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Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) the Honorable Leon Panetta speaks to the crew of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) about their upcoming deployment. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is scheduled to get underway at the end of the month for a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate / Released

Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) the Honorable Leon Panetta speaks to the crew of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) about their upcoming deployment. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is scheduled to get underway at the end of the month for a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate / Released

There are 1.8 million children currently serving alongside our nation’s military members. Click to find out what Secretary Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey have to say about these little warriors.

There are 1.8 million children currently serving alongside our nation’s military members. Click to find out what Secretary Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey have to say about these little warriors.

Recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta thanks gay and lesbian service members and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civilians for their dedicated service to the nation.

A message from Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense:

For many Americans, Memorial Day is a welcome break from work, a time for outdoor barbeques or a day at the beach.  But today is above all an opportunity for Americans to come together and pay tribute to all those who have fought and died in defense of our freedom.  It is a day to reflect on the service and sacrifice of these heroes, and to honor those American families for whom Memorial Day is another day of longing for their loved ones.

This Memorial Day, the American people pay particular tribute to the generation who stepped forward after the attacks of September 11th, and volunteered to put their lives on the line in far-off lands to protect our nation.  Today, we remember the more than 6,400 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have paid the ultimate price for us to live in safety over the last ten years of war.  They and their families have paid a heavy price so that we could be more secure, but because of their sacrifice the torch of freedom burns bright.

Since taking this position, I have written hundreds of letters of condolence to the families of the fallen.  It is the hardest part of my job.  There are no words that can heal, no sentences that can lessen that loss.  I keep the fallen and their families in my heart and in my prayers, and I tell those families that their loved one died to give their fellow Americans a better life.  That is the price they paid for us.  Let us never forget them and what they have done for this country.

As we emerge from a decade of war, we must renew our pledge on this Memorial Day to do all we can to ensure that the sacrifices of our service members and their families are honored, and that those who fell in battle are remembered.  They fought for us.  Our duty is to fight to make sure they are never forgotten.  As Americans, that must be our charge and our sacred mission not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

statedept:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosts the U.S.-Philippines Ministerial Dialogue with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Republic of the Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Del Rosario at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is briefed on the functions of the combat direction center during a visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise Carrier Strike Group is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).
(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael L. Croft Jr./Released)

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is briefed on the functions of the combat direction center during a visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise Carrier Strike Group is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael L. Croft Jr./Released)

“As leaders of this department, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of our people,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. “These women and these men who are willing to fight and die to protect and serve our country – they deserve better protection. Their families and dependents also sacrifice and serve. And so for this reason, we must spare no effort to protect them against this heinous crime.  One sexual assault is one too many.”

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta shares a holiday message.

Seventy years ago on a December morning, our nation sustained a cruel and destructive attack at Pearl Harbor. Our enemies thought that by this sudden and deliberate raid, they could weaken America. Instead, they only strengthened it. That day truly awoke a sleeping giant.

As we join you in remembering the events of December 7, 1941, we honor you and your fallen comrades for your indomitable will – and we remember the sacrifice and shared purpose of the American people, as well as the strength of our elected and military leaders during the war.

December 7, 1941 was indeed a day that will live in infamy. But in the memories of that day we continue to draw determination and conviction to protect our freedoms, to sacrifice for our fellow citizens, and to serve a purpose larger than self. You, the survivors of Pearl Harbor and of the war that followed, embody this conviction, this determination to raise high the torch of freedom and sacrifice. From your stories, posterity records for all subsequent generations the emotion, the heroism, and the tragedy of a harrowing attack and the titanic struggle that would later unfold.

As a young boy, I remember seeing troops move through Fort Ord during the war years in Monterey, California. My parents would invite soldiers into our home for Christmas dinner, and I remember seeing young men from all over the country about to go to war. And I remember thinking in that uncertain time: “This is going to be the last opportunity these young men have to enjoy the comforts of home for a long time.”

You are the veterans of that greatest generation. You have lived full lives and witnessed years of great prosperity because of the freedom you helped to secure for America and her allies. I know you take great pride, as I do, that your legacy lives on in today’s men and women in uniform, who have borne the burden of a decade of war, and who are truly this nation’s next greatest generation. The 9/11 generation, like you, has stepped forward in your image of service and sacrifice, volunteering for military duty after another sudden and terrible attack on our shores.

We treasure you. You have brought everlasting credit to your fallen comrades. The men and women in today’s military stand on the shoulders of your individual and combined sacrifice and service to our nation. Your example inspires those in uniform today, strengthens our nation’s moral fiber, and proves that with united resolve our country can surmount any challenge. Thank you for your service, for your sacrifice, and for your endless zeal to see to it that our children and grandchildren can pass along a better life to the next generation. This has always been the American dream, a dream we can realize because of the determination of our citizens to defend it.

God bless you, God bless our troops, and God bless the United States of America.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s message to survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta does a few steps with Dancing With The Stars sensation and actor J.R. Martinez at the Pentagon Thursday, December 1. Panetta, a fan of Dancing With the Stars, invited Martinez to the Pentagon to meet and congratulate him. In 2003, Martinez was severely burned over 40 percent of his body while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Army soldier.
(DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta does a few steps with Dancing With The Stars sensation and actor J.R. Martinez at the Pentagon Thursday, December 1. Panetta, a fan of Dancing With the Stars, invited Martinez to the Pentagon to meet and congratulate him. In 2003, Martinez was severely burned over 40 percent of his body while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Army soldier.

(DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett)