Admiral Mike Mullen, responding to a remark by Senator John McCain implying that Mullen does not have a handle on the dangers of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, because as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs he “doesn’t command troops”:
“With all due respect, Mr. Chairman and Sen. McCain, it is true that, as chairman, I am not in charge of troops. But I have commanded three ships, a carrier battle group and two fleets. And I was most recently a service chief myself. For more than 40 years I have made decisions that affected and even risked the lives of young men and women.
“You do not have to agree with me on this issue. But don’t think for one moment that I haven’t carefully considered the impact of the advice I give on those who will have to live with the decisions that that advice informs. I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor.”
Fact is, as a Naval Aviator who flew single-seat jets, McCain never commanded anyone.