CNN’s Barbara Starr Receives Standing Ovation at Final Defense Department Press Briefing

By Mark Mwachiro 

Tuesday was Barbara Starr’s last day with CNN, and even though it was a quiet one on her Pentagon beat, it had a memorable ending.

At the conclusion of the Pentagon press briefing, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder took a few moments to fête Starr on her storied career and work covering the Department of Defense.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to say farewell to our media colleague, Miss Barbara Starr. Barbara has reported for CNN for over 20 years and has been a fixture in the Pentagon Press Corps, and today marks her final day with CNN after a storied and fully-impressive — excuse me — truly impressive career.”


He added, “So Barbara, on behalf of Secretary of Defense Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley, and the entire Department of Defense, I would like to extend a special congratulations and thank you for your many years of timely, insightful and important reporting on our nation’s most pressing defense issues. And as someone who has worked with you for many of those last 20 years and someone who has had to take your late-night phone calls and emails and answer your tough, but fair questions, I can say from personal experience that the U.S. public and audiences worldwide have been well served by your in-depth reporting from the Pentagon, your journalistic integrity and your determination to tell the stories of service members worldwide, and to ensure the government and DOD remain transparent and accountable to the taxpayers and the American public they serve. Congratulations again, and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

Immediately after Gen Ryder’s remarks, Starr received a round of applause and a standing ovation from her fellow colleagues and all those who were present during the press briefing.

A humbled Starr responded with a simple “Thank you.”

U.S. Central Command also posted a message on Starr’s last day, tweeting, “Her aggressive reporting and tireless commitment to the truth brought this Nation closer to its military. She will forever be missed.”

Starr announced in early December that she would be departing CNN once her contract expires.

She joined CNN from ABC News in 2001, where she had worked for the previous three years as a Pentagon producer contributing across ABC News’ slate of programming.

Over her roughly 20 years at CNN, Starr made repeated trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa, where she has been embedded with the U.S. military. She traveled to Beirut in 2006 with U.S. Marines tasked with evacuating Americans during Israel’s war with Hezbollah. Starr has also reported directly from the Persian Gulf, Russia, Central America, and the Chinese-North Korean border.

Throughout her career, Starr has profiled wounded troops, the plight of homeless vets and reported on the fallen regularly from Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.