meeting for me.

I join my colleague from Virginia, Senator Webb, and we're discussing the new GI Bill, which optimistically will be passed by the United States Senate this afternoon and on its way with the House bill to the president for signature.

I was the -- I say with a great sense of humor -- the recipient of two GI Bills in my career for different reasons and wouldn't be sitting in this chair today had it not been for what our nation did to me and millions of others as they came back from their period in uniform, to regain a place in civilian community and trying to acquire the education to do their jobs. So you'll hopefully forgive me for that.

But I wish each of you well. Again, I look back on my period there as one of the most exciting in my life. I often tell the story, was an old fellow there -- this is 1969 -- who wore a green eye-shade. And he'd actually come there with Jim Forrestal, and he was in the comptroller's office. And we all liked him. He used to wander around the hall and kibitz with us about the good ol' days, as he said in those days. And he said, "You know, you better always remember you got a front row seat on the greatest and most important show on earth." And that you have, because it is the men and women in uniform and their families that are the guardians of the freedoms we have today. And I know each of you in your respective responsibilities will ensure that they can do that as best they can.


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