United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DoD News

Bookmark and Share

 News Article

Petraeus Garners Praise at Retirement Ceremony

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

FORT MYER, Va., Aug. 31, 2011 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised Army Gen. David H. Petraeus for his 37 years in uniform, noting the four-star general ranks among the great military leaders in U.S. history.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers remarks at his retirement ceremony and official farewell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus is retiring after a 37-year military career to become director of the CIA. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen hosted Petraeus’ Joint Service Retirement Ceremony here today. Mullen said Petraeus set the “gold standard for command in wartime.”

Petraeus is one of the most well-known generals of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He commanded the 101st Airborne Division at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Multinational Security Transition Command—Iraq, Multinational Forces—Iraq, U.S. Central Command and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Petraeus is retiring from the Army to become the director of the CIA.

“You’ve run the race well, swifter and surer than the rest, and you now stand among the giants not just in our time but of all time, joining the likes of Grant and Pershing and Marshall and Eisenhower as one of the great battle captains of American history,” Mullen said to Petraeus. “You’ve expanded our view of the possible, inspiring our military on to historic achievements during some of the most trying times America has ever known. And today you depart our ranks with the sincere thanks of a grateful nation.”

Petraeus was extraordinarily effective as both a combat leader and a strategist, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said during the ceremony.

The strategies Petraeus employed in two theaters of war were developed quickly to confront new types of foes, Lynn said.

“In Iraq and Afghanistan, our forces fought on battlefields different than we had faced before, different than we had trained for and different than we had equipped for,” the deputy secretary said.

Petraeus was instrumental in developing the counterinsurgency strategy and putting it into practice in Iraq and Afghanistan. That strategy is built “around the adaptability and ingenuity of the 9/11 generation,” Lynn said. “That strategy enabled the world’s most remarkable military to wage a new kind of war.

“Iraq and Afghanistan have tested our men and women in uniform,” the deputy secretary continued. “They have tested the resilience and agility of our institutional military, and they have tested our nation’s resolve. But by acting on his belief that the most powerful weapon and most powerful tool any soldier carries is not his weapon but his mind, General Petraeus has redefined how America fought those wars.”

Petraeus’ strategies and tactics worked, Lynn said, delivering Iraq from the clutches of sectarian violence, and giving the people of Afghanistan a fighting chance.

Petraeus was commissioned after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1974. U.S. involvement in Vietnam had essentially ended, and the military was changing as the draft ended and an all-volunteer force came into being.

At his retirement ceremony today, Petraeus paid tribute to all those who stuck by the military and steered it through the “hollow force” era. He thanked the noncommissioned officers who stood with him as he went up the ranks. And he thanked his family for the many moves and long separations they have endured.

Petraeus also looked to the future and said the military is entering a difficult period.

“The future requirements include maintaining pressure on al-Qaida, continuing to draw down in Iraq and commencing reductions in Afghanistan -- all while sustaining our hard-fought, hard-won, but still-fragile progress in those areas,” he said. “This will be done, of course, against a backdrop of ongoing change in the Middle East and difficult budget decisions here at home.”

All of the decisions leaders make must be made with the people of the force foremost in their minds, he said.

“The essence, the core of our military is and always will be its people: men and women who raise their right hands and recite the oath of enlistment, even though they know that act may result in them deploying to a combat zone where they will be asked once again to put it all on the line, day after day, in crushing heat and numbing cold, under body armor and Kevlar, against resilient, tough, often barbaric enemies; never knowing, as they go outside the wire, whether they’ll be greeted with a hand grenade or a handshake, but being ready and capable of responding appropriately to either,” the general said.

 

Contact Author

Biographies:
William J. Lynn III
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

Related Sites:
Speech by Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III
CIA


Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. David H. Petraeus gives the thumbs up with his wife, Holly, at his retirement ceremony and official farewell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus is retiring after a 37-year military career to become director of the CIA. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. David H. Petraeus, center, salutes as he stands with his family, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a pass and review of troops at the Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony to honor Petraeus on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. David H. Petraeus reviews troops at his retirement ceremony and official farewell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus retired from the military after a 37-year career to become director of the CIA. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution



Comments

Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

9/6/2011 9:46:19 AM
General Petraeus is one of the finest, most brilliant military minds that this country has ever produced. As eluded to by Admiral Mullen, he will go down in history alongside our most illustrous flag officers of the past, and we do indeed, as a nation, owe him a great debt of thanks. Clyde L. Hughes, Jr. LTC, USA, RET
- Clyde Hughes, Richmond, VA

8/31/2011 10:52:53 PM
Gen David Petraeus will be best man for director of the CIA . My question is why you guys don't use people who know a lot about Iran or Afghanestan (i mean native of these country)because we have different thought of any move that those government have. i wish peace for all people in the world.
- farah, usa

Additional Links

Stay Connected