“Stanley Steamer” Calls It Quits

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Clifford Stanley

Clifford Stanley, the retired two-star Marine general who spent the past 20 months as the Pentagon’s personnel chief, is stepping down. He came in for a lot of criticism for an allegedly lousy management style. There are IG probes into alleged misspent money and personnel mismanagement — a bizarre topic for the guy in charge of personnel policy for more than three million people. “I’ve joked about the bureaucracy in the Pentagon,” he said in his resignation letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, “but with the understanding that there is some good in having a bureaucracy that is focused on taking care of our troops, families, retirees and civilian employees.”

I ran into the general when I was doing a story on how dogs could help vets with PTSD. “It’s uncharted waters, but there’s a relationship between these animals and humans,” Stanley told me. How did he know? “Our service dog is for my wife,” he said, “who is paraplegic, and we now have an unbreakable bond.” He didn’t tell me, but his spouse, Rosalyn, was maimed by a gunman in a 1975 racially-motivated shooting in suburban Maryland that also killed his uncle. She has been in a wheelchair ever since. Regardless of his management style – or lack thereof – you’ve got to acknowledge the pluck of the general and his wife. Semper Fi.