John Kerry meets Chuck Hagel at Pentagon
Washington: Before heading for Russia, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday met Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in the first meeting of the two top officials at the Pentagon since they both took their respective offices.
During the working lunch, the two leaders discussed a range of national security issues, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
This was the first meeting of the two secretaries at the Pentagon since they both took their respective offices earlier this year.
"Hagel presented Kerry with a print of a painting from the Department of Navy's art collection titled "Showing the Flag in Ca Mau (PT-71)" by Gerland Merfeld," Little said.
Merfeld made this painting in 1969 while an embedded illustrator with the US Navy. It depicts two Navy Patrol Craft Boats on the Mekong River Delta in the far south of Vietnam.
"Hagel presented this painting to remember and honour Kerry's service to the Department of Defence and the nation. This is the first time that both the sitting Secretary of State and Secretary of Defence are Vietnam War combat veterans," he said.
The original painting is part of the permanent collection of the Department of the Navy.
It is currently on exhibition at the Navy Museum in Washington DC and will be transferred to the Department of State for viewing throughout Kerry's tenure.
"Hagel was grateful to receive a signed photograph from Kerry taken during their February 2008 congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan along with then Senator Joseph Biden," Little said.