Gen. Richard B. Myers
Photography by Dan Sellers

How does one of the world’s most powerful men face the end of his career? As he’s approached everything: with INTEGRITY, HONESTY AND CHARITY.

Richard B. Myers, a retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has served in a position of command since the Vietnam War. His résumé is a litany of positions of authority and responsibility, having been the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the U.S. Space Command, the Air Force Space Command, the Pacific Air Forces, the U.S. Forces Japan and two fighter wings.

And then, in 2005, he retired. Just don’t tell him that.

Now You Know: As many as 250,000 recent veterans across the U.S. are currently looking for employment.

“I am retired from the military, but I’m not retired,” Gen. Myers stresses. “I probably travel more now than I did when I was the chairman.”

Among his current contributions is two years and counting as the chairman of the United Service Organizations’ (USO) Board of Governors. But his most recent endeavor has been spearheading the General Richard B. Myers Veterans Biomedical Equipment Technology Program, a new effort in partnership with nonprofit medical-supply company MediSend International that trains returning soldiers to be biomedical technicians. Myers recently reflected on his 40 years of service and explained the inception and goals of his namesake program in an interview with American Way.

AMERICAN WAY: What was your thought process about leaving the military?
Gen. Richard Myers: Gen. Bernie Rogers, when he retired from European Command, said, “I’m gonna have three priorities when I retire: One is make a little money, because we don’t make much in the military; two, give back; and three, spend more time with family and friends.” I said, “That sounds pretty good.” I thought that was a pretty common-sense approach to it.

Some people do have problems letting go. But in the military, it’s traditional up through all the ranks that your time in a command position is for a fixed term, and then it’s over. I used to say when I was chairman [of the Joint Chiefs] that I was in the last few years of a dead-end job because there was no place to go after that.