• Army 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.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army 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.

  • Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III attend Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus retired after a 37-year military career to become CIA director.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III attend Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31...

  • Army 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.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army 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...

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus salutes as he inspects the troops during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus salutes as he inspects the troops during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus salutes as he inspects the troops during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus salutes as he inspects the troops during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Honor guard members hold command flags during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Honor guard members hold command flags during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, applaud during a pass and review of troops at Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, applaud during a pass and review of troops at Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint...

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, left, addresses the audience during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, left, addresses the audience during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III congratulates Army Gen. David H. Petraeus at his retirement ceremony and Armed Forces Farewell on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus retired after a 37-year career to become CIA director.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III congratulates Army Gen. David H. Petraeus at his retirement ceremony and Armed Forces Farewell on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. Petraeus retired after a 37-year career to become CIA...

  • Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III awards Army Gen. David H. Petraeus the Defense Distinguished Service Medal during Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III awards Army Gen. David H. Petraeus the Defense Distinguished Service Medal during Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • ARLINGTON, VA -- Army 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.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    ARLINGTON, VA -- Army 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...

  • Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III delivers remarks during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony onJoint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III delivers remarks during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony onJoint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers remarks during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. DOD photo by

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers remarks during Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011. DOD photo by

  • 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.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    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.

  • Holly Petraeus, center, wife of Army Gen. David Petraeus, receives applause after her husband acknowledged his gratitude for her years of support during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Holly Petraeus, center, wife of Army Gen. David Petraeus, receives applause after her husband acknowledged his gratitude for her years of support during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31...

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers remarks during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers remarks during his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Army 1st Lt. Stephen Petraeus, son of Army Gen. David Petraeus, listens to his father's remarks during the Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony to honor the general on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army 1st Lt. Stephen Petraeus, son of Army Gen. David Petraeus, listens to his father's remarks during the Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony to honor the general on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

  • Army Gen. David H. Petraeus renders a salute during his address to the audience at his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

    Gen. David H. Petraeus retirement ceremony

    Army Gen. David H. Petraeus renders a salute during his address to the audience at his Armed Forces Farewell and retirement ceremony on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Aug. 31, 2011.

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL. 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.

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.

Page last updated Thu September 1st, 2011 at 05:39