U.S. Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, holds a press briefing about the U.S. military drawdown in Afghanistan, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. September 1, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 4:01 PM PT – Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Gen. Mark Milley has attempted to tamp down anxiety being felt by thousands of veterans in the wake of the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a letter to the entire American Joint Force on Tuesday, expressing gratitude for their service in Afghanistan over the past two decades. He told U.S. troops they can hold their head up high for preventing an attack on the homeland.
Additionally, Milley spoke publicly for the first time since U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan during a retirement ceremony for Gen. Robert Adams where he also acknowledged the cost of war.
“All of us are conflicted with feelings of pain and anger, sorrow and sadness combined with pride and resilience,” said Milley. “But one thing I am certain of, for any soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine and their family…your service mattered and it was not in vain.”
Milley added, a long chapter in American history is now closed.
“This mission was historic and each of you who participated in this operation demonstrated compassion, character, commitment and exceptional competence in the execution of this high risk mission in a very fluid, dynamic, and dangerous operational environment,” stated Milley.