Twice former SecDef, retired USNR captain, Donald Rumsfeld dead at age 88

| June 30, 2021

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld DoD photo by Scott Davis, U.S. Army. (Released)

Advisor to four US Presidents and twice Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld has passed at the age of 88. Fox News reports;

Donald Rumsfeld, who charted an impressive Washington career serving under four presidents but whose legacy largely was defined by his controversial tenure as defense secretary during the Iraq War, has died, his family announced Wednesday. He was 88.

Rumsfeld, a confident adviser to power with a trenchant style that made him admirers as well as enemies, had a long and winding career in public life that spanned five decades. He had been a congressman and a White House chief of staff, and had a successful corporate career, too. But it was his second term as secretary of defense from 2001 to 2006 – during the most tumultuous period of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – for which he is most known.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather,” Rumsfeld’s family said in a statement. “At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico. History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country.”

While his time as President Gerald Ford’s defense secretary was dominated by lofty management challenges regarding the direction of America’s changing military, his role under President George W. Bush was quite different — and set in an instant.

On 9/11, just months into the Bush presidency, Rumsfeld was in his office in the E-Ring at the Pentagon. While monitoring the attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan, the Pentagon was hit with a third hijacked plane.

“I went outside and there were little pieces of metal spread all over the grass, and the smoke was billowing up, and the flame was very visible and leaping out of the building,” he once described.

After the attacks, Rumsfeld was part of a senior-level effort, which also included Vice President Dick Cheney, to marshal war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But then their sights were turned to Iraq, where he and others insisted Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. During the beginning of the war, his off-the-cuff and sometimes acerbic style made the press conferences events in themselves. He rode a wave of popularity and never conceded that the war was not going as well as his press people were saying publicly.

What you may not know, which I didn’t recall, is that Rumsfeld was himself a veteran. He was commissioned into the US Navy in 1954. He became an aviator, flying the S-2 Viking. Leaving active duty for the reserves in 1957, he moved to the inactive reserves when he first became SecDef under President Ford in 1975. He ultimately retired from the Navy as a captain in 1989. During his time in the Navy he was the 1956 All Navy Wrestling Champion.

Between all his many positions in the federal government, he spent in sum more than 40 years in service of his country. Godspeed Mr. Rumsfeld.

Category: We Remember

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Retired NFO

Saddened. Correction: The aircraft would be an S-2 Tracker. The S-3 Viking was a jet and came along much later.


I had the privilege of driving SECDEF Rumsfeld at the Betty Ford Funeral. Good memory.


A tough demanding boss infamous for his ‘snowflake’ memos. Also well known for his sharp wit: ‘I’ll respond to questions I like, and answer those that I don’t’.
Rummy on Sep 10 2001 was on the hot seat testifying in Congress about $2 trillion that could not be accounted for by DoD auditors. Yeah, all that was forgotten the next day. RIP.


Soon arm chair pundits will post here their version of history. For me, I’m grateful that Rummy served well for many presidents. We need more of him. Doubt that he’d have anything to do with Woke. RIP

Green Thumb

Rest well, Rummy.


Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Rumsfeld.




Condolences to the Family. Deep State Swamp Rat or Loyal American Hero? Only History and your personal opinion can answer that one. His skilz at wrestling probably came in handy in DC Politics. He had a tough job in some tough times. Warts and all, would you rather have someone like him in that job or the ones like we have now. You be the judge. (ht 2 ninja)

Linky to info on the S-2 Tracker…with pics. Nice looking Aerial Artillery Platform. Notice the configuration of the wings…and motors. AND it could land and take off from a carrier.


RIP. Some might not have liked him, but he beat the guy he replaced and certainly Robert McNamara.

Slow Joe

He didn’t look very good in Milton Friedman’s “Right to Choose”. He was openly opposing free markets and free trade.

Protectionist Capitalism is not Free Market. Tariffs are not Free Trade. The consumer always ends up paying for those tariffs, not the companies. They just pass the increased costs down.


One of the few politicians I looked up to.
Reminded me of a boss I once had.
Rest in peace Sir.


The left has lost another Boogie Man, who will replace him?


Nah, he’s only changed from active, alive threat to Zombie Rumsfeld. (Like Saint Reagan) I too, like Green Thumb came to say “R.I.P. Rummy.”

MI Ranger

“There are known knowns: things we know we know; there are also known unknowns: things we know we don’t know; but there are also unknown unknowns: things we don’t know we don’t know…” – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Spoken like a true Intelligence Professional!
While I did not agree with his methods and motivation, he had our back. RIP Rumy

BlueCord Dad

I saw that also. As others have said here, “would you rather him or the current occupant of that office?”. There is no contest….

Only Army Mom

I may get eviscerated for this, but please keep in mind, I’m asking and not attacking…

I’ve heard it said for many years that Rumsfeld is the reason for our nearly two decades of involvement in Afghanistan. Specifically, he argued against sufficient resources at Tora Bora, argued against closing the Khyber Pass to prevent the influx of foreign fighters, and was the one who pushed the “hearts and minds” strategy.

Not that he is solely responsible, but was a major proponent if not author of those strategies.

I respect the man that served this Nation for decades, nor am I questioning his patriotism. I also have never heard even a whisper of the type of personal scandal that plagues so many in public service lately. I honor a long life lived according to his beliefs and offer my true condolences to his friends and family.

I’m not looking to demonize the dead, but I have heard too many questions to automatically canonize him either.

just lurkin

I will shed no tears for Rumsfeld. I was with the 278th ACR in Kuwait when one of our soldiers asked him about why our vehicles were not uparmored and he gave his “you go to war with the Army you’ve got” answer.

It was completely dishonest. For one thing we were three years into the war at that point and we should have been better prepared (South Africans, for instance, had had mine resistant vehicles since the 80s). For another we got brand new LMTVs for our deployment, but apparently no one thought to either add the up-armor kits or ship them with the trucks so we could add them in theater. So instead our mechanics scrounged what they could and that is where “hillbilly armor” came from.

If Bush would have fired him before the 2006 elections the Republicans might have retained the House. Instead Rumsfeld resigned a few days later, Gates was a much better SECDEF.


Rest in peace, Sir. We need more like you now more than ever.

Mark S

1956 All Navy Wrestling Champion. That works.

Name edited to protect PII.


This is the guy that said “you fight with the Army you have, not the Army you wish you had,” when Soldiers were welding hillbilly armor on their HUMVEES? Right after he said that he was fired and replaced by SecDef Gates and the Army had MRAPs in Iraq like four months later.