Former US Joint Chiefs Chairman Shalikashvili Dies

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 6:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Retired U.S. General John Shalikashvili, the first foreign-born chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died at age 75.

There were no immediate reports on the cause of Shalikashvili's death. He suffered a stroke in 2004.

General Shalikashvili served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1993 to 1997 under then-President Bill Clinton. He made decisions on U.S. military involvement in Bosnia, Haiti and other troubled spots in the world.

Shalikashvili was born in Poland in 1936 and came to the U.S. as a teenager. He rose through the ranks in the Army and succeeded former General Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, in 1993.

Following word of Shalikashvili's death Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the general's “extraordinary life represented the promise of America.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called him an “extraordinary patriot who faithfully defended his country for four decades, rising to the pinnacle of the military profession.” The current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, said during Shalikashvili's tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he “skillfully shepherded” the U.S. military through the early years of the post-Cold War era.

General Shalikashvili spent his later years living near Fort Lewis in the western U.S. state of Washington.