Ex-general joins first lady’s effort to assist troops
Retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was relieved of command in Afghanistan last year, will advise a new national campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama to help the nation’s troops and their families, a White House official said.
McChrystal has been selected as an unpaid advisor to Joining Forces, an effort the first lady, along with Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, will unveil Tuesday at the White House.
The goal is to enlist all sectors of society in ensuring “military families have the support they have earned,” the first lady’s office said.
The campaign’s other unpaid advisor will be Patty Shinseki, wife of Eric K. Shinseki, the retired general and former Army chief of staff who is secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.
McChrystal and Shinseki will serve as advisors at the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank that is the lead nonprofit partner to Mrs. Obama’s effort, said Nathaniel Fick, the center’s chief executive.
“Since he left uniform, he’s been in the public eye talking about service and leadership and how a very small fraction of American society is fighting these wars, so from the White House perspective, and ours, he was a good addition to the team,” Fick, a former Marine infantry captain, said of McChrystal. “His name was well received by the White House.”
President Obama relieved McChrystal of command in June after Rolling Stone magazine quoted McChrystal and some of his aides making disparaging comments about civilian leaders, including the president and Vice President Joe Biden.
The Joining Forces campaign aims to involve individuals, communities, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based groups, charities and the government.
After Tuesday’s White House presentation, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden will hit the road to visit military bases and meet with military families, aides to the first lady said.
Joining them at stops will be Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, Nick Jonas and Sesame Street characters.
On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden will visit Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, joined by Marine Corps Commandant James F. Amos, and will make remarks before attending a baby shower for 40 pregnant military spouses.
They will also visit Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.
On Thursday, they will travel to Denver, Colorado Springs and Columbus, Ohio.
McChrystal is chairman of a consulting firm, McChrystal Group. He is also a senior fellow at Yale University and sits on the boards of Navistar International Corp., JetBlue and a charity for injured service members, the Yellow Ribbon Fund.
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