Milley confirmed as CSA

By David Vergun

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 6, 2015) -- The Senate confirmed Gen. Mark A. Milley, Aug. 5, to become the 39th chief of staff of the Army.

He will succeed Gen. Ray Odierno in a change of responsibility ceremony scheduled for Aug. 14, at 10 a.m., on Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

At his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, July 21, Milley told lawmakers, "Our fundamental task is to win, to win in the unforgiving crucible" of combat.

Milley currently is commander of U.S. Forces Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Besides combat, there are many other tasks the Army does every day and does very well, he said. It provides humanitarian assistance, shapes outcomes, builds partner capacity and deters the nation's adversaries.

"But our very reason for being, the very core of what it means to have an Army, it's to win and to win decisively in ground combat against the enemies of our country so that the American citizens can enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he continued.

"I have huge confidence in our Army today," he said, calling it "the most skilled and combat experienced Army in the nation's history."

Milley told some 300 ROTC and U.S. Military Academy Cadets at the George C. Marshall Award and Leadership Conference at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, March 31, that his childhood hero was Green Bay Packers' winning football coach, Vince Lombardi.

When Lombardi was younger, he looked up to World War II heroes like Gen. George Patton and Gen. Douglas MacArthur and tried to pattern himself after them and their leadership techniques, Milley said.

The two points Lombardi took away from those heroes was, first, "you're in it to win, so winning matters and your team matters." The second was, "We don't break the rules," Milley said.

Milley promised the lawmakers that if confirmed, he would work to keep the Army the best in the world and take on the "significant challenges" it faces "in manpower, readiness and modernization."

The general also told the senators he'd ensure upholding Army values and ethics would continue to be a top priority.

During his visit with the cadets, he exhorted them: "Playing by the rules involves internalizing the warrior code of ethics. It is something you have to practice at 24 hours a day. Unethical actions not only can get you or your Soldiers killed, they can also hurt the Army."

Milley told the senators he comes from a family who proudly served. His mother treated wounded service members in a military hospital near Seattle and his father served in the 4th Marine Division in the Central Pacific seeing combat in Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

Unfortunately, both of his parents passed away, but he said he still feels their presence.

He noted he's lucky to have been married for the last 30 years to the "most dedicated and strongest woman in the world," his wife Hollyanne. "She's a constant source of inspiration and love."

She represents all the Army spouses "for their resilience and sacrifice," he continued, having raised their two children while he was away on seven deployments and thousands of days of training.

Milley's operational deployments include Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Haiti and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most of his 35-year career has been spent leading infantry and Special Forces Soldiers.

Finally, Milley thanked Odierno and his wife Linda for their "selfless service." He added that the nation and the Army have been well served by them.