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Jul 23, 2011 7:06 PM by Matt Stafford

Obama mourns 'soldier-statesman' Shalikashvili

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the United States has lost a "genuine soldier-statesman" with the death of Army Gen. John Shalikashvili.

Shalikashvili was the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Obama said Shalikashvili's "extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it."

Shalikashvili was born in Poland and came to the U.S. as a 16-year-old and became the top U.S. general under President Bill Clinton.

Obama said Shalikashvili forged closer ties with Russia and former Soviet states. Under his tenure he also oversaw successful military operations in Bosnia, Haiti and elsewhere.

Obama also praised Shalikashvili for improving the life of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen and their families.

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