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John M.
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  • Remembering Admiral Charles R. Larson

    by Senator John McCain

    Posted on 2014-07-30

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    McCAIN. Mr. President, today I want to pay tribute to an exceptional leader, public servant, patriot, and friend. Earlier this week, ADM Charles Larson passed away after a 2-year battle against leukemia. This morning, we said goodbye to him as he was memorialized and laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis. Although it is always hard to lose a friend, and it is certainly proper to mourn, I also want to celebrate his life and his tremendous accomplishments and contributions to the Navy, Naval Academy, and Nation.

    Chuck and I were good friends, flight school roommates, and both members of the Class of 1958. An Eagle Scout, brigade commander and class president, he continued his meteoric trajectory, becoming the first naval officer selected as a White House Fellow and the second youngest officer to be promoted to the flag rank. On top of his operational commands, he also served as naval aide to President Richard Nixon. Chuck was bright, extremely talented, and never shied away from a challenge. For instance, after earning his pilot wings and doing a tour aboard the USS Shangri-la, he decided to go to nuclear power school to become a submariner and be at the tactical tip of the Cold War. Similarly, instead of pursuing a lucrative civilian job after finishing his tour as the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command, he took on what he considered his most challenging but rewarding job of his career, returning to his alma mater for a second tour as the superintendent.

    A man of unparalleled character and vision, Admiral Larson wanted to refocus the academy to be ``an ethical beacon for the nation.'' He established the Character Development Division and implemented innovative ethical and character-enhancing programs and initiatives to both the curriculum and student life. His devotion to the academy and midshipmen went beyond his two tenures at the helm, serving as the chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation for nearly a decade after his retirement.

    Chuck was more than a renowned four-star admiral; he was a friend to many, husband to Sally, father to Sigrid, Erica, and Kirsten, and grandfather to seven beautiful children. I join many past and present members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Class of 1958, the Naval Academy family, and thousands of military personnel who have served under and alongside Chuck in extending our most sincere gratitude for his legacy of excellence and ethical leadership.

    Fair winds and following seas, Admiral Larson. You will be missed, but not forgotten.


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