President Barack Obama delivered his final farewell address to the Armed Forces on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.
The president praised Defense Secretary Ash Carter, General Joseph Dunford, General Paul Selva and Vice President Joe Biden during the ceremony.
“Secretary Carter, I could not be more grateful for your gracious words, but more importantly, for your outstanding leadership, across, as you noted, more than three decades and nearly all of my presidency,” Obama said. “You have always given me, Ash, your best strategic counsel. You’ve made sure that we were investing in innovation for the long term and a strong Force of the Future.”
“As a physicist, Ash is also one of the few people who actually understands how our defense systems work. And I know that our troops and their families are immensely grateful for the compassion that you and Stephanie have shown them over the years. So to you and your family, on behalf of all of us, thank you for your outstanding service.”
“General Dunford, we’ve relied on you as Commandant of the Marine Corps, as our commander in Afghanistan, and now, as our nation’s highest-ranking military officer,” he continued.
“I thank you, and General Selva and the entire Joint Chiefs for the unvarnished military advice that you’ve always provided to me, for your dedication, for your professionalism, for you integrity. Because of you, because of this team, our Armed Forces are more integrated and better prepared across domains — a truly Joint Force. Which is why, as a White Sox fan, I can overlook the fact that you love the Red Sox. (Laughter.) Moreover, on a personal note, outside of your professional qualities, you are a good man, and I am grateful to have worked with you. And thank Ellyn for allowing you to do this.”
“To members of Congress; Vice President Biden — who, along with Jill, has known the love and the pride and the sacrifice of a military family. To Deputy Secretary Work; service secretaries; distinguished guests; dedicated civilians from across the Defense Department; my national security team; most of all, our men and women in uniform. I thank you for this honor, and for the warmth and respect that you’ve always shown me, the support that you’ve shown Michelle and our daughters during these past eight years.”
“And so, although I recognize that the formalities require me listening to praise directed in large part to me, I want to turn the tables — I am still Commander-in-Chief, so I get to do what I want to do — and I want to thank you. Of all the privileges of this office — and there are many — I will miss Air Force One, I will miss Marine One — (laughter) — but I can stand before you today and say that there has been no greater privilege, and no greater honor, than serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world.”