By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
Military leaders past and present gathered Tuesday morning to say farewell to the Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Pete Chiarelli.
In a job that often goes largely unnoticed outside of the Pentagon, Chiarelli has made a name for himself as an outspoken and tireless advocate for soldiers, especially those who are victims of what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called "the unseen wounds of war."
Chiarelli's 40 years in the Army saw him rise through the ranks by a path similar to that of other generals - tank battalion commander, commander of the First Cavalry Division, commander of the Multi-National Corps in Iraq when the war there was at its worst.
By Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes
A senior military leader warned Congress Thursday that further budget cuts will mean lost lives in future conflicts.
"There is just a tendency to believe at the end of a war that we will never need ground forces again. I'll tell you that we've never got that right," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army. "We have always required them. We just don't have the imagination to predict when that will be."
Chiarelli was testifying before the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee along with high-level officers from the other services.
"And quite frankly, let's be honest, it has cost us lives," Chiarelli said of cuts in the aftermath of previous wars. "Cost us lives at Kasserine Pass" in Tunisia in World War II," it cost us lives at Task Force Smith in Korea. It cost us lives every single time."
Chiarelli's blunt talk of deadly flesh-and-blood consequences broke free of the usual budget debate on the risk of a "hollowed-out force," and the cost of "modernization." FULL POST