Patrick Murphy sworn in as Secretary of the Army


By Debbie Gregory.

Patrick Murphy was recently sworn in as Secretary of the Army. He holds the distinction of being the first veteran of the Iraq War to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. He was also the leading advocate for repealing the Pentagon’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy in 2009, enabling gay soldiers to serve openly.

Murphy is now the Army’s highest-ranking civilian leader. He intends to focus the Army’s resources on preparing troops for targeted missions, enhancing training facilities, and improving coordination with the Veterans Administration. Additionally, he wants to focus on women in the military.

Murphy went on active duty in the Army in 2000. He served as a staff judge advocate and then joined the military faculty at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he taught constitutional law. After the September 11 attacks, Murphy volunteered for overseas deployment, serving in Bosnia (2002) and in Baghdad during the Iraq War (2003–2004). While in Baghdad as a JAG Corps attorney with the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, Murphy worked to reconstruct the justice system and helped prosecute Sheik Moyad, a lieutenant of Muqtada al-Sadr. A graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, dual Qualified as a Basic Parachutist and in Air Assault, Murphy was one of over fifty thousand soldiers awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Iraq. Following his service in Iraq, he returned to Fort Bragg and continued his service as a JAG officer before being released from active duty in 2004.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley has nothing but high praise for Murphy.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen very many folks in uniform or out of uniform as committed to the United States Army and its success as Secretary Murphy. That comes through in spades every day in every meeting on every issue,” Mr. Milley said.

In his role as secretary, Mr. Murphy oversees 1.4 million soldiers and civilians.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Openly Gay Civilian Advisor Named Secretary of the Army: Military Connection

Secretary of the Army

By Debbie Gregory.

If confirmed by the Senate, the first openly gay US Army secretary, Eric Fanning, could help lead America’s corps of fighting men and women into uncharted territory, on many fronts.

President Obama is nominating Eric K. Fanning, a close civilian adviser to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, to be the secretary of the Army, an appointment that would make him the first openly gay secretary of a military branch.

The president said Mr. Fanning brings “many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership” to the role. “I am grateful for his commitment to our men and women in uniform, and I am confident he will help lead America’s soldiers with distinction,” he said.

As a civilian, Mr. Fanning has been the acting under secretary of the Army as the current secretary, John McHugh, prepares to leave his post. Mr. Fanning’s Defense Department jobs have spanned the services: He has served as Air Force undersecretary, deputy under secretary of the Navy and deputy chief management officer of the Navy.

Former assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, Doug Wilson, praised Mr. Fanning.

“Eric Fanning is one of the most qualified individuals to hold any senior position having to do with defense,” Mr. Wilson said. “The fact that he is openly gay and has been nominated for his position is just evidence of the degree to which Americans can accept sexual orientation as part of an individual, and not something that completely defines an individual.”

Mr. Fanning will help guide the country’s largest military service as it undertakes a sweeping integration of gay soldiers. While the Pentagon lifted a prohibition on openly gay service members in 2011, the culture remains resistant, to an extent, to open integration of gay soldiers into the ranks, as well as the promotion of women into combat roles. Some gay service members say they experience harassment and discrimination.

Phil Carter, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said, “The Army cares whether you can shoot straight, not whether you are straight.”

A graduate of Dartmouth, Fanning’s appointment was widely expected.


Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.