Former Defense Secretary Dead At 88

This past Wednesday, Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense, passed away in his home in Taos, New Mexico, as reported to a statement from his family.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico,” read the statement.

“History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country,” the released concluded.

Rumsfeld passed away from multiple myeloma, which is a type of cancer that affects the body’s plasma cells, reported The New York Times.

Setting a record, Rumsfeld was the only Secretary of Defense to have worked through two non-consecutive terms, one of which was under former President Gerald Ford and another under former President George W. Bush. Rumsfeld served his first term by serving with Ford from 1975 to 1977. He then took the office yet again at the age of 43, the youngest person ever to head the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld took office for his second term as the Defense Secretary back in 2001 and left the office once again in 2006 at the age of 74 which set him as the oldest person to ever hold the office. During his time in office, Rumsfeld saw the U.S., through its response to the 9/11 terror attacks and was the mastermind of the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush eventually kicked Rumsfeld out over the way he handled the conflicts, which ended Rumsfeld’s career in government.

Before he became the Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld was a member of the military and worked in government and as a banker before winning a seat in the U.S. House. As reported by USA Today:

Born in Chicago in 1932, Rumsfeld graduated from Princeton University, where he was a collegiate wrestler and commissioned as a U.S. Navy aviator and flight instructor. He served on active duty from 1954-57.

He became a staffer on Capitol Hill and worked as an investment banker. In 1960, he won his first term as a Republican congressman from Illinois. He resigned in 1969 and took a post in the Nixon administration, according to his congressional biography.

“A conclusion by our enemies that the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out our missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power,” stated Rumsfeld in a farewell speech given at the Pentagon, as reported by the Times. “It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.”

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