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Gen. Dempsey's remarks at the Veterans On Wall Street Symposium

By General Martin E. Dempsey

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY:  It’s always nice to be among a friendly audience.  (Laughter.)  No, you know what, actually, most people are friendly to the military because I think they recognize how important we are as part of the national fabric.  Not just what we do to suppress our enemies but who we are, what we represent.  You know, the values that we bring, not only when we serve but when you, when you come into organizations, you come, whether you do so blatantly or just inherently, but you with a set of values that I think are extraordinarily important, not just for Goldman Sachs or Deutsche Bank or CitiBank, but for the country.  And so it’s an honor to serve.  It’s a challenging time to serve. I’d actually be happier if the most important man in the country was Lloyd, actually – (laughter) – because that would mean that everything was kind of stable and we’re actually just trying to, you know, improve our GDP.

You know, sometimes he’s important, sometimes I’m important, right? 

Also want to thank Bob Woodruff.  We’d become friends, thankfully, with Bob and Lee and so much admire, not just what you do but who you are, the two of you.  So we’ll spend some time tonight with you, I’ll give Springsteen some singing lessons, and then I’ll go back to Washington, D.C.

For those of you that have served, are serving, thanks.  You know, that’s – by the way, that’s all really you need to hear, right?  I don’t have to go much further than that.  An expression of thanks is profound in what we do because what we do is not about us.  It’s about – it’s about the country.  And one thing I want to mention right from the start is, I never take for granted who – because I can’t, and I probably get the privilege of traveling more than – not probably – than all of you, but most of you.  And I will tell you, I never take for granted what it means to be an American.  I’m – let me give you an example of that, but you’re living in New York City, or how many of you live in New York City?  All right, please don’t tell me you take for granted the Freedom Tower or the Statue of Liberty.  You know, every time I come down here – and I’m blessed; Deanie and I – my wife’s with me, and we get to come down the stairs of this plane, and on the side of it is written “The United States of America.”  And it’s just – I never let myself – we never let ourselves take that for granted.

And just two weeks ago with my West Point class, we were on a – one of these Hudson cruises, and we pulled in front of the Statue of Liberty.  It was a beautiful, crystal clear fall night, and, you know, the intercom said go out on the deck.  And we’re all rule followers, so we all went out on the deck.  (Laughter.)  But there she was, the Statue of Liberty, brilliantly just backdropped on a clear black sky.  It was – I’m telling you, it was – it just about, you know – it – if you didn’t react to that some way, you really don’t have any claim to have a pulse.  (Laughter.)

And then – and on Monday, you know, Freedom Tower opened for business.  How cool is that, right across the street from here.  And I actually called one of the ironworkers we’d befriended over the course of time, a young guy named Mike O’Riley (sp), lives over in Jersey City.  And I called to congratulate him on the fact that, you know, this work that he had done over the last six years had come to fruition and, you know, Freedom Tower, back in business.

So look – and then the last thing about taking things for granted, look what happened yesterday, right?  Once again, the United States of America passed power peacefully.  Now, look, I travel to a lot of countries and you can’t take that for granted.  And so I’m just telling you, we’re in good shape, the military’s in good shape, we’re going to fight our way through whatever comes our way.  And thank you for those of you in the room that are hiring our veterans, because they will make you a better organization.

OK, that’s my – I’m the 18th chairman, and I normally remind myself of that.  (Laughter.)  Let me – I’m also a lot shorter than that guy, in case you – (laughter).  But let me tell you about that guy.  That guy’s a member of the Alaska National Guard, his name is Master Sergeant Roger Sparks (sp).  Silver Star recipient from Afghanistan.  And by the way, currently a – does – has a tattoo business in Alaska which he calls Cathartic Ink.  (Laughter.)  I’m not making it up.  But let me tell you what he did in Afghanistan.  He’s a parajumper, so he’s one of these men or in some cases women that actually, in a helicopter, lower themselves down on about a half-inch wire rope in order to rescue people in places that are extraordinarily difficult to get to.  In this case, there was a squad that was pinned on the side of a mountain.  Many of you have served in Afghanistan so you know, you could be in the Hindu Kush at 14,000 feet, just miserable conditions, with the enemy shooting at you.  And he lowered himself 12 consecutive times out of his helicopter to pull this stranded squad of 10th Mountain soldiers – he’s Air Force, and he lowered himself to pull these 12 men off.  Eight of them lived, four of them died in his arms in the helicopter. 

And I met him in Alaska and I said, you know, what were you thinking when, you know, you – and by the way, the wire rope was struck several times, or at least glancing blows of machine gun fire, you know, twanged off of the wire rope on which he was suspended.  Just incredible act of selflessness and bravery and courage.  That’s who we are.  And by the way, his answer to what were you thinking was, you know, same thing anyone would think in that circumstance.  I got to do it; my comrades in arms are at risk.

So, you know, look.  It’s – you don’t know if you’re – if you’re courageous until you’re tested, right?  I mean, you like to think you are, but you don’t know you’re courageous until you’re tested.  Well, what I’m telling all of you who are veterans and all of you who would think about hiring them – they’re courageous.  And they – and it’s not that they think they are, they know they are.  And whether they were actually ever shot at hanging under a helicopter, they put themselves in harm’s way for the people of the United States and for people they never even met before.  And that’s quite a remarkable trait.

This is a young sailor, actually, Seabee.  Let me see if I can get you his name here, because we don’t want the notoriety to be missing.  He’s from – he’s actually, he’s an airman, Staff Sergeant Eric Booker (sp) of – he lives in New Jersey, we won’t hold that against him.  (Laughter.)  But stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix normally, but right now happens to be stationed in Monrovia, Liberia, where he is part of about 1,500 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, who are over there fighting the Ebola virus and making sure that that virus remains an away game.  And in this case, he’s saluting a C-130 – or it looks like a – yeah, a C-130 that’s landing there in Monrovia bringing in supplies, whatever happens to be.  And we’ve got a(n) intermediate – we’ve --  here’s what we’ve done, the United States military.  We’ve organized the effort.  And with that organization, state-sponsored organizations as well as nongovernmental organizations have been able to kind of become organized with our help, and in fact, we believe that in Liberia, we’re actually making a difference.  So mostly what happens in Guinea and Sierra Leone, but the point is, if you’d have asked that young man, I don’t know, what, three months ago, what do you think the chances are you’re going to be in Monrovia, Liberia, he’d have probably said, come on.  First of all, where is Liberia?  (Laughter.)  But there we are, and we’ve got about, as I said, 1,500 or 1,600 there making a real difference not just for the region but also for ourselves. 

And you know, that’s another quality I would describe to you among veterans, which is they’re incredibly adaptable.  Like I said, if you’d asked that kid 90 days ago, what would he be doing today, I promise you he wouldn’t have said, organizing an airfield in Monrovia.  Which, by the way, Liberia has one of the least developed infrastructures on the planet.

This group is kind of interesting, and it’s a – it’s a(n) initiative I want to tell you about.  This is a group of service men and women in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Wizards.  And what we’ve got with the Washington – really with the NBA – is a(n) initiative called Commitment to Service, because Adam Silver (sp) approached me just before the last world games and said, you know, I really want a way to help our players understand that with the notoriety and the wealth that they accumulate, that they – there’s – they come – it comes with some responsibility.  So he said, you know, how would you feel about partnering with us, young men and women who serve but who also should be reminded from time to time that really what the essence of service is, is service.  It’s not about what you get in return, it’s about living your life with a servant’s soul and trying to become a leader of consequence.  Not just a leader, but a leader of consequence, someone who gets the job done but is also aware of the fact that it matters how you get it done.  And that’s what this image reminds me of, is this particular initiative. 

But all of you have something like that, I think probably, in your sphere.  And I would encourage you to continue to live that life of leadership with that soul of a servant as well as this – the metric of leadership, which is not just, can you get the job done – how do you get it done?  What do you leave in your wake?  How do your – you know, do your – do your subordinates or employees want to be you when they grow up?  And if the answer to that is no, I don’t really need you. 

But I say that knowing that this audience in particular does understand the importance of service and the importance of living a life of leadership that ends up having consequences – positive consequences. 

Let me – I know that this is a symposium.  I mostly wanted to lend my appreciation, my thanks and my support for what you’re doing, encourage you to keep at it.  I’m afraid to report to you that the conflicts in which we’re likely to find ourselves are probably going to ebb and flow.  In other words, you know, maybe in my younger days – I grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, by the way, but in my younger days maybe there were – there was discrete start and stopping points for conflict.  You know, World War II started and stopped.  The Korean War started and stopped.  Even the Vietnam War started and stopped.

I think we’re in for a period of – because of the depth of the – of the instability, particularly in the Mideast but not just in the Mideast, and the fact that you’ve got a ubiquitous information environment that kind of fuels tensions and – some of which are historic and some of which are brand new, I think we’re in for a period of sustained – where the military will have a sustained role, whether it’s against Ebola or ISIL or in support of our NATO allies or in support of our allies in the Pacific.  And so my point is, this is going to – you know, veterans are going to be a part of the fabric of America for a very long time. 

And, incidentally, the veterans’ image is less in her or his hands than it is in the society’s hands.  In other words, the society will decide what is the image of the veteran of this period in our history.  The society will decide.  The veteran will contribute to it by the way they behave themselves and the way they contribute and the way they reintegrate into society.  But, generally speaking, society decides about the image of a veteran.  And so there’s – you all obviously feel it and are contributing to it.  That is to say, veteran as someone who makes your organizations better, not victims, as Bob said.

So I’m excited about what you’re doing.  I encourage you to keep at it.  And I deeply appreciate what you’re doing.  And now I’d be happy to take your questions, for about 15 minutes apparently.  (Laughter.)  Anybody got a question for the – it doesn’t have to be about Veterans Day.  Look, I know who I am and what I do, so, you know – (laughter). 

Yes, ma’am?

Q:  (Off mic.)

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Wow.  My daughter was West Point 2001.

Q:  Oh.  (Off mic.)

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Our daughter.  (Laughter.)  Yeah, I almost forgot Deanie.  I’ve got to tell you one story. 

(Cross talk.) 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Since I forgot her, let me tell you one story.  So, you know, I am – (laughter) – I am the chairman, and on the way in here – I mean, look, we were – you know, we haven’t been back to New York in about a year, not this part of New York anyway.  And so, you know, we’re looking around, we’re looking around, and I – and I’m getting on my uniform.  I had a black jacket on.  I’m changing into the bling, you know.  (Laughter.)  I said to her, you know, Honey, in your wildest dreams could you have imagined that we’d be here today?  And she said, well, to tell you the truth, you’re not in my wildest dreams.  (Laughter, applause.)

Yeah, I’m sorry.  Go ahead.  (Laughter.)  Yeah, that’s the reaction I had too, but, you know – (laughter).

Q:  Sir, I’m just wondering, from your perspective, what you think is kind of the biggest issue our country is facing.

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Wow, that’s a pretty broad canvas on which to begin painting, right?  The most important issue facing our country.  This answer might surprise you.  I hope not. 

So I never miss the opportunity to quote from William Butler Yeats, because I have a degree in Irish literature and I find – (laughter) – I find it to be – I find that I can understand things sometimes better by pulling a particular quotation out.  So Yeats had a great quotation, and it went like this:  “Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.”  “Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.”  And I think that we’re spending a lot of time as a nation, and maybe even internationally, highlighting our differences, right?  I think the real genius of leadership is actually finding ways to achieve a sense of unity.

Now, look, I’m not being Pollyannaish.  You know, ISIL and us are not likely to find common ground based on their ideology.  But in terms of what’s facing our country, I think – I think it is one of those moments in history where, you know, the more things become complex, the more you need to – you know, you need to grasp at something.  And I think the – what we should be grasping at is ways to come together, not pull each other apart, frankly. 

It’s like the first rule of wing-walking.  Anybody ever done any wing-walking?  You know the first rule, right?  Never let go with both hands at the same time.  (Laughter.)  So you have to hold onto something.  And I think – I think that – look, the kind of thing – it doesn’t have to be a big – you know, it doesn’t have to be big.  You know, it can be something that seems small and insignificant but gains momentum.

There’s a phrase I use in bringing people together that actually would complement Lloyd and Bob and others that I’ve met here that are working the kind of things you’re working, and it’s called organized serendipity, which is almost an oxymoron, right?  “Organized” and “serendipity” in the same sentence?  But what I mean by that is you bring groups of people together; you’re not sure at the start exactly what’s going to come out of it.  And that’s OK.  And then something special comes out of it attributable to this idea of organized serendipity.

So I think – I think that’s how I would answer the question about what’s most important right now.  We’ve got to find a way to be together more often than we’re not.


Q:  General Dempsey, Tim O’Connor.  I founded a group called Battle Buds. 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Why are you coming down the stairs?  Where is my security?  (Laughter.)  I mean, here he comes like this:  My name is Tim O’Connor.  I’m about to kick your ass.  (Laughter.)  What did I do to you?

Q:  (Off mic.)  (Laughter.) 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Yeah, I got it.

Q:  Our vision is that one day we’ll be able to have a sponsor or mentor to greet a veteran when they get off the plane after they’ve gotten out of the service. 


Q:  And in speaking with other VSOs, we share a common vision.  We want to help veterans reintegrate, but the challenge is often that handoff when they’re leaving the service and going back into civilian communities.  And it’s also the time where many veterans are most vulnerable. 

I was speaking with Colonel Rock (sp) earlier about, you know, how do we reinforce that transition through the Soldier for Life program, for instance –


Q:  – and get the names of those who are moving to Bayonne, New Jersey or New York City so that we can do a proper battle-mend over those veterans?

GEN. DEMPSEY:  No, it’s a great point.  In fact, I should have introduced – I will now – Jim Isenhower, Colonel Jim – stand up, Jim.  Jim is the guy that manages the portfolio.  Let’s give him a round of applause, please.  (Applause.)  I, by the way, wouldn’t have clapped except you did.  (Laughter.)  Normally I would wait and see what he brought back, and if it was good I’d say, good job.  (Laughter.)  He runs the – kind of the transition, reintegration role of the chairman. 

And your question is a great one.  And we’re beginning to take a look – a much different look at how we prepare soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to transition out.  We used to wait – most of you know this.  We used to wait until, like, the last six weeks and say:  OK, go to the community center; march over there, sit down at a computer, make your résumé, you know, get your physical and come back when you’re done.  And that was kind of transition.  Now it’s a much better program – not good enough, and we’re working on that. 

Now, to your point about information sharing, though, I’ve got to tell you, one of the hardest things we try to break through are some of the – of the legislation that actually relates to sharing  private information publicly.  So I’ll give you some really sad stories. 

You know, we lose track of Gold Star families sometimes, because if they move around and don’t register with the local post or the local AER, or whatever it happens to be, family support group, you just lose them.  And it’s – but we can’t actually make them tell us where they’ve gone, and we clearly want to know so we can help them, but from time to time they disappear.  So we’ll have to work through that, but your point is a great one. 

MODERATOR:  In the balcony, General.

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Yeah, stay in your seat next time.  (Laughter.)  What?

MODERATOR:  The young lady in the balcony. 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Where?  I can’t see you.  Yeah, OK.

Q:  I’m up here.  Actually, I was going to thank you for your service and you kind of got to it before I got a chance.  I was going to give a shout out and thank you for Colonel Isenhower’s service via his program, and Colonel Rock (sp) via Soldier for Life as well as Marine for Life.  And I hope that everyone in the room will – if they don’t already – become more familiar with those programs.  And, sir, I would make the request that perhaps we replicate those programs with some POCs via the Air Force and the Navy as well.

GEN. DEMPSEY:  OK, thank you, Mrs. Isenhower.  We’ve been happy to hear from you today.  (Laughter.) 

Q:  Actually my last name is Eisenhauer (sp).  (Laughter.) 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  I knew that.  (Laughter.)  What, did you think I was making a joke?  (Laughter.)

No, look, every service – every service – look, welcome to my life.  Every service approaches these things a little differently, right?  And so – but actually I find that to be not only acceptable, but maybe beneficial, because then we can – you know, we can share best practices.  But I take your point.

And Jim wrote a note, and – how do you spell your last name, by the way?

Q:  A little differently than Jim.  (Chuckles.)  We have the original German spelling, which is A-U-E-R, whereas the president had the O-W.  And Jim lost the “I” – (laughs) – or the “E.” 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Thank you for sharing that with us.  (Laughter.)  No, honest to God, thanks.  And your point’s a great one.  We just got to figure out what to do with it.

Yes, sir.

Q:  Thank you, sir.  Polls show that among Iraq veterans, those veterans clearly believe we should have left a residual force in-country to stabilize.  And of course, the Iraqi military was also surprised we didn’t leave a residual force behind.  In your judgment, over the next five or 10 years will there be 5(,000) or 10,000 troops, U.S. troops, in Iraq?

GEN. DEMPSEY:  I don’t know whether the number will be that big, but I think over the next several years there will be a requirement to help them with an operations center so that, you know, we can share intelligence better and we can watch how they are executing their campaign plan.  I think we’re going to have to rebuild pieces of the Iraqi army at secure bases, and we’ve got about three or four of them identified that we need – we think we need to stand up.  And we need to be certainly with them at the division level, probably, maybe the brigade level.

But look, I was among those that thought we should keep a certain size force in there because I did the Iraqi train-and-equip mission from ’05 to ’07 as a three-star, and there were just things we didn’t finish.  You know, we didn’t finish their logistics architecture, we didn’t finish their intel architecture, we didn’t supply them with a close air support capability, and not enough lift.  But, you know – history will be the judge, but to my satisfaction, we tried to get them to a place where they could provide us the protections and immunities we need.  I mean, I didn’t want to leave a soldier in Iraq, with their particular judicial system at the time, without protections and immunities.

But one other point we got to understand here about the use of the military instrument of power.  The use of the military instrument of power against a nation state is – frankly, you know, it’s not – it’s understandable, there are tried and true metrics, and we do it all the time because we generally build partners across the world using our combatant commands as the platform.  So use of the military instrument with nation states hanging in the balance, you know, frankly, it’s complicated but not complex.  Complicated -- for me, you can unpack it, fix the pieces, put it back together and it’s better.  Complex – when you touch it, it changes it.  And this issue with dealing with some of these groups -- whether we call them al-Qaida or whether we all them ISIL or whether we can them Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, we could go – the use of the military instrument of power is a much more complex endeavor in that world. 

And look, at some point the region and its -- the various groups have to feel and actually exhibit ownership, right?  Have you ever heard of Tom Friedman’s famous – Tom Friedman, “The World is Flat,” “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” – Tom Friedman has a great phrase where he says that in the history of mankind, no one has ever washed a rental car.  (Laughter.)  Let me test that theory.  You have washed a rental car?  Whew.  (Laughter.)  OK.  There’s always one, by the way. 

But you understand, you know, the kind of the metaphor there.  There’s been a decided attempt to make us own virtually every problem in that part of the world.  And I think those are issues where the military instrument needs to be in support of a much deeper, broader, enduring economic and diplomatic effort.  We’ll do our part, but the military’s not going to solve the problems in the Middle East by itself.


Q:  Sir, let’s move away from the Middle East a little bit.  Can you comment on the potential threat with Russia further expanding over the next however – (inaudible) –years?

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Yeah. Well, since I’m probably speaking right now with Vladimir Putin, let me see how I do at this.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t mean you, I mean them, the guy with the red eye back there.  (Laughter.) 

Look, there’s no question that Putin is – in particular, Russia in general, is pushing on the edges of international order because they don’t believe that that international order was crafted in a way that met their national interest.  And they feel, or at least they express, a sense of victimization following the collapse of the Soviet Empire.  That’s their – in fact, Putin just gave a – are you ready for this? – a three-hour speech at Sochi at which – during which he laid that entire narrative out, and took the opportunity then to launch off into an anti-Western soliloquy that literally lasted for about three hours.  So there’s no question that he’s pushing on the envelope.

Our principal responsibility here, of course, is our NATO commitment, notably the Article 5 responsibility, which says an attack on one is an attack on all.  Twenty-eight nations of NATO are committed to living up to that.  The difficulty is actually in the nations between, right, the nations that sit between our NATO allies and Russian aggressiveness – Georgia; Moldova; Ukraine, obviously. 

And in that regard – so back to my point about military instrument of power.  With regard to our NATO Article 5 responsibility, it’s us.  We’ve got to do different things with rotational presence.  We probably need to do some things in every domain – air, sea and ground.  It’s going to, I think, require us to put forces back into Europe that we had taken out.  I don’t predict that they’ll be dramatically big, but they’ll be substantial enough to allow us to deter Russian aggression against our NATO allies.

On those other states, it really is a case where it should be some kind of collaborative, whole-of-government, integrated effort that uses economics, uses diplomatic action, and has the military either in a building partner capacity role or foreign military sales or in some cases training and advising, and at some point, if the nation decided to do so, actually military force.  But we’re not there.

I will say, though, that it requires a little more thinking than currently, I think, we’ve been able to apply to it.  Because I do think Russia’s creating a very unstable situation on two counts.  One is their own activities, and secondly, they’ve kind of lit a fire of nationalism.  And once you light that fire, you know, it’s not controllable.  And I don’t know where that goes.

So, yeah, I am worried about Eastern – I’m worried about Europe.  And I wouldn’t have said – you know, again, six months ago I would have – you know, for 20 years we’ve kind of been a little – we, mostly the Europeans, have been pretty complacent about their security.  I don’t think they can afford to be complacent any longer.


Q:  (Off mic.)

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Well, just the fact that you asked the question, and you yourself have obviously, you know, been through a significant personal trauma. 

By the way, I met this captain out in the hall earlier.  He’s of Vietnamese extraction.  And I want to compliment you -- and I think you introduced me to your father?

Q:  (Off mic.)

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Your uncle – for your service to our country.  I’m assuming you’re an immigrant child or the child of immigrants?

Q:  (Off mic.)

GEN. DEMPSEY:  How about a round of applause for that young man.  (Applause.)

Just – you please sit down, sir – to kind of go back and link back to what Bob said, I think the key in answering your question is to determine which programs actually are the most beneficial, deliver the most bang for the buck, actually deliver outcomes and activities that are important to you.  So – I mean, truthfully, one of the things that always encourages me is when I see things occurring from the ground up.  If – I have to be careful how I say this, but when things are imposed from the top down, they generally – they’re good and they’re well-meaning, they’re usually more expensive, by the way – (laughter) – and they generally don’t exactly hit the mark because, frankly, you probably know more about how to answer that question than I do. 

So I think it’s really a matter of kind of empowering the edge and then watching it grow, communicating – you know, we’re sparing no effort to communicate with the field, the force, the – even on the spousal side, and then I think it’s – the hard work will be to take this kind of universe, this big menu of activities and figure out which ones we can afford – literally we can afford – to empower and make sure they’re delivering the right things. 

Your question is exactly right; I don’t have the answer.  My guess is, though, that if we can listen to you, we’ll probably be closer to the answer.  Sir? 

Q:  Thank you, General Dempsey.  It sort of opens up a question for me.  I guess on the street, we’re known as pikers.  We’re a small organization, but we’ve set out a mandate to create a thousand new jobs for military veterans.  One of the reasons we chose the veterans was the high suicide rate and the problem that they fall out of society. 

So as a small organization with a fairly ambitious initial task, we show up in Washington and we don’t speak the speak.  We’re not Goldman Sachs, unfortunately, not Deutsche Bank.  How do we work the system?  We’re bringing some military folks onboard, we’re self-funded.  Can you just give me some direction, because you said it’s ground-up efforts, so happy to hear that. 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  Yeah.  No, yeah.  And that’s actually why we – I opened an office on my staff and put Jim Isenhower – fresh out of Bridge Command, by the way – and he’s the right entry point.  So what he does for me is – because I get these questions all the time or somebody will hand me a business card or a veteran will say hey, what about me, and then I carry it back.  Jim and I huddle, we figure out what he’s going to do to answer your question, and then off we go.  So he’d be the guy. 

Anybody else?  How am I doing on time?  OK, I’ve got time for one more.  Yes, you are the lucky man.  Or maybe not.

Q:  Well, thank you, General Dempsey.  So following up on that question, how do we get in touch with Mr. Isenhower? 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  I have no idea.  (Laughter.)  Frankly, I question whether he actually works for me – (laughter) – but it’s become handy for me to point to him in case I get a question I can’t answer. 

Q:  I have his number. 

GEN. DEMPSEY:  No, look.  He – I’m going to leave here and go off and do other things.  He’s staying so you – at the break, go tackle him and wrestle a card away from him. 

Well look.  Let me end where I think I began, which is by telling how much Deanie and I have enjoyed being here to watch the outpouring of, you know, at some level, affection and at every level respect and support, and to tell you that you are one of the reasons that it is – that I can manage my way through being chairman of the Joint Chiefs at this particular point in time.  But more important, it’s about those kids that I showed you, right?  And they are kids, you know, compared to –

I mean, some of you are the same age, but most of you are not.  And it is about making sure that they understand how much we value their service and especially as they complete their service, that they feel the same sense of respect and esteem and transition into society where I predict they will – they will be the next greatest generation. 

God bless you and thanks.