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Published:February 22nd, 2010 13:12 EST
mike mullen

Mike Mullen Cites Importance Of Families

By SOP newswire3

By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2010 " During a week-long tour through Southwest Asia, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spent time focusing on what he calls his No. 1 priority: servicemembers and their families.

mike mullenNo matter what happens in the world, no matter what equipment I buy, no matter what concepts I adopt for the future, it`s really you that make the difference, " U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told troops during a town hall gathering Feb. 17. You are the center of gravity for the adjustments that must be made as we move to the future. "

And families, the admiral said, have emerged as more important than ever.

Families were critical before, but I`ve watched what families have been doing since 9/11 in supporting multiple deployments. That service and sacrifice is special at a really critical time, " Mullen said, noting that many families have gone through as many as five deployments within a 10-year period.

We couldn`t do it without you and your families, " the admiral told members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing during a town hall yesterday. You couldn`t be here, deploy and rest easy if things weren`t going well at home and for the support that your families have given. "

Family support, Mullen said, is vital to everything that we do. "

And what our families have done and our extended families have done that make it possible for us to serve at this extraordinary time has truly been exceptional, " he added. So I am extremely grateful for that as well. "

Mullen said that he hasn`t seen a more challenging time in his 42-year military career, and the current force is the best he has ever seen.

We move forward into the future in better shape than we`ve ever been, " he said, and whatever the challenges are there that are to be met, they will be met because of you, because of our people and our families. "

Speaking passionately about another of his priorities, Mullen encouraged troops at all levels to be good leaders. I focus on [speaking about] leadership wherever I go, " he said, because I believe anything is possible with great leadership. "

Mullen emphasized that leaders are present at every pay grade, and aren`t necessarily the most senior members of the organization.

I have been greatly influenced throughout my career by courageous leaders that made a difference when things really got tough, " he said. I have seen the toughest problems we`ve ever had be solved by nothing else than " individual leaders who are willing to take risks in the toughest kinds of situations. "

Leading during a time of change is the toughest time for a leader, Mullen said. Nothing, he added, is more important to military success than good leaders.

I have great expectations for " everybody wearing a uniform to continue to lead, " Mullen said. Take care of those around you, take care of those who are in your charge, take care of your peers, and also take care of your seniors. "

The admiral reminded the servicemembers that everyone who has experienced success has had leaders who contributed to that success. We got here because somebody made a difference in our lives, " he said, whether it was a coach, a teacher, a command sergeant major, a senior chief petty officer, a second lieutenant. "

Mullen urged servicemembers to try to make that same difference in someone else`s life. We are a growing institution that depends on that, " he said. This extends across the full spectrum of who we are, how we take care of ourselves [and] how we treat each other, which should be exactly like we want to be treated. "

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=58027