Obama salutes Panetta as he prepares to retire

February 8, 2013 • National News

President Barack Obama hugs outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a Farewell Tribute for Panetta, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Calling it “the honor of my life,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said farewell to the U.S. military Friday, capping a venerated public service career that spanned four decades and included stints as a lawmaker, a top White House official and the spy chief who oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden.

President Barack Obama, honoring his first-term Pentagon chief at a ceremony at a military base outside Washington, said Panetta would be remembered for welcoming more Americans into the military by opening combat roles to women and overseeing the repeal of a ban on gays serving openly — “In short, for making our military and our nation that much stronger.”

“Every decision he has made has been with Login to read more

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