President Barack Obama congratulates chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Adm. Mike Mullen during the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff change of responsibility ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson
Hall, Va., Sept. 30, 2011. Mullen was succeeded by Army Gen. Martin
E. Dempsey, the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during
the ceremony. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2011 – President Barack Obama today lauded
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen during a hail and farewell ceremony here that
featured the transfer of responsibilities as chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff from Mullen to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.
“Mike, as you look back [at] your four consequential years as
chairman and your four decades in uniform, [rest] assured our
military is stronger and our nation more secure because of the
service you have rendered,” Obama told Mullen at the event held at
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.
the nation's achievements during Mullen's tenure.
have renewed American leadership in the world,” the president said.
“We've strengthened our alliances, including NATO. We're leading
again in Asia, and we forged a new treaty with Russia to reduce our
The president recognized Mullen for leading a new
generation of service members brought forth by the events of
“Today, we see the remarkable achievements of
our 9/11 generation of service members,” Obama said.
“They've given Iraqis a chance to determine their own
future. They've pushed the Taliban out of their Afghan
strongholds and finally put al-Qaida on the path to defeat.
“Meanwhile, our forces have responded to sudden crisis
with compassion, as in Haiti, and with precision, as in
Libya,” Obama added. “And it will be long remembered that
our troops met these tests on Admiral Mullen's watch and
under his leadership.”
Obama observed that America is
moving forward from a position of strength as Mullen retires
and hands the chairmanship to Dempsey.
“Fewer of our
sons and daughters are in harm's way and more will come
home,” the president said. “Our soldiers can look forward to
shorter deployments, more time with their families and more
time training for future missions.
despite the stresses and strains of a hard decade of war,
the military that Admiral Mullen passes to General Dempsey
today is the best that it has ever been,” the president
Obama talked about recent DOD policy changes,
such as allowing women to serve aboard submarines and the
repeal of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.
women will report for duty on our submarines and patriotic
service members who are gay and lesbians no longer have to
lie about who they are to serve the country that they love,”
“History will record that the tipping point
towards this progress came when the 17th chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff went before Congress and told the
nation that it was the right thing to do,” Obama said.
With the change of responsibility, Obama said the mantle
of leadership now passes to Dempsey, who the president
hailed as one of the nation's most respected and
“Marty, after a lifetime of
service I thank you, Deanie, Chris, Megan and Caitlin for
answering the call to serve once more,” Obama said to
Dempsey and his family. “In this sense, today begins to
complete the transition to our new leadership team.”
Obama also spoke to some of the challenges the U.S. military
faces during difficult fiscal times.
“We still have
much to do,” the president said. “From bringing the rest of
our troops home from Iraq this year, to transitioning to
Afghan lead for their own security, from defeating al-Qaida,
to our most solemn obligation -- taking care of forces, and
their families, when they go to war and when they come
The president, who pledged to maintain
America's national security, expressed gratitude for
Mullen's four decades of service.
“The United States
of America and our armed forces will remain the greatest
force for freedom and security that the world has ever
known,” Obama said. “As we salute Mike Mullen as an exemplar
of this spirit, we salute him for a life of patriotic
“Mike, thank you from a grateful nation,”
the president said.
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
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