** LINK TO TRANSCRIPT AT BOTTOM OF PAGE **
MACDILL AFB, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2008) – The men and women of U.S. Central Command, government leaders, civic leaders and guests gathered at the Memorial Air Park here to welcome a new commander during a change of command ceremony Friday. Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey relinquished command to Gen. David H. Petraeus, formerly commander of Multi-National Force – Iraq.
Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert M. Gates presided over the ceremony, telling the men and women of CENTCOM, “It will be the valor, grit and fighting spirit of you, the men and women of United States Central Command, that will give heart to our friends while pursuing terrorists where they hide.” Secretary Gates noted that General Petraeus was again, “taking responsibility for our precious sons and daughters.”
Also participating in today’s ceremony was Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told the audience, “The value of leadership never changes and it’s no secret we’ve learned a lot from David Petraeus.” Gen. Petraeus most recently served as Commander Multi-National Forces-Iraq, where he oversaw all Coalition forces from February 2007 to September 2008. He is most noted for his contribution to the stabilization of Iraq during surge operations in mid-2007.
In 2003, Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He returned to Iraq in 2004 as the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command. Petraeus is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy, and subsequently earned a M.P.A. degree (1985) and a Ph.D. (1987) in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Lt. Gen. Dempsey has served our nation throughout a distinguished military career for more than 34 years and departs USCENTCOM after serving first as the deputy commander beginning in August 2007, then as the acting commander since March 2008. Dempsey has been confirmed for promotion to general and his next assignment will be as Commander of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
Related Link to this article: Transcript of entire CENTCOM Change of Command ceremony.
May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.
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