June 30 - Defense Secretary Robert Gates steps down after heading two wars under two Presidents from different parties. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A farewell to arms for Robert Gates. A ceremony at the Pentagon for outgoing the Defense Secretary. He served eight presidents over four decades. He is the only man to serve as Defense Secretary under two presidents. A surprising resume for a soft-spoken man who did not always embrace life inside the nation's Capitol. Admiral Mike Mullen was the first to speak SOUNDBITE: Admiral Mike Mullen, saying (English): "He can throw a barb with the best of them. Like the time he called Washington the only place in the world where someone can walk down lovers lane holding their own hand." U.S. President Barack Obama says Gates will go down in history as one of America's greatest defense secretaries. On his final day he awarded him the nations highest honor for civilian service. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "As President the highest honor I can bestow on him is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Its pspeaks to teh values we cherish as a people, and teh ideasl we strive for as a nation. Amd today it is my great provlidge to presnet the Presidential medal of Freedom to America's 22nd Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates." Recruited in 2006 at the height of the unpopular Iraq war by then-President George W. Bush, Gates stayed on to become one of Obama's most trusted advisers, helping guide U.S. policy in Iraq and the troop buildup in Afghanistan. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying (English): "I will just say here, that I will think of these young warriors , the once who fought, the ones who keep on fighting the ones who never made it back -- to the end of my days " More than 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since that war began in 2003 and more than 1,500 have died in Afghanistan. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.