Pacific Fleet leader predicts long war on terror
Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Gary Roughead says national military service is "something that everyone should do."
But Roughead, former commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy," told the Rotary Club of Honolulu yesterday that the complexity of many of the jobs in the military "requires more than just a couple years of service."
The service does not have to be done right after a person graduates from high school or college, he said.
Roughead said it is hard to tell young people that giving up four or five years is not a major sacrifice, especially since many servicemembers today serve 20 or 30 years and still work in the civilian sector while drawing a military pension.
Factors that should be considered in the debate, Roughead said, are the type of service, the length of service and adequate compensation.
During his remarks, Roughhead also said that "the global war on terrorism will go on for quite some time."
He said it may take several generations: "It's going to be a very long haul."
Roughead, who commands 190 ships and more than 200,000 sailors and Marines in the Pacific, said the current humanitarian mission by the Navy hospital ship Mercy, which is using civilian and military doctors, dentists, and nurses to offer health care to the Pacific rim countries, also is a powerful tool in the war against terrorism.
He said that in just three weeks in the Philippines, Mercy personnel treated 50,000 patients.
Roughead also said Navy and Air Force bases in Hawaii and Guam will be merged into one "central command" so "they can be more efficient and less expensive" to operate.