Thanks, General Chiarelli

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Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

General Peter Chiarelli

Tuesday marks the final day in uniform for General Pete Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff. As the service’s No.2 officer, he has been the key driver on fighting to reduce the mental toll of the nation’s wars on its soldiers.

In a farewell interview with the Washington Post‘s Greg Jaffe – how many vice chiefs get, or warrant, that kind of attention? – Chiarelli explained why he turned down an offer from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to become the Pentagon’s top civilian personnel chief. Instead, he has decided to return home to Washington state.  “I have my mom on the West Coast all by herself,” he said. “She turns 90 on February 15th. I have a family responsibility after 40 years of service to be with her.”

He felt the same kind of obligation to trying to ease the mental wounds of war among his troops.