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Pomp and Circumstance to Mark End of Gates’ Era at Pentagon

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  • June 29, 2011
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Defense Secretary Robert Gates is getting quite a send-off this week in preparation for his retirement today from the Pentagon and public service. Farewell dinners hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday and the president and the first lady on Wednesday culminate with a formal armed forces farewell tribute outside the Pentagon Thursday.

The Pentagon event will include a 19-gun salute, but will not be a military change-of-command ceremony. Rather, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and President Obama, along with the defense secretary, will deliver remarks, reported Stars and Stripes. Gates will fly home Thursday afternoon to Washington state and relinquish the responsibilities of the office when his successor, CIA Director Leon Panetta, is sworn in during a private ceremony Friday.

After serving for four-and-a-half years at the helm of the Defense Department, Gates leaves behind a long list of accomplishments along with a bit of unfinished business. Along with steering DOD through a fiscal belt-tightening exercise, Panetta will need to wind down the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, reports American Forces Press Service.

Read a complete retrospective on Gates’ tenure at DOD on the department’s website.

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