Photos: Defense Secretary Robert Gates Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom Award

Pentagon Holds Farewell Ceremony For Robert Gates

ARLINGTON, VA – JUNE 30: United States President Barack Obama (R) presents Secretary of Defense Robert Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his Armed Services Farewell Tribute on the River Parade Field at the Pentagon June 30, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2006, Gates is credited with many landmark decisions and actions, including the turning around of the war in Iraq by directing the troop surge, the repeal of the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the handling of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal and a huge shift toward fiscal restraint in military spending. Gates will be succeeded as head of the Pentagon by CIA Director Leon Panetta. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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