Donald Rumsfeld Biography
Donald Rumsfeld was a Navy pilot, Secretary of Defense under US President Ford’s presidency, and a White House Chief of Staff. He was also the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, under the presidency of Richard Nixon. Rumsfeld, as the 21st Secretary of Defense, was responsible for directing forces to attack Afghanistan and was a strong supporter of the Iraq War that was instrumental in toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Born in Chicago on July 9, 1932, Donald Harold Rumsfeld was the son of Jeannette Huster Rumsfeld and George Donald Rumsfeld, a real estate salesman. During his teenage years, Rumsfeld was a champion wrestler at the New Tier High School. After he graduated from high school, Rumsfeld attended Princeton University on an academic and NROTC scholarship and became the captain of the football and the wrestling teams. Rumsfeld was considered to be a tough guy in college and would bet for one-arm push-ups for money.
Between 1954 and 1957, Rumsfeld was in the U.S. Navy as an aviator and flight instructor. He served as Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977.
The 1980s saw Rumsfeld serving as an Advisor to the Ronald Reagan administration. However, most of his time was spent in the private industry. He spent eight years as the CEO of pharmaceutical giant G.S. Searle and Co. In 2001, Rumsfeld returned to the Pentagon, and served as the 21st Secretary of Defense. After the 9/11 incident in 2001, Rumsfeld directed the attack on Afghanistan and was a strong proponent of invading Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was severely criticized for the war in Iraq, both by civilian and military critics, especially for the slow rate of success and growing expenses.
Rumsfeld officially stepped down in December of 2006 and was replaced by Robert Gates.