Former JCS Chairman Shalikashvili Dies

Retired Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, the first foreign-born individual to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died July 23. He succumbed to the effects of a stroke on July 23 at an Army hospital in Washington state, according to his New York Times obituary. He was 75. “The United States has lost a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America,” said President Obama. Born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1936, Shalikashvili was the son of a Georgian aristocrat living in exile from the Soviet Union. His family, having survived World War II, emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1952. The Army drafted Shalikashvili into service in July 1958, shortly after he became an American citizen. He rose from the ranks of private to become the 13th JCS Chairman, serving from 1993 to 1997 under the Clinton Administration. He is credited with strengthening US alliances in Europe and in Asia in the early post-Cold War period and with forging closer defense ties with Russia and former Warsaw Pact nations. He also oversaw successful military operations in Bosnia and Haiti. (Obama statement) (Defense Secretary Panetta statement) (JCS Chairman Mullen statement)