Odierno Becomes Army Chief, Dempsey Preps for Chairman Spot

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va, Sept. 7, 2011 — The U.S. Army tran­si­tioned to new lead­er­ship as it wel­comed the 38th Army chief of staff dur­ing a change of respon­si­bil­i­ty cer­e­mo­ny held here today.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
Army Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey, cen­ter, con­ducts a final troop inspec­tion as the out­go­ing Army chief of staff dur­ing a change-of-respon­si­bil­i­ty cer­e­mo­ny in Con­my Hall on Joint Base Myer-Hen­der­son Hall, Va., Sept. 7, 2011. Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty from Dempsey as the 38th Army chief of staff.
DOD pho­to by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bai­ley
Click to enlarge

Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty as the Army’s chief of staff from Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey as Dempsey begins his tran­si­tion to serve as the next chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “As the new sec­re­tary of defense, and as some­one who shares the immi­grant back­grounds of these dis­tin­guished offi­cers we pay trib­ute to today, it is tru­ly a per­son­al priv­i­lege for me to hon­or two of our military’s most tal­ent­ed lead­ers as they take on new respon­si­bil­i­ties,” said Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta. 

Panet­ta wel­comed Dempsey as he pre­pares to take his posi­tion as DOD’s senior mil­i­tary officer. 

“Hav­ing worked close­ly with Gen­er­al Dempsey since becom­ing the sec­re­tary of defense, I can say that the pres­i­dent has made a tru­ly inspir­ing choice in pick­ing him to serve as the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” the defense sec­re­tary said. 

“He will be the first Army gen­er­al in 10 years to occu­py that post,” Panet­ta said of Dempsey. “As a for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cer in the Army, I am tru­ly pleased to have Gen­er­al Dempsey as a part­ner in run­ning the Depart­ment of Defense.” 

Panet­ta praised Dempsey as a “real ‘mud­dy-boots’ sol­dier,” and a “bat­tle-hard­ened com­man­der” who was respon­si­ble for tran­si­tion­ing the Army to nine month deploy­ments and 18-month dwell time. 

“As chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mar­ty will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with the ser­vice chiefs [and] craft a joint force that can defeat a wide range of com­plex secu­ri­ty threats that we face today,” Panet­ta said. 

“And that we will face into the future,” he added. “Today’s mil­i­tary is the finest fight­ing force in the world. Togeth­er, we will work to ensure that it always remains the finest fight­ing force in the world.” 

Sec­re­tary of the Army John M. McHugh greet­ed Odier­no as he takes his post as Army chief. 

“Ray Odier­no brings to this job impres­sive, even impec­ca­ble, cre­den­tials as a sol­dier and leader, com­mand­ing units at every lev­el dur­ing a career that spans some three-and-a-half decades,” McHugh said. 

The Army sec­re­tary said he was more than famil­iar with Odier­no, hav­ing vis­it­ed Iraq 14 times dur­ing Odierno’s var­i­ous commands. 

“As a tes­ta­ment to his lead­er­ship and acu­men on the bat­tle­field, Gen­er­al Odier­no is only the sec­ond offi­cer since Viet­nam to com­mand at divi­sion, corps and Army lev­el dur­ing the same con­flict,” McHugh said. 

Dempsey shared two high­lights from his five-month tour as the Army’s senior leader. 

“My time as chief was framed by two events — a vis­it to the civ­il war bat­tle­field Anti­etam ear­ly in my tour, and the fact that we’re approach­ing the tenth anniver­sary of the ter­ror­ist attacks of 9/11 here at the end of it,” he said. 

“My brief tenure as chief has pro­duced a life­time of mem­o­ries,” Dempsey added. “It’s been my great hon­or to serve as the 37th chief of staff of the Unit­ed States Army. Thank you.” 

Odier­no expressed his grat­i­tude for being nom­i­nat­ed as the 38th Army chief. 

“I appre­ci­ate the con­fi­dence of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, and all the lead­ers of the Army and the joint force, in allow­ing me the hon­or of assum­ing duties as the 38th chief of staff of the Army,” he said. 

“Over the last 10 years, our Army has proven itself in arguably the most dif­fi­cult envi­ron­ment this nation has ever faced,” Odier­no said. “Our lead­ers at every lev­el have dis­played unpar­al­leled inge­nu­ity, flex­i­bil­i­ty and adaptability.” 

“Our sol­diers have dis­played men­tal and phys­i­cal tough­ness, but most impor­tant­ly, courage under fire,” Odier­no added. Today’s Army, he said, is the most ver­sa­tile, rapid­ly deploy­able, sus­tain­able, strate­gic land force the world has ever known. 

“I’m proud to be a part of that Army,” Odier­no said. 

“I’m proud to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­tin­ue to serve with these great men and women, the next great gen­er­a­tion,” he added, “and I’m hum­bled and hon­ored to serve as the 38th chief of staff of the Army.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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