Portrait of Former SecDef Gates Unveiled at Pentagon

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and 22nd Defense Secretary Robert Gates share a laugh at the portrait unveiling ceremony for Gates at the Pentagon, Oct. 29. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

Not even a powerful hurricane could stop former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Pentagon portrait unveiling ceremony.

The painting depicts Gates — the 22nd defense secretary — sitting on his Pentagon desk with a model of an MRAP vehicle positioned next to his right arm.

Gates was the principal champion for these armored vehicles, which are credited with saving troops’ lives from roadside bomb attacks in combat.

“When it came to his attention that acquiring more heavily armed MRAPs could help protect troops from the threat of lethal IEDs, he refused to accept any excuses from a defense establishment that had ignored pleas upon pleas from the battlefield,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during the portrait unveiling ceremony.

“He was told that they couldn’t be produced fast enough. He told them that wasn’t good enough. And the MRAPs needed to be delivered, and needed to be delivered as quickly as possible. And they were. And they were.”

Marcus Weisgerber
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Marcus Weisgerber

Senior Pentagon Correspondent at Defense News
I write about broad-ranging policy, acquisition and budget issues affecting the US military.
Marcus Weisgerber
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