[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 82 (Thursday, June 6, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1026-E1027]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, June 6, 1996

  Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, last weekend I had the privilege of again 
attending the commencement exercises at the U.S. Military Academy at 
West Point, just outside of my own congressional district.
  The commencement address this year, delivered by our Secretary of 
Defense, the Honorable William Perry, was an especially eloquent review 
of the grand traditions which have made our Military Academy the envy 
of the world.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to share the Secretary's cognizant and 
extremely relevant remarks with our colleagues by inserting them into 
the Congressional Record at this point:

   Commencement Remarks by Secretary of Defense William Perry, U.S. 
                      Military Academy, West Point

       In 1915, a young cadet known for his pranks and football 
     prowess was graduated from West Point. He was ranked 61st in 
     his class and was hoping for a respectable career as an Army 
     officer, perhaps even reaching the lofty rank of colonel. 
     This cadet never imagined that he would rise to the rank of 
     General of the Army, lead the largest combined military force 
     in history, become Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and 
     eventually become the President of the United States.
       That West Point graduate was, of course, Dwight Eisenhower. 
     He was one of America's greatest soldiers, but he was equally 
     famous as a statesman and a leader. You cadets may have some 
     difficulty relating to Eisenhower as a role model. It is not 
     likely that any of you will become President, and I hope that 
     none of you will have to lead our military in a world war. 
     But as you enter the Army today, you can expect a military 
     career more diverse and more challenging than Cadet 
     Eisenhower could ever have imagined in 1915.
       I will illustrate my point by describing the careers of a 
     handful of cadets who were graduated from West Point during 
     the Vietnam War, and who are now leaders in the US Army. They 
     were graduated one generation ahead of you. They believe in 
     and lived out the West Point motto: DUTY (all of them saw 
     combat in Vietnam)--HONOR (all of them proved their bravery 
     in Vietnam)--COUNTRY (all of them worked to rebuild the 
     morale and capability of the Army after Vietnam). Their hard 
     work and dedication was vindicated in the Army's stunning 
     victory in Desert Storm, and today they are creating a new 
     security structure for our Nation in the wake of the Cold 
       Like Eisenhower, they are building coalitions with nations 
     all over the globe. Like Eisenhower, they serve as role 
     models for other military leaders. And like Eisenhower, they 
     are first of all, warriors and leaders. But they have been 
     required to be more--they are also warrior-statesmen, 
     warrior-technologists and warrior-managers. And so will you 
       Before you toss your hats in the air and depart, let me 
     tell you about some of those cadets who tossed their hats in 
     the air 30 years ago. You will be required to deal with many 
     of the same challenges they dealt with, and you could find no 
     better role models.
       Whatever else is required of you in your Army career, you 
     will first of all need to be a warrior. And you could find no 
     better role model than Barry McCaffrey. Barry became one of 
     America's greatest warriors. He led forces into combat in 
     Vietnam, where he was grievously wounded. In Desert Storm, 
     General McCaffrey's 24th Infantry Division led the famous 
     left hook that caught the Iraqi army by surprise, and led 
     America to one of its most convincing battlefield victories 
     ever. He then went to SOUTHCOM at a crucial time and seized 
     the opportunities presented by the ascendancy of democracy in 
     our hemisphere. General McCaffery's attributes as a warrior--
     guts, brains, and tenacity--are key to success on today's 
     battlefield. Now he is putting those same skills to work 
     as a civilian, leading America's war against drugs.
       Besides being warriors, many of you will be called on to be 
     statesmen in the same mold as Eisenhower, Marshall and 
     MacArthur. You could find no better role model of a warrior-
     statesman than Wes Clark. Wes left West Point in 1966 a 
     Rhodes Scholar. He became a great warrior--but he has also 
     become a great statesman. General Clark was commanding an 
     Army division when we brought him to the Pentagon to help 
     bring an end to the tragedy in Bosnia. He was part of the 
     diplomatic team that was driving into Sarajevo last August on 
     the Mt. Igman road when an armored vehicle carrying five of 
     his colleagues slid off the treacherous road and fell into a 
     deep ravine. Wes left his vehicle, ran down the ravine and 
     pulled two survivors from the APC before it exploded. He then

[[Page E1027]]

     pulled himself together and went on to Sarajevo to conduct 
     what proved to be a critical negotiation with President 
     Izetbegovic. It was the warrior skills that Wes brought to 
     the diplomatic field that contributed to the cease fire 
     between the warring parties, and finally to a peace agreement 
     which was militarily enforceable. Because of the skills of 
     this warrior-statesman, the killing in Bosnia has stopped and 
     the threat of a wider war in Europe has been dramatically 
     reduced. This past week, Wes Clark was nominated by President 
     Clinton to take over the command of SOUTHCOM just 
     relinquished by Barry McCaffrey.
       During the Cold War, the U.S. had technological 
     superiority, which allowed us to maintain deterrence with 
     smaller forces than the Soviet Union. But during Desert 
     Storm, we had technological dominance, which allowed us to 
     achieve a stunning victory, quickly and with minimal 
     casualties. Now that we have experienced dominance we like 
     it. And we plan to keep it. Some of you will be warrior-
     technologists responsible for sustaining that dominance. You 
     may even end up reporting to Paul Kern, West Point '67, who 
     is currently my senior military assistant. Paul is what I 
     mean when I talk about a warrior-technologist. He was an 
     engineering instructor at West Point. And he was decorated 
     for combat both in Vietnam and Desert Storm. US News and 
     World Report called him the only ``ace'' of Desert Storm. His 
     tanks destroyed more than a dozen Iraqi aircraft that were 
     trying to take off from Jalibah Airfield to escape the 
     lightning thrust of the 24th Division's advance. This month, 
     General Kern will assume the role of warrior-technologist 
     when he takes command of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort 
     Hood. Under his leadership, the 4th ID will become the test-
     bed for the Army's Force XXI--the battlefield of the future. 
     The technologies he will test promise to revolutionize how we 
     fight on the ground and ensure that we remain the world's 
     dominant land force well into the next century.
       Today's Army, while smaller than in the recent past, is 
     still a corporate giant, so some of you will have to be 
     warrior-managers during your career. The regular Army, 
     National Guard and Army Reserves represent a giant personnel 
     and resource management challenge far greater than that faced 
     by any of our major industrial corporations. Investing wisely 
     in people, equipment and training, and balancing scarce 
     resources requires decisions that will affect the 
     capabilities of the Army for decades to come. When you leave 
     here today, you will be officers in an Army guided by a 
     warrior, Denny Reimer, West Point class of 1962, who is also 
     a superb manager. In 1990 Denny was the Deputy Chief of Staff 
     busily planning the post-Cold War drawdown of the Army, when 
     suddenly Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In the face of this 
     drawdown, Denny managed to provide the necessary forces for 
     Operation Desert Storm, while still maintaining the 
     quality and readiness of the U.S. Army.
       Because of the success of these efforts, the U.S. Army is 
     rightly recognized as the world's best Army. In fact, armies 
     all over the globe use the U.S. army as a model. So today, 
     when you become an officer in the U.S. Army, whether you want 
     to be or not, you will become a role model. A classic example 
     of this is Dan Christman, Class of '65, another warrior, who 
     returns to West Point this summer as the new Superintendent. 
     Just as General Graves has been a role model for every cadet 
     that passed through these gates the past five years, so too 
     will General Christman. Dan Christman is used to being a role 
     model because for four years he has served as a role model 
     for soldiers of the new democracies of the old Soviet bloc. 
     As Military Representative to NATO and on the Joint Staff, 
     General Christman has been a key architect of our efforts to 
     help show the militaries of these nations how to operate in a 
     democracy. He helped to create NATO's Partnership for Peace 
     program, in which old enemies that used to train to fight 
     against each other in war, now train together in peace. On 
     Monday, I will be at the L'viv training range in Ukraine, 
     along with the Russian, Ukrainian and Polish defense 
     ministers, participating in a Partnership peacekeeping 
     exercise. A primary benefit of these exercises is that 
     officers trained under the old Soviet system are exposed to 
     American officers and NCOs, and see first hand how a first 
     class military operates in a democracy.
       These multinational training exercises are excellent 
     training, because anytime you go into combat, you are likely 
     to be part of a coalition operation, and you will have to 
     build strong bonds with your foreign counterparts. George 
     Joulwan, Class of '61, has become an expert at building 
     strong bonds. It was General Joulwan as SACEUR, the Supreme 
     Allied Commander of Europe, who put together IFOR--the 
     multinational coalition that is helping bring peace in 
     Bosnia. He had to forge an alliance of 16 NATO nations plus 
     18 others, including nations from the former Warsaw Pact, and 
     even Russia. I can only imagine what General Eisenhower, the 
     first SACEUR, would think if he saw a Russian general sitting 
     with General Joulwan at NATO headquarters reviewing their 
     operational plan for deployment in Bosnia. I traveled all 
     over the world--Moscow, Geneva, Brussels, even Kansas--to 
     negotiate the Russian participation in IFOR with my Russian 
     counterpart, Pavel Grachev. But it would never have happened 
     if George Joulwan and General Shevtsov had not been able to 
     sit down and hammer out a practical military agreement, 
     warrior to warrior. General Joulwan's ability to put together 
     this historic coalition will not only give peace a chance to 
     endure in Bosnia, it will cast a long shadow over the 
     security in Europe for years to come.
       I have talked today about the diverse tasks being performed 
     every day by officers in the U.S. Army. But whatever you are 
     called on to do, you will be expected to be a leader--a 
     leader of the world's best soldiers. Leading the American 
     force in Bosnia is General Bill Nash, West Point Class of 
     1968. As commander of the 1st Armored Division, General Nash 
     will tell you that peacekeeping is a mission that every Army 
     officer must be prepared for. For decades, the 1st Armored 
     Division was trained and ready to fend off a Soviet assault 
     through the Fulda Gap. But in the summer of '95, when a 
     peacekeeping mission in Bosnia seemed imminent, General Nash 
     started up the first large-scale peacekeeping training 
     program in our Army's history. He set up a training range in 
     Germany which simulated all of the hazards our troops would 
     face in Bosnia: contending armies, paramilitary forces, bad 
     roads, mines, black marketers, and even CNN reporters. 
     Every unit slated to go to Bosnia was sent to train at 
     that range. The results were stunning. When D-Day arrived, 
     20,000 troops, their weapons and supplies were moved into 
     Bosnia. They were confronted with terrible winter weather, 
     they faced the possibility of armed resistance and the 
     reality of three million uncharted land mines. They made 
     this move in record time and with no casualties, and they 
     inspired respect everywhere they went.
       Ten days after General Nash started moving into Bosnia, I 
     went to Bosnia to visit our troops. General Shalikashvili, 
     General Joulwan, General Nash and I all went from Croatia 
     into Bosnia by walking across the pontoon bridge the Army's 
     combat engineers had just built over the Sava River. 
     Responsible for its construction was General Pat O'Neal, 
     who's here today to see his son, Scott, graduate. Building 
     that bridge turned out to be a problem of epic proportions. 
     General O'Neal's team ended up having to build the longest 
     pontoon bridge in history, because Bosnia was experiencing 
     the worst winter and the worst flooding of the century. As we 
     neared the middle of the bridge, we met some of the combat 
     engineers who had built it. They were dirty, cold, and 
     exhausted--but very proud. One of them, a sergeant first 
     class, came forward and told us that his enlistment was up, 
     and that he wanted to reenlist. So, we swore him in for 
     another 4 years in the U.S. Army, right there in the middle 
     of the Sava River bridge. After all he had been through--
     bitter cold, soaking rains, snow, flooding of biblical 
     proportions, the danger of land mines--this NCO still wanted 
     to reenlist. That is an example of ``true grit.'' That is the 
     sort of soldier you will soon lead.
       Well, I have told you today about some of the Army's 
     leaders who were cadets here just one generation ago. They 
     are leaving you one hell of a legacy. I have also told you 
     something about the talent and dedication of our NCO corps. 
     You can be proud to lead them, and you should follow General 
     Reimer's guidance about these great NCO's--that is, you 
     should ``give a damn.'' I think you can sense how proud I am 
     of the leaders and the NCO's in our Army today. I hope you 
     share my pride because you are about to become officers in 
     the best damned Army in the world. And your country is 
     counting on you to sustain its quality and morale.
       All of you have challenging careers to look forward to. 
     But, as you face the challenges of being a warrior, a 
     statesman, a technological innovator, a manager, a coalition 
     builder and a leader, you must never forget that you are more 
     than an Army officer, more than the sum of your service. You 
     are also private citizens, members of a community, a family, 
     an extension of your friends and loved ones. Maintain 
     perspective, strike a balance in your life, be considerate of 
     others, reserve a share of your heart for those you care 
     about and who care about you. They say a soldier fights on 
     his stomach--but a soldier also fights with his heart. The 
     hopes and prayers of your families, of all Americans, and of 
     freedom-loving people everywhere march with you.
       In the stairway outside my office at the Pentagon hangs a 
     favorite painting of mine. In the painting a young serviceman 
     is praying with his family just prior to his departure on a 
     foreign deployment. Under the painting is the passage from 
     Isaiah in which the Lord asks, ``Whom shall I send? And who 
     will go for us?'' And Isaiah responds, ``Here am I. Send 
       At this critical point in our history, your Nation has 
     asked, ``Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?'' And today 
     you have answered, ``Here am I. Send me.''
       Your Nation is grateful. Your families are thankful. And I 
     could not be prouder.