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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 109


This is the grave of John Shalikashvili

Born in 1936 into an exiled noble Georgian family in Poland, Shalikashvili spent his childhood in the upheaval of World War II Europe. As was not uncommon for exiled nobility, his father embraced the Nazi invasions and he ended up in a unit subsumed into the SS. Good times. He was taken as prisoner of war by the British where he lived out the rest of the war. Meanwhile, young John and the rest of the family were in Nazi occupied Warsaw. In 1952, the family emigrated to Peoria. Despite having almost no English, he adapted quickly and attended Bradley University, graduating in 1958. He was drafted and entered the Army as a private, but he loved it so he went to officer school and skyrocketed up the ranks. He fought in Vietnam, then did a bunch of other stuff over the next 15 years. He became more well-known by coordinating Operation Private Comfort, the humanitarian mission in northern Iraq after the First Gulf War. He was also very big in military modernization issues, including the integration of new technologies. For all of this, Bill Clinton named him Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff in 1993. He stayed in that role for 4 years, retiring in 1997 after 38 years in the military. He remained active to the end of his life. He was a military advisor to John Kerry’s campaign in 2004, a campaign for which I had high hopes but alas. I hope he didn’t advise him on that ridiculous “Reporting for Duty” speech and salute at the DNC that year or the very bad idea to pretend like he was hunting. He also spoke out strongly in favor of gays in the military, seeking to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, one of Bill Clinton’s many, many indefensible policies. He was one of the architects of the policy at the time and felt guilty about it. I think he earned his penance here. The policy was reversed by Barack Obama on July 22, 2011. Shalikashvili died on July 23, 2011.

John Shalikashvili is buried on the confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

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