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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 2, 2000


Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., today.

In both wartime and peacetime, Admiral Zumwalt exemplified the ideal of service to our Nation. He was a genuine patriot with an astonishing life story. A distinguished veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, he rose to become the Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy's top post. As CNO, he worked vigorously to improve our sailors' quality of life and devoted himself to eliminating discrimination in the Navy.

But more than most Americans who have served our country with distinction, Admiral Zumwalt paid a deeply personal price for his dedication when his son died of an ailment related to service in Vietnam. Admiral Zumwalt became a great champion of veterans with war-related health problems. He established the veterans with war-related health problems. He established the first national bone marrow donor program to help cancer patients in need. He never stopped fighting for the interests, the rights and the dignity of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families.

Admiral Zumwalt was one of the greatest models of integrity, leadership and genuine humanity our nation has ever produced. I was proud to award him the Medal of Freedom in 1998 for his lifetime of dedicated public service.

At this time of sorrow, our prayers and sympathies go out to his family and friends.