Breitbart reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter passed away this week following a “sudden cardiac event.”
The 68-year-0ld is said to have died unexpectedly on Tuesday, one day after experiencing an incident with his heart. Carter served as defense secretary under former President Barack Obama from February 2015 to January 2017.
According to the Associated Press, Carter made headlines in 2015 when he moved to allow female members of the military to serve in combat roles.
“I made the decision to admit women to all military specialties without exception,” Carter was quoted as saying in an interview regarding the decision.
Carter stressed that women make up “50% of the population,” before adding, “We can’t afford to leave off the table half of the population who can, if they’re the ones who have the best qualifications, do the job.”
The defense secretary again aroused controversy the following year when he ended the ban on transgender people from military service.
“Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so,” Carter declared in June of 2016.
“Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission,” he insisted.
“A born patriot”
For his part, President Joe Biden issued a statement praising Carter as “a born patriot” who had “a strong, steady moral compass and a vision of using his life for public purpose.”
Biden described Carter as having been “a leader on all the major national security issues of our times – from nuclear deterrence to proliferation prevention to missile defense to emerging technology challenges to the fight against Al Qaida and ISIS.
“He opened every field of military service to women and protected the rights of transgender service members,” the president added.
“Jill and I grieve with the entire Carter family, including Stephanie, Will, and Ava, and countless friends and colleagues across the world who are mourning this sudden loss of a great American.”