Donald Rumsfeld, who twice served as US Secretary of Defense, dies at 88

He held the position under Gerald Ford and George W. Bush

FILE - This Oct. 11, 2011 file photo shows former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaking during a luncheon on security in rising Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan. Rumsfeld has a book coming out in May 2013. “Rumsfeld’s Rules” compiles observations on leadership and organization he has made over his decades spent in government and private business. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, file) (Wally Santana, Associated Press)

A longtime American servant, Donald Rumsfeld died on Wednesday.

The 88-year-old held the role of Secretary of Defense twice, first under Gerald Ford and then, under George W. Bush.

Prior to being Secretary of Defense for Ford, he was the president’s Chief of Staff.

Regarded by former colleagues as equally smart and combative, patriotic and politically cunning, Rumsfeld had a storied career under four presidents and nearly a quarter-century in corporate America.

In 2001 he began his second tour as Pentagon chief under President George W. Bush, but his plan to “transform” the armed forces was overshadowed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He oversaw the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, where he was blamed for setbacks including the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and for being slow to recognize a violent insurgency.