Department of Defense officials unveil portrait of former Secretary of Defense > Department of Defense > Department of Defense news

0

Defense leaders unveiled a portrait of former Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T Esper.

The portrait is said to hang alongside those of dozens of other defense secretaries on the walls of the Pentagon’s E ring.

Esper was the 27th Secretary of Defense and took office in July 2019. As secretary, he guided the department through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the Space Force and a refocus on strategic competition, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said.

“You have guided DOD through the scary early months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Austin said. “It was a time of terror, uncertainty and terrible loss. Still, thousands of DOD employees helped bring much-needed supplies and care to Americans across the country.”


Secretary Esper, thank you for your service at a time of great uncertainty and challenge. Thank you for your love for this great institution. Thank you for your profound care for this department and the people in this department, and thank you for this capstone and long life of service.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

During that time, the department Esper led also worked with other government agencies and the private sector to increase domestic production of COVID-19 tests, protective gear and the COVID-19 vaccines that have since saved countless lives, Austin said.

“They have also worked to focus this department’s attention and resources on China — an effort we continue as we speak,” Austin said. “They have pushed for rebalancing our stances around the world, including preparing to compete with other major powers. And you’ve worked hard to modernize our military and improve its lethality and operational readiness.”

Like Austin, Esper has focused on caring for service members and their families, Austin said.

“I know you are particularly proud of your efforts to improve the quality of life for our soldiers and their families,” he said. “They have worked to improve military salaries and benefits, improve on-base housing, provide greater career flexibility for military members with families, and more. And that has touched the lives of thousands of men and women who have served.”

Esper thanked Austin and the many military officers, government civilians, and other cabinet secretaries who had worked for and with him during his tenure as Secretary of Defense.

“Dr. Seuss once said, ‘Life is just a grand journey. It’s a road we travel as we go from point A to point B, taking steps in the dark and blindly walking through life, they are the people who matter.’ Thank you for joining me on my journey,” Esper told attendees at the event.

Esper, who also served as the 27th Secretary of the Army, graduated from the US Military Academy in 1986 and received his service in the infantry.

After completing Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and fought in the 1990-91 Gulf War with the Screaming Eagles. He later commanded a rifle company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

The former Secretary of Defense is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. His many military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia and Combat Infantryman Badge.

“Secretary Esper, thank you for your service at a time of great uncertainty and challenge,” Austin said. “Thank you for your love for this great institution. Thank you for your profound caring for this department and the people in this department, and thank you for this capstone and long life of service.”

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.