Panetta Salutes Allen’s Service, Leadership
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today praised the service and leadership of Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, who is slated to retire.
President Barack Obama has accepted Allen’s request to retire after nearly 35 years of service, which included serving as commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
“General John Allen has proven himself to be one of the United States military's most outstanding battlefield leaders, a brilliant strategist, and an exemplary Marine,” Panetta said in a written statement. “I am deeply grateful for his many years of dedicated service to our country.”
Panetta said he will be “forever thankful” that the international efforts in Afghanistan rested in Allen's “capable hands” during most of his tenure as defense secretary.
“His leadership over the last 19 months will long be remembered as pivotal to this campaign,” the defense secretary said. “The strategy he developed and implemented has put us on the right path towards completing this mission, with Afghan forces now on track to step into the lead for security nationwide this spring and to assume full security responsibility by the end of next year.”
Obama nominated Allen in October to serve as NATO’s next supreme allied commander for Europe. The nomination was placed on hold while the Defense Department’s inspector general investigated allegations of misconduct. Last month, Pentagon officials announced the investigation did not substantiate the allegations.
“General Allen's selfless dedication to our troops and to their mission was a source of inspiration to those who served with him, as well as to those of us here at home,” Panetta said. “He has earned the lasting thanks of this nation for carrying the heavy burden of leadership with utmost professionalism and courage. I wish him and his entire family all the best in the next chapter of their lives.”