(Senate - December 21, 2017)

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[Pages S8250-S8251]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, as co-chair of the Air Force Caucus, I 
rise to pay tribute to Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, who served this 
country faithfully for over 51 years, 35 years as an Air Force fighter 
pilot and another 16 years as an Air Force and joint senior mentor to 
leaders and future leaders of our military. Lieutenant General Short 
passed away on 27 October after a battle with cancer, and for those who 
knew him, it is the only battle he ever lost.
  Born in Princeton, NJ, on 24 February 1944, Lieutenant General Short 
was the only child of Janet MacDonald Short and Charles Francis Short. 
He grew up in a military family and lived in New Jersey, North 
Carolina, Japan, Kentucky, Mississippi, and France. Lieutenant General 
Short's father, Charles, was a paratrooper and a member of the 82nd 
Airborne Division. When Lieutenant General Short was born, his father 
was stationed in England preparing for the D-Day invasion. On 6 June 
1944, Charles Short jumped into occupied France as a member of the 
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge 
and helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.
  As most military children, Lieutenant General Short attended several 
schools growing up and excelled athletically and academically at every 
one. He attended high school in France, participating on his school's 
football, basketball and baseball teams, and graduating at the top of 
his class. Lieutenant General Short applied for and was accepted into 
the U.S. Air Force Academy, entering as a basic cadet on 26 June 1961.
  In February 1965, then-Cadet First Class Short met the love of his 
life, Virginia Suhonen, a fourth-grade school teacher, in Manitou 
Springs, CO. Lieutenant General Short graduated the Air Force Academy 
on 6 June 1965 and married Jini on 14 August 1965, and together, they 
began an incredible journey of partnership and selfless service to each 
other and our Nation that lasted 52 years.
  Their first of 23 assignments began at Webb Air Force Base in Texas, 
where he attended pilot training. Follow-on assignments included 
Arizona, South Vietnam, Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, 
Thailand, Philippines, the Pentagon, North Carolina, Nevada, Texas, 
Virginia, Germany, and Italy. Along the way, they grew their family, 
with Jini giving birth to a son, Christopher, and daughter, Jennifer. 
They lovingly welcomed in their daughter-in-law Brooke and son-in-law 
Scott, and celebrated the birth of five grandchildren, Emily, Rachel, 
Sara, Jacob, and Katie. Of course, no family is complete without its 
pets and those who knew the Shorts will always remember Hobo, Bogie, 
and Muppet. Lieutenant General Short understood the importance of 
family and was a devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather. He was 
also an airmen's airman.
  Lieutenant General Short exemplified what the Nation should demand of 
its military members and senior leaders. He was a master in the 
profession of arms, a master of employing the military tool of national 
power, and a master instructor to generations of officers who continue 
to follow him and keep his legacy alive in service to our Nation. Upon 
earning his silver wings, he began a flying career focused on fighter 
aviation. He amassed over 4,600 flying hours and flew the F-4C, F-4D, 
F-4E, RF-4C, F-102, F-106, A-7, F-117, A-10, F-15E, and F-16. He flew 
276 combat missions over Vietnam in the F-4, flew and commanded combat 
missions during Desert Storm in the F-15E, and directed over 35,000 
combat missions during Operation Allied Force over Yugoslavia.
  In 1969, then-Captain Short, an F-4C pilot, was awarded the Silver 
Star for courageous action in Vietnam. General Short was enroute to a 
target in North Vietnam when he was diverted to support an F-105 pilot 
that was shot down, had ejected, and was in the water off the coast of 
North Vietnam. He was tasked to take out the antiaircraft artillery 
sites that had shot down the F-105 so they could bring in the rescue 
aircraft. Both he and his wingman were hit multiple times by 
antiaircraft artillery but were able to make it back to base safety 
after delivering all their rockets on target, knocking out the gun 
sites, and enabling the rescue of the downed F-105 pilot.
  In 1986, then-Colonel Short was hand-picked to be the operations 
group commander of the 4450th Tactical Group at Nellis Air Force Base, 
which operated the highly classified F-117A stealth fighter. He soloed 
in the F-117A on 14 January 1986, Bandit 199, and commanded the group 
until 1988.
  In 1995, Lieutenant General Short was the chief of staff to the 
commander of NATO's Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy, 
during Operation Deliberate Force, NATO's first air campaign, that 
brought the war in Bosnian-Herzegovina to an end. The following year, 
as the director of operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe, he was 
responsible for the deployment and sustainment of NATO forces and their 
equipment in Bosnia-Herzegovina during and after Operation Joint 
Endeavour. Gen George Joulwan, the then-Supreme Commander Europe, said, 
``He did the planning for the bombing of Bosnia in 1995 and then, when 
we put the force into Bosnia, he was critical coordinating the air 
transport. He was impressive because he was not only professional but 
innovative--this was all new stuff''
  In 1998, Lieutenant General Short returned to Naples, Italy, now as 
the commander NATO's Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, leading the 19-
member NATO alliance and directing all air operations in southern 
Europe. It was during this time our Nation called on General Short's 
expertise in the employment of military power to try and achieve peace. 
Lieutenant General Short, who always left political discussions to 
others, was directed to travel with Richard Holbrooke to Belgrade, 
Serbia, to be part of negotiations with Federal Republic of Yugoslavian 
President Slobadan Milosevic. During the meeting, President Milosevic 
leaned forward and said to Lieutenant General Short, ``So, you are the 
man who is going to bomb me.'' Lieutenant General Short replied, 
``Well, I hope that won't be the case. I have a plan to propose to your 
generals that will prevent your country from being bombed, but in 
essence, you're right. I have U-2s in one hand and B-52s in the other, 
and the choice is up to you.'' His statement broke the tension, and the 
discussions went on from there. The negotiations successfully postponed 
the war, but on 24 March 1999, Lieutenant General Short was directed to 
begin air operations against Yugoslavia. He successfully executed 
Operation Allied Force, a 78-day NATO bombing effort to stop the 
Serbian ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo.
  Lieutenant General Short received a bachelor of science degree from 
the Air Force Academy, a master's degree in systems management from the 
University of Southern California, was a distinguished graduate of Air 
Command and Staff College and attended the Industrial College of the 
Armed Forces in Washington, DC. His decorations include the Defense 
Distinguished Service Medal with one oakleaf cluster, the AF 
Distinguished Service Medal with one oakleaf cluster, the Silver Star, 
the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oakleaf 
cluster, and the Air Medal with fourteen oakleaf clusters. In 1999, he 
was presented the Air Force Association's highest honor to a military 
member in the field of national security, the H.H. Arnold Award for 
commanding the air campaign during Operation Allied Force.
  Lieutenant General Short retired on 1 July 2000 and began 16 years of 
work as an Air Force and joint senior mentor focusing on the command 
and control of airpower. Lieutenant General Short was known and 
respected by servicemembers from all services in the United States, as 
well as our allies. He always gave clear, hard-hitting advice, passing 
on his knowledge of things he did right and things he did wrong. He 
traveled to the Republic of Korea, Qatar, and many other locations to 
advise, teach and train airmen

[[Page S8251]]

of all ranks in the art of ``operational'' level warfare. Long after 
the senior mentor ranks thinned, due to intense scrutiny and 
significant pay cuts, Lieutenant General Short stuck with the program 
because it was his passion.
  Lieutenant General Short touched many lives as evidenced by comments 
written about him by those who knew and served with him:
  ``He was a father, a husband, a grandfather and what made it all work 
was his complete devotion to those he loved and commanded. It was an 
honor to serve alongside him ``
  ``High standards, demanding, but fair. You knew where the bar was and 
he challenged you to exceed it. He pushed me to limits I did not know I 
could reach.''
  ``He was a no-nonsense leader who let his Commanders command. He was 
also a hands-on mentor who touched thousands; admired by all and will 
be greatly missed.''
  ``A superb officer, great warrior and outstanding teacher.''
  ``A great leader . . . as the Air Boss for Operation Allied Force he 
provided clear guidance and support for me and the men and women in my 
deployed Wing . . . I consider it a high honor to have served under him 
in combat!''
  ``He really was the kind of leader that made you want to work for the 
organization and its goals. His name always comes up when we talk about 
the good men in those days.''
  ``General Mike Short was a great leader and Patriot. He was a mentor 
and more importantly a friend. Mike loved his Family and his Country . 
. . he will be missed.''
  ``He did a superb job in a very tough situation. With leadership and 
top cover like that, the U.S. Air Force is unstoppable.''
  ``I will miss your words as they were always on target and well 
understood. Rolling a nickel on the grass in your remembrance, sir.''
  I extend my heartfelt thanks to Lt. Gen. Mike Short for his selfless 
service to this Nation, to his wife, Jini, and to his children, Chris 
and Jenn, and their families, for a lifetime of service to this Nation. 
Words cannot describe the extraordinary character of Lieutenant General 
Short, his accomplishments, or the lasting impact he will have on 
generations of service members. His personal accomplishments live on 
through the examples set by his son and daughter, two highly capable 
and highly respected Air Force senior officers. My prayers are with his 
family, and I pray the ``Lord Guard and Guide the Men Who Fly.''