tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 11, 2015 10:46am-12:01pm EST
in my excursions, we certainly found a lot of different enemies. i have had to watch friends get hit. i have lost soldiers. very, very tough deal with. i have had to fight my way out of ambushes. those experiences are -- they stay with you your entire life. but they are not insurmountable. and i try to relate to people that if you are in a horrible car wreck or if you're in some devastating storm or you are in something traumatic, it would impact your life and largely shape it, but it doesn't mean that you don't function. it just means that you take those experiences and a shape you for your future experiences. and that is the way my faith has helped me. host: one of those enemies, saddam hussein. the book behind you, "we got him." what happened?
mr. russell: i had the privilege to task the command force one to two. -- 122. 2003 2 2004. in and we got involved largely due to geography. it was not something that, you know, where we thought that specifically we would go find saddam. we were in infantry battalion task force that was occupying his hometown. and it became readily apparent very quickly that saddam was probably being harbored there. we got incredible information, and we began to work that. we work to that with a number of other teams, two special operation forces teams, and evolved from the ground up a lot of our own intelligence. my commander, colonel jim hickey, he was a marvelous warrior.
,eneral -- the chief of staff he was our commander in the fourth infantry division. so those were my two immediate commanders. they gave me great attitude, and i'm very grateful for not only their bravery, but also their trust. and we work together as a team. my unit was not the only one involved, but it was one of about half a dozen. and it was very humbling to participate in that time, to leave the raids. we nearly captured saddam in the summer of 2003. didn't get him, but we got his personal effects and papers, $10 million in cash and $2 million in jewelry. it turns out he was captured six months after that raid across the river. you can see the two places from one another, and you could see his home where i had soldiers using it as an outpost from -- all three could mutually see each other.
so it was really interesting. and i count it a great privilege to have participated in that. and i give great credit to all the units involved. my book, it has been noted for its vivid detail and a lot of the experiences that we went through. and that was very important to me coming home was to tell a portion of it. wasn't to make sure that it did told so that it would be erased from history. host: you and your wife raising five children, three adopted from hungary. explain how that came about. mr. russell: we had two children at the time, and we wanted more. she was concerned about some flareups of some childhood arthritis. with each pregnancy, there's a chance that could recur, so we begin to look at adoption.
we were stationed in europe by the time, and i went to a men's conference. in germany. and there was an army doctor there, and he had adopted two boys from hungary. one thing led to another and we began to explore how he did that process. and we used the facilitator, a marvelous lady, maria, she lives in san diego. she and her husband were there to very small children -- the oldest was 18 months -- they fled and they made it over the mountains into austria. vice president nixon picked five families to become instant u.s. citizens, and they were one of the families. a miracle story. she worked for the department of defense for years after that. when she retired, she began to work to place orphaned children becausery with soldiers
she had such love for the military. and one thing led to another and we adopted a set of orphaned siblings. they were 5, 6, and eight. -- and 8. they are all in the oklahoma city metro area. my oldest daughter, she has graduated from college and rent the business. my oldest son, he works for hitachi. the are all doing pretty good. they are trying to find their way. i got them all to 18 without incident or crime, so i am thankful for that. now it is on them to make a good life for their own. host: what about your life here in washington as a member of congress. what is your objective? mr. russell: i think the main thing is that we need to get back to the basis -- basics of life, liberty, and property.
the government has a federal role. abraham lincoln put it really well when he said those things that we want to do ourselves, the government ought not to do -- ought not to interfere. i think that we ought to keep it in that perspective. it is tempting for the government to take over every aspect of it. the american people are resilient. they largely want to be left alone. they are willing to pay some taxes for roads and schools and things we all collectively need. but they don't want a government ,hat tells them what to eat what to drink, how to be closed. thed.os i hope to bring that reminder as we go back and look at our
framing documents right ear in this town. magnificent to see them. they remind us that we can pursue that happiness, that we do have life liberty and property. and the government has to protect those things and also promote good policy to protect those things. not takeaway and encroach upon it. host: can you carry on with those principles it also compromise with democrats? mr. russell: sure. i think the framing of the constitution was a giant compromise. you have the states that one of atonomy, you had the need for road and communication and defense system that they couldn't really provide, and so they were really -- willing to ditch the articles of confederation for the constitution. james madison and alexander hamilton and many others, they debated, they studied, the look
that passed democracy's and wonder why they failed and determined that we needed a representative republic with checks and balances so one side cannot usurp the other. and then even divided further among the branches. so when we hear complaints that you can't get anything done in washington, it was designed that way. it was designed so there would be competing interests. i think when you come to overlapping circles of need, that is where you can find the thing where most americans can get behind. and already beginning to do some of it. was a democrat, my mom republican. i think it is important to listen to both sides. no person is the front of all the loves. i learned something from everybody i talk to.
and i think it is important we keep that perspective to at a minimum, we will be more solidified in defending our believes that they were correct. but we may gain new information that persuades us to a better view. and you can't do that if you don't build relationships. and that is a problem. we have to work on that more. host: any thoughts on how long you intend to serve? mr. russell: i really haven't. i just find it amazing that i'm here. and i'm very humbled and honored. and i think as long as the people of oklahoma feel that i can represent them well, i am enjoying your work. i wouldn't say i like the work, that is a strong word, but enjoying it, i do enjoy the work. i have life experiences as a businessman, as a soldier, as an author, a speaker, i bring a lot to the table. i have worked with teams my
entire life, building them, leading them, solving tremendous problems. and so i feel equipped to be here, and i hope to be useful to the country for as long as that is practical. host: not on a policy side, but on the personal side, what is the biggest challenge of being a member of congress? mr. russell: your time is completely consumed by handlers and others. and i think having time for my family, i am fortunate that cindy and i with our kids being all grown, we travel back and forth together. the government doesn't pay for us to keep an apartment here or her to come up, but there is a cost if you don't. and we are still rather fond of each other after all of these years, so we have determined we want to do that.
and she has been a great support to me. and i think that building milstein's of margins in your life so that you can take a step back with a fresh look, and then i have tried to keep fit my whole life. it allows me to have a clear head and good energy. so china to find the time for that has been a challenge, but it is doable. host: congressman steve russell of oklahoma, thank you for your time. mr. russell: thank you. announcer: a live picture from the world war ii memorial here in washington dc as visitors here taking part in veterans day ceremonies, visiting a number of the war monuments. that is former kansas senator bob dole. he is a veteran of world war ii. he was wounded in battle. again, live picture from the world war ii memorial here in washington dc. congress are recognizing this holiday, offering tributes and remarks,
as we watch former senator dole. a statementeleased saying, today, we honor the courageous men and women who selflessly placed their lives on the line in defense of the freedoms we cherish show deeply -- so deeply. together as a nation, we can salute their service by working to shore veterans receive care and support they have earned and deserve. and congressman jeff miller said this in a statement this morning, the debt we all our veterans and not be overstated -- the debt we owe our veterans cannot be overstated. and from the world war ii memorial, we will go live now to arlington national cemetery, where ceremonies are underway at the tomb of the unknown soldier. president obama arriving shortly to do the traditional
>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. >> [applause] [cheering] [applause] ♪ [applause] ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the procession of our nation's colors. as we march on the colors, the united states army band will play the national mark. please place your hand over your heart or vendor a hand salute. render a hand salute.
>> please remain standing for prayer for all veterans, delivered by the associate director, national chaplain center. >> let us pray. veterans andof nations, you are so awesome in all your ways. we give you thanks on this veterans day for the devotion and courage of all those who uniformn our nation's and offered military service for this country that we could now enjoy such freedoms. we thank you for our veterans service organizations, who make
every day of the year veterans day. god, we a nation, oh honor veterans who have answered the call to serve, to protect our american way of life. we honor veterans who suffer from the visible and invisible wounds of war. we honor veterans who have laid down their lives for others. and we honor their surviving families and the sacrifices they have made. god, we thank you for our nation's veterans willingness to and borneur behalf, hardship in war and in peace time. oh god, we ask that on this veterans day you would encourage and heal those in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, or amending their wounds at home. help us, o god, to never forget our comrades who enlisted and
are missing in action. help us to bring them and be returning warriors to a peaceful life at home. give to us your people of this ation grateful hearts and united will to honor these men and women, and hold them always in your love and our prayers until your will is perfected in peace and all wars cease. god, give us all a sense of humor and find something to make us smile. as we remember the good times and celebrate our nation's veterans. amen. >> amen. invite i would like to mr. norbert ryan junior, military officer association of america, to lead us in the pledge of allegiance.
>> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> please, be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee. the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to hold this annual observance in honor of our american veterans and to support veterans day observances throughout the nation. please hold your applause until i have introduced the special guests to if able, please stand when your name is called. norbert ryan junior, national president, military officers association of america. gene, national president, polish legion of american veterans. president,national
korean war veterans association , national g.i. forum. amanda crawford, catholic war veterans of the usa. edward senior, national commander, american express and her's of war. ex-prisoners of war. bloom, national commander, jewish war veterans of the usa. president, vietnam veterans of america. chief, , commander in veterans of foreign wars of the united states. james pidgeon, national commander. dale sanford, national president, lighted veterans association. carl good junior, national
commander, army and navy union of the usa. commander,street, noncommissioned officers administration. david -- , national vice commander, the american legion. robert husker, national commander, military order of the purple heart. president, national fleet reserve association. richard gore senior, national -- , marine corps league. lyman smith, executive director, military chaplain association. william mullen, national commander, legion of valor of the usa. mike plummer, deputy legislative director, national association of uniformed services. ruth hamilton, commander-in-chief, military order of the world wars. lawrence hyland, national
president, the retired enlisted association. thomas kelly, congressional medal of honor society. and moses mccants is junior, national commander, disabled american veterans. the associate members of the committee are located in the boxes to my left. i would like to ask the president and national commander to comprise our associate membership to stand and be recognized. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing our veterans national leadership with your applause. >> [applause] [applause] pleasure to my introduce our veterans organization host for 2015. the military officers
association of america. moaa is the largest and most influential association of officers. it is the leading voice representing active duty, guard, and reserve, retired, and former officers of all seven uniformed services and force for a powerful equitable treatment for all of those who have served their country in uniform. moa's network of affiliate chapters across the u.s. actively promotes the concept of lifetime service at the national, state and community levels. as you can see, they live their motto. at moa, we never stop serving. they are recommended --
represented today by their national president. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome mr. norbert ryan jr. [applause] mr. president, mr. vice president. secretary and mrs. mcdonald. secretary and mrs. carter. members of congress. members of the joint chiefs of staff and spouses. medal of honor recipients. fellow veterans. members of the armed forces. gold star families and other distinguished guests. ladies and gentlemen. good morning and welcome. to all in attendance here and across the country on this most important day, veterans day. for the military officers association of america to cohost this year's ceremony, a first in our 86 year history of providing leadership on
behalf of the entire military family. americans to all honor the inspiring shared sacrifice and commitment of past and present members of the armed forces. thankfully, honor, valor, and love of country have always been the defining characteristics of america's military from bunker hill to the mountains of campus in afghanistan. but the battlefield is not the exclusive birthplace of heroism. our nation's heroes are also here at home in the form of the families and loved ones of our returning warriors who provide the care and understanding that enable them to regain a life of normal the. -- normalcy. the individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life of veterans in ways big and small.
veterans day reminds us that this nation's greatest asset is not our leading-edge technology, rich farmland, or material wealth. our nations greatest treasure is our sons and daughters who served and sacrificed in their nation's uniform. that is why we never stop serving. those who serve or have served. for if we do, we risk breaking the faith that will inspire future generations to serve. thank you for joining us this morning and getting thanks to all those who served. may god bless all veterans and make on a listless -- may god bless the united states of america. [applause] please welcome the honorable
robert mcdonnell, secretary of veterans affairs. [applause] >> mr. president and vice president biden, thank you both for your leadership and your steady strong advocate for our nation's veterans, service members, there emily's, and survivors. their families, and survivors. respect for our veterans abiding commitment. for those who have served, thank you. medal of honor recipients thomas kelly and brian thacker were honored by your courage and your heroism in battle. secretary carter and your wife, white house chief of staff, administrator mccarthy, united states trigger presented of --
senatorsative, collins, franken, cotton, tell us, and sullivan, your spouses and guests. ambassador rice, chairman silva, generall grass, general welsh, general miley, admiral richardson, general mellor, all your spouses and guests. distinguished leaders of the department of defense and military services, former v.a. administrator harry walters, vice admiral norm ryan. military officers association of america, our cohost are this year's celebration and all the representatives of our veterans service organizations. fellow veterans, members of our armed forces, ladies and gentlemen. know, president is scheduled to present
the medal of honor to an american soldier tomorrow. captain retired florence gruenberg. tomorrow will remark the 10th time in living service member has received our nation's highest valor award for actions in afghanistan or iraq. seven more were posthumously awarded the metal. at tomorrow's ceremony, president obama will address the specifics of captain grover heroism. but let me say that in the worst of circumstances and without hesitation, captain gerbert acted in a manner that saved the lives of many of his comrades. tragically he could not save them all. was informed last month that he would receive the medal of honor, he said, "this metal belongs to them. it's my mission to tell everyone thank you for recognizing me but this does not belong to me. it lungs to the -- it belongs to them. that's how i'm coping with them
mentally. it gives you the opportunity to represent them have their families. " for almost two and a half centuries, they have selflessly answered the call to arms to preserve and defend the ideas behind the words that are both vision and conscious of our democracy. we hold these truths to be self-evident. that all men are created equal. they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. each generation has done its part to deliver a strong and free america to the next generation. they have done so with great determination, personal toughness, and willingness to risk it all for others. this veterans day, we want to acknowledge those who served in
two difficult conflicts. this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of world war ii. and the beginning of our 50th commemoration of the decade-long war in vietnam. to those who fought in both wars, thank you for yourself the service. -- your selfless service. americans are grateful for your sacrifices. the president understands and values the service and sacrifice of veterans. i have provided strong resources for care and benefits. support of the new g.i. bill to educate the next generation of american leaders. v.a.ndous support to help drive down the backlog in claims by almost 90% and improve access to quality health care for all veterans. in hispresident said state of the union address this year, as a new generation of veterans come home, we them every opportunity to live the american dream they help defend.
-- the first lady and dr. jill biden are also unwavering supporters. they have joined forces to bring the public and private sectors together in support of employment of service members, veterans and their family members among many other initiatives. veterans could not ask for stronger advocates and our president, vice president, and their wives. ladies and gentlemen, it is a great personal and professional honor to present to you our commander-in-chief. in welcoming the president of the united states, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. please be seated. thank you. bob for your service to our nation.
as an army airborne ranger. and your tireless work on behalf of your fellow veterans. biden, president joe general dunford, major general becker, distinguished guests. veteransutstanding service organizations and their leadership. our men and women in uniform. to our proudll, veterans and your families. it is a great privilege to be with you once again. and to captain laurent gruenberg, tomorrow will be my honor to present you with the medal of honor, our nation's highest military declaration. -- decoration. to all of our veterans here today, to veterans across
america, whether you served on the beaches of europe, the jungles of asia, the deserts of the middle east. whether you served here at home or overseas, in wartime or in peace. whether you served proudly in the army, navy, air force, you are or coast guard, part of an unbroken chain of patriot who have served this country with honor through the life of our nation. grounds, for generations of heroes have come to rest, we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. and today we gather once more to salute every patriot who was ever proudly wore the uniform of the united states of america. yearsear as we mark 70
since our victory in the second , we pay special tribute to a generation that literally saved the world. we are joined by several of those heroes including our oldest known female world war colonel army lieutenant luda c mcgrath who this year turns 108. [applause] there she is. [applause] and i would ask all of our veterans and families of world
war ii, if you can stand, please stand or raise your hand so america can thank you one more time. [applause] today in big cities and small towns across our country, there will be ceremonies around flat and parades down main street -- flagpoles and parades down main street to properly explicit our gratitude and show our appreciation to men and women who serve so that we might live free. it is right that we do so. but our attributes will ring hollow if we stop there. if tomorrow after the parades and ceremonies we roll up the banners and sweep the veterans halls and go back to our daily lives, forgetting the bond
between the service of our veterans and our obligations as as citizens, we will be doing a profound disservice to our veterans and the very cause for which they serve. this day is not only about gratitude for what they have done for us. alls also a reminder of that they still have to give to our nation and our duty to them. that's what i want to talk about briefly today. we're in the midst of a new wave of american veterans. in recent years more than one million of our minute women in uniform, many of them veterans of afghanistan and iraq, have completed their military service and return to civilian life. each year at least another 200,000 do the same. veteransgeneration of are joining the ranks of those who have come before, including many of you are veterans of
korea and vietnam. will ringes today hollow if we do not ensure that our veterans receive the care that you have earned and that you deserve. news is that in recent years we have made historic investments to boost the v.a. budget, expand benefits, offer more mental health care and improved care for our wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress and dramatic brain injury. we have now/the disability claims backlog by nearly 90%. we are reducing the outrage of veterans homelessness and have helped tens of thousands of our veterans get off the streets. the unacceptable problems that we've seen like long wait times and some veterans not getting the timely care that they need is a challenge for all of us. if we are to match our words with these.
and my message to every single veteran, to veterans all across this country is that i am still not satisfied and bob mcdonnell is still not satisfied and we are going to keep investing in the facilities and the physicians and staff to make sure that our veterans get the care that you need when you need it. that is our obligation and we're not going to let up. [applause] our tributes today will also bring hollow if we don't provide our veterans with the jobs and opportunities that you need when you come home. that's why we've helped more than 1.5 million veterans and their families pursue an education under the post-9/11 g.i. bill. that's why we work to make sure that every state now provides veterans and their families with in-state tuition. we are fighting to make it easier for our veterans to get the licenses and certifications to transition the
outstanding skills they gained in the armed services to civilian jobs. it's why we are helping more veterans and military spouses find jobs. and today the veterans unemployment rate is down to 3.9%, even lower than the national average. [applause] but this can't just be a job for government. we all have a role to play. realize that with less than 1% of americans serving in uniform, the other 99 percent of folks don't always see and appreciate the incredible skills and assets that are veterans can offer. on this veterans day, here's what i want every american to know. our veterans are some of the most talented, driven, capable people on earth.
think about the leadership that they've learned, twentysomethings leading platoons in life or death situations. the cutting-edge technology that they've mastered. their ability to adapt to changing and unpredictable situations. they can perform under pressure. they've helped reconstruct townsend mediate disputes. large-scaleged projects, learned how to work on teams, stay committed to a mission, solve seemingly intractable problems, they get stuff done and they are selfless and they are brave and they are qualified and america needs folks who know how to get stuff done. [applause] if you can save a life on the battlefield, you can save a life in an ambulance. oryou can oversee a convoy millions of dollars of assets in a conflict zone, you sure can help manage a company supply change. in.
if you can maintain the most advanced weapons in the world, surely you can manufacture the next generation of advanced tech knowledge he right here at home -- technology writer at home. right here at home. away theirve put uniforms but they are not finish serving their country. that includes wounded warriors who tell me they want to keep serving again. they are the people we need to keep america competitive in the 21st century. that's why more companies are hiring veterans. not out of charity. not out of patriotism or some moral obligation, although they do have those obligations. but because they know it's good for their bottom line. every day our veterans help keep america strong. every day. responding to natural disasters here at home and around the world, working to end homelessness and get more of
their brothers and sisters in arms the resources they need to transition into billion life. starting their own businesses. like the veterans who started a coffee shop that so good my own stuff loaded to have it served in the white house. voted to have it served in the white house. [applause] we consume a lot of coffee in the white house. those guys are pretty heroic. moms and its,re teachers and doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, social workers and community leaders. they are serving and statehouses across the country, serving in congress. , retired proud veteran navy captain scott kelly, commander of the international space station up there right now. just became the american astronaut to serve the longest consecutive late in space -- flight in space. [applause]
our veterans are already making america great every single day. so my message today is simple. if you want to get the job done, vet.e a if your school system needs dedicated passionate teachers, hiring veteran. who neede a nonprofit leaders i can follow through on a vision, hire a veteran. every sector, every industry, every community can benefit from the talents of our veterans. they are ready to serve and they will make you proud. [applause] i want to give you one example. named jennifer madden. jen joined the army at 17 years old to she wanted to be just like her grandpa.
a korean war veteran. her very first day of basic training was september 11 2001. she deployed to afghanistan where she pulled security details during attacks. she lost one of her close friends in combat. she tried to home get back into her old life, but she found she simply couldn't stay focused in school or at work. she was struggling to relate to her family and friends. soon she was self-medicating and became homeless. jen felt like she had lost her mission. her sense of purpose. but then thanks to an organization that connects veterans with therapist who donate their time, jen was able to get counseling at no charge. she started dealing with her
ptsd. with a lot of hard work, she started pulling her life back together. jen and the love of her life josh are raising two beautiful children. she is a licensed nurse. she works at a rehab facility helping folks who are just like her. including veterans get back on their feet. biden'sichelle and jill joining forces initiative, she is an advocate for her fellow veterans. want jenre today and i to stand if she can because i want everybody to thank her for her courage, for example, her telling her story. we are extraordinarily grateful. thank you, jen. [applause] and i tell jen story because
like all our brave women in uniform, jen represents the best of who we are as a nation. andhas sacrificed for us sometimes has the scars seen and unseen that are part of that sacrifice. and she is an example of what's possible when we express our gratitude not just in words, not just on one day, but through deeds every day. when we open our hearts and give hope to our returning heroes. and we harness your talents and your drive and when we honor your inherent sense of purpose and in how are continue serving the country loved. what has always made america great, what has always made us exceptional, are the patriots who generation after generation dedicate themselves to building
a nation that is stronger, freer, a little more perfect. on this day and every day. we thank you. god bless our veterans and your families and god bless the united states of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join the united states army band in singing god bless america. ♪ god bless america