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thedrifter
09-27-06, 07:59 AM
September 26, 2006
Source: Hagee to retire Nov. 13

By Christian Lowe
Staff writer

`Gen. Mike Hagee will celebrate one more birthday ball as commandant, then retire in mid-November, Marine Corps Times has learned.

A defense official who was not authorized to disclose the date confirmed that Hagee’s retirement is set for Nov. 13, three days after the Corps’ 231st birthday.

Rumors have swirled around precisely when Hagee would step down, with some Marine sources saying he’d be pushed out as early as this summer. Hagee’s four-year term was to end in January 2007.

Hagee broke ranks with the Pentagon in February when he called for a permanent end-strength increase of 5,000 Marines to 180,000. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s long-range strategic plan unveiled weeks earlier called for the Corps to hold at 175,000, and some saw Hagee’s stance as a possible reason for his early retirement — an allegation Marine officials denied.

Former I Marine Expeditionary Force commander Lt. Gen. James Conway will take Hagee’s place as commandant. He was confirmed by the Senate in August after telling lawmakers that a wide-ranging Marine Corps study confirmed Hagee’s call for an end-strength hike.

Ellie