Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford is retiring from the military after 42 years of service and a four-year term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he released a farewell video on Thursday just days before his successor, Army Gen. Mark Milley, takes command on Oct. 1.
“In the coming days, I’ll complete over four decades of active service and my tenure as the Chairman. Before taking off my uniform for the last time, I wanted to tell you what an honor it has been to serve alongside you and to represent you here in Washington, D.C. and across the globe,” Dunford said.
“More importantly, I wanted to take a minute to simply thank you for who you are and what you do,” Dunford noted.
“Those of you in uniform – Active, Guard, and Reserve – represent less than one percent of the American people, and you’ve answered the call to serve our nation during a time of war,” he continued. “You chose to challenge yourself to excellence and to be a part of something greater than yourself. You chose to make a difference.”
“Across the globe, you stand watch on sea, air, and land, as we simultaneously tackle the challenges associated with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremism, and you are driving change to deal with the challenges of the 21st century to include those in space and cyberspace,” he said.
“Like your predecessors, you’re ordinary men and women who hail from across the 50 states and U.S. territories, but you routinely demonstrate extraordinary courage, honor, commitment, loyalty, and self-sacrifice,” Dunford said.
“It’s because of you that I’m confident that we can defend the homeland and our way of life. It’s because of you that we have earned the trust and confidence of allies and partners around the world,” he said. “It’s because of you that people believe in America.”
“Over the past four years, I’ve spoken a lot about the need for our nation to maintain a competitive advance over any potential adversary. You are our most important competitive advantage, and any adversary would think twice about committing an act of aggression because of you,” Dunford said.
He paid tribute to his wife and family for standing by him through his career, then paying tribute to families across the military.
“Let me close by saying that as I depart active service, I depart with incredible pride and gratitude, not because I’m a general or the chairman, but simply because I have stood in ranks with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who wear the cloth of our nation,” Dunford said.
“Please know that I will remain in proud overwatch following my retirement,” he added. “God bless you all and Semper Fidelis.”
On Dec. 8, President Donald Trump had named Gen. Milley as Dunford’s replacement.
“I am pleased to announce my nomination of four-star General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army – as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing General Joe Dunford, who will be retiring,” Trump tweeted at the time.
….I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2018
“I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined,” he added.
Dunford was originally nominated to the position by former President Barack Obama in 2015 to serve a four-year term, but in 2016, Congress reduced the position’s term to two years. Before his term expired, Trump nominated Dunford to serve an additional two years in the position.