Donald Rumsfeld

The 13th and 21st Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld has been in business and government through eight decades of American history.  A former naval aviator, Rumsfeld served as a U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford, Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East under President Ronald Reagan, and Chief Executive Officer of two Fortune 500 companies and Chairman of a third.

Donald Rumsfeld
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July 9, 1932

Donald Henry Rumsfeld is born July 9th in Chicago, IL, the second child to George and Jeannette Rumsfeld.  His sister, Joan, is 2 years old. 

 
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1943

After George Rumsfeld joins the U.S. Navy (at age 39), the family moves from their home in Illinois to a blimp base near Elizabeth City, NC, then to East Port Orchard, WA where George Rumsfeld is assigned to the escort aircraft carrier USS Hollandia, CVE97, as the hanger deck officer.  ​

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1945

The Rumsfelds move again to Coronado, CA where George’s ship departs for the Pacific war. Rumsfeld (at age 13) is selling newspapers at the ferry dock in Coronado on V - J Day.

 
 
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1949

As an Eagle Scout, Rumsfeld took his first airplane trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, beginning a lifelong interest in New Mexico.

 
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1950

Rumsfeld has his first date with Joyce Pierson, taking her to their Senior Prom.

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1954

Rumsfeld graduates Princeton University and is commissioned Ensign in the U.S. Navy. 

 
 
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1954

Adlai Stevenson addresses Rumsfeld's senior class at Princeton University.  The former governor of Illinois and Democratic Presidential candidate warned, "If those young Americans who have the advantage of education, perspective and self-discipline do not participate to the fullest extent of their ability, America will stumble, and if America stumbles the world falls." 

 
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1962

At age 30, Rumsfeld is elected to the U.S. Congress from the 13th Congressional district of Illinois.

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1965

Rumsfeld and the Young Turks manage the successful campaign of Congressman Gerald Ford for Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

 
 
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1974

Rumsfeld is named White House Chief of Staff.

 
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1977

Rumsfeld becomes President, CEO and Member of the Board of Directors of G.D. Searle & Co.

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2001

Rumsfeld is sworn in at the 21st Secretary of Defense.