|By Rob McIlvaine, Army News Service
ARLINGTON, Va. —
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 Hall.
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. Dempsey
succeeds Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
(Photo by Cherie Cullen)
“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
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 serving for a while as acting commander of U.S. Central
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 good byes are an inescapable part of Army life, it’s been
especially difficult, given all that has passed in recent days in the
Then, with a nod to Dean and the roast, McHugh lifted the spirits of all
when he remembered the good times with his friend Casey.
“There’s one thing we never could agree upon, but that’s going to change
with Gen. 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.
After the 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.
The warm, 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).
With 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 this date.
“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,” Dempsey said.