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Trump to award ret. Gen. Jack Keane with Presidential Medal of Freedom next week

Lt. Col. Jim Crider, commander of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Hopkinsville, Ky., briefs retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former Army vice chief of staff, on the happenings in his unit's area of operations in southern Baghdad, Aug. 12. Keane is also the former commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which Crider deployed with as a part of the 101st Airborne Division. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Smith)
March 05, 2020

Retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane will receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, next week.

President Donald Trump announced he would present Keane with the award next week, and the White House announced the award in a Wednesday statement.

“General Jack Keane is a retired four-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and a well-respected foreign policy and national security expert,” the White House statement reads. “General Keane has devoted his life to keeping America safe and strong, and he has earned many awards, including two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, five Legions of Merit, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Ronald Reagan Peace through Strength Award.”

Keane served in the military until 2003 and has since acted as an informal military advisor to U.S. presidents and other top officials. Keane has also been a regular commentator on Fox News and the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, a national security policy think tank.

Keane has also regularly defended President Trump’s foreign policy decisions in Syria and has reportedly turned down two offers to act as Trump’s defense secretary.

During a Fox News radio interview, Keane reacted to the news that he would receive the medal.

“You know, I have a lot of love in my life and a lot of purpose and meaning associated with trying to protect this country as a soldier and then trying to also advocate for the security of the country as a retired general officer and foreign policy and national security analyst, Keane told Fox radio host Guy Benson. “So, it’s overwhelming, to be honest with you.”

Keane reflected on his volunteering to serve during the Vietnam war and said he “was confronted with the seriousness of human life,” during his service in the war and described it as a “major turning point in my life.”

Moving forward, Keane also recalled his work at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“For the next 16 years [after retirement] I was driven by having been in the Pentagon on 9/11 and lost 85 teammates, so I saw up close what this war [on terror] was about,” Keane told Benson. “It became personal for me and I never let go of that emotion I felt about that loss of life and it drove me to stay involved in national security in a way that I never actually imagined I would do as a retired officer.”