'Soldier's Soldier' Becomes 37th Army Chief of Staff
(April 15, 2011)
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, April 11, 2011) - Gen.
Martin E. Dempsey was sworn in as the Army's 37th chief of
staff April 11, surrounded by an enormous family, mentors,
his classmates from the 1974 graduating class at West Point,
the secretary of the Army and the secretary of Defense.
"I'm confident that Martin Dempsey will bring the same
passion and dedication to building the Army's next
generation of leaders, guiding them with strength and vision
as he has to every other position during his impressive
career," said Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates during
the ceremony on Summerall Field at Joint Base Myer-Henderson
"Marty, you are truly a Soldier's Soldier, and
I know the Army is in able hands," Gates said.
Dempsey's first assignment was in the 2nd Armored Cavalry
Regiment, where he served as a scout and support platoon
leader and squadron adjutant. Following other duties, he
first earned a master's degree in English at Duke University
and taught at West Point, and then he earned another
master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies
at the National War College.
Dempsey served as the
commander of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad in 2003. He
then helped train the Iraqi army and police as commander of
the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
His last assignment was as commander of U.S. Army Training
and Doctrine Command, after stepping up as acting commander
of U.S. Central Command.
While the seriousness of
Dempsey's new role was on everyone's mind, the day was
sparked with humor not unlike a Dean Martin roast.
After expressing heartfelt condolences to Gen.
George W. Casey Jr. and his family, Secretary of
the Army John McHugh told the audience that
while goodbyes are an inescapable part of Army
life, it's been especially difficult, given all
that has passed in recent days in the Casey
Then, with a nod to Dean and the roast, McHugh lifted the
spirits of all when he remembered the good times with his
"There's one thing we never could agree
upon, but that's going to change with General Dempsey at the
helm. Marty, finally I thank God there's another Yankee fan
on board," McHugh said, adding that the new chief's
rendition of "New York, New York," brought down the house.
"His rise to this great height is yet another one of those
classic American immigrant success stories. One can only
imagine how different his life might have been had his
family not decided to leave New Jersey and move across the
river to New York state," McHugh said.
laughs subsided, McHugh said that he's grateful to have
Dempsey as a partner in facing the challenges of a nation at
war and the realities confronting an Army that is stressed,
strained and facing vastly different times.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh swears in Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as the 37th chief of staff of the Army, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Apr. 11, 2011. Dempsey succeeds Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the 36th chief of staff of the Army. Photo by D. Myles Cullen
sunny day gave proof that America's banner will yet wave
when 1.5 pounds of powder shot forth from the three-inch
guns of the Salute Guns Platoon, the flags were heralded by
the Continental Color Guard, the traditional field music was
played by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and the U.S.
Army Ceremonial Band marched the field - all members of the
3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
tongue in cheek, Dempsey observed that April 11, over the
years has seen some of the worst defeats. On this day in
history, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated the throne and was
exiled to Elba Island. On this day, too, Gen. Douglas
MacArthur was fired by President Harry S. Truman, he said.
Dempsey said he would work hard to change the course of
"My commitment and expectation to this
great Army is that we will work on strengthening the bond of
trust among those with whom we work, among whom we support
and among those who march with us into battle. On that
foundation of trust, we will overcome any challenge that we
confront in the future," he said.
To sum up, Dempsey
called on the words of Ben Franklin who said, "well done is
better than well said."
"So, beginning right now I'll
get to work on delivering on some of these promises,"