President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome the Combatant Commanders, the leaders of America's Armed Forces, to the White House for dinner on Tuesday, May 15th. Their spouses will also attend the 7:00 PM dinner in the Blue Room, as will Vice President Joe Biden. The dinner, the third the President has hosted for the Combatant Commanders, comes on the eve of the Commander in Chief holding a Medal of Honor ceremony on Wednesday, May 16th at the White House. (Above: The President at last year's dinner in the Blue Room)
Ahead of the dinner, the President and Vice President will meet with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in the Oval Office at 4:30, and with the Combatant Commanders in the Cabinet Room at 5:30.
The dinner, like the two previous affairs for the Combatant Commanders, will be closed to press. The White House did not release a menu for the 2011 dinner held on March 15th, but the entree was steak. The 2010 dinner menu was described by the White House as "a chicken dish with winter vegetables; soup; and cherry cobbler." There was no high-profile entertainer invited to wow the guests, as often happens at such dinners, but The President's Own Marine Corps Band played.
The Pentagon's top brass most recently dined with the President and Mrs. Obama on February 29th of this year, at the A Nation's Gratitude Dinner. The black tie dinner marked the end of the war in Iraq. On May 1, the President made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to discuss the troop draw down and to meet with service men and women.
On Wednesday, President Obama will posthumously award Specialist Leslie H. Sabo, Jr., U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his heroic actions in combat on May 10, 1970, while serving as a rifleman in Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Se San, Cambodia. Specialist Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown and his brother, George Sabo, will join the President "to commemorate his example of selfless service and sacrifice," the White House said.
Military families were honored at the White House last Thursday, May 10th, when Mrs. Obama hosted a Joining Forces Mother's Day Tea. The First Lady and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces to support and honor military families in April of 2011. Visit JoiningForces.gov for more information.
*Photo by Pete Souza/White House; the President was seated beside Sgt. Jonny J. Jones, USMC at the dinner, the White House said. *Updated