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Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Myers pondering position at K-State

September 22, 2005

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— The nation's highest ranking military official could be in line for a post at Kansas State University when he retires at the end of this month.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been negotiating since June with university officials about a possible role with the school's Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies.

Exactly what involvement Myers - a Kansas City, Mo., native and Kansas State graduate - would have is still uncertain, and officials cautioned that the general is considering a number of opportunities around the country.

A spokesman for Myers in Washington declined to comment.

"We have made an outline to him and it has many alternatives in it," said Charles Reagan, associate to Kansas State president Jon Wefald. "What he told me was that he wasn't going to make any decision about his future until a couple months after Sept 30."

That's when Myers, 63, officially retires from military service, after spending four years as the country's top military man.

Among the options being discussed, Myers could serve as a liaison between the university's military program and other institutions, helping secure speakers, building interest in the military history program and occasionally lecturing to students.

"We would like him to have some connection with it, even if it's just using his influence to help us get some speakers that he knows from the military," Reagan said. "For some generals or admirals, a phone call from him might be very important in getting them interested."

University officials have also spoken to Myers and his transition staff about donating documents, memorabilia and other materials that could enhance the school's military history collection.

Myers' staff is now making an inventory of his papers and other items he received during his tenure, said Sue Peterson, assistant to the president and Kansas State's director of governmental relations.

"While you're not going to build an Eisenhower or a Truman library, he has some items that he wanted to give to Kansas State and other places, so we've just been talking in general terms about that," she said.

One problem is that many of the documents are classified and Kansas State does not have a security clearance to keep classified materials. Reagan said Myers is also considering donating some papers to National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Myers has long been active in Kansas State activities. He was a commencement speaker at the university's College of Engineering in May and is slated to be grand marshall at the homecoming parade on Oct. 28.

The nation's 15th Joint Chiefs chairman, Myers assumed the job on Oct. 1, 2001, while the county was still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks. He has overseen the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that combined stand as the costliest in American lives since Vietnam.

Myers serves as the principal military adviser to the president, secretary of defense and the National Security Council. He will be succeeded by Gen. Peter Pace, currently vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Myers entered the Air Force through Kansas State's Air Force ROTC program in 1965, after receiving his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He later earned a master's in business administration from Auburn University.

A pilot who flew 600 combat hours in Vietnam, Myers reached the pinnacle of his military career after commands in Japan and the Pacific, a two-year stint at the Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., and months as assistant to the Joint Chiefs and as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Kansas State formed the Institute for Military History five years ago in collaboration with the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene and the U.S. Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth. It offers a doctorate in military history.

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