WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama nominated Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford on Tuesday to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top U.S. military position, replacing Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Five things to know about Dunford:
Following in dad’s footsteps
Dunford, 59, joined the Marine Corps in 1977, following in the footsteps of his father, a Marine who served in Korea and later became a Boston police officer. Raised in South Boston and later Quincy, Massachusetts, he’s a die-hard Red Sox fan who kept team caps in his office in Kabul during his 2013-14 Afghanistan tour as the top U.S. commander there. President Barack Obama, during Tuesday’s announcement at the White House, noted: “The only downside in my book is as a White Sox fan, there is yet another Red Sox fan who I’m going to have to be dealing with.”
He’s Irish Catholic, the same as the current chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey. He attended St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., Georgetown University, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
He earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” when he led the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and is known as a relentless, energetic commander. His staff members sometimes carry a voice recorder with them to keep up with his commands and ideas.
Talking to troops
His selection as the nominee for chairman was hailed on the Marine Corps’ Facebook page with the customary Marine salute: “Ooh-Rah, Sir!” But Dunford’s own Twitter account had no mention of the announcement, in keeping with his usual self-effacing, soft-spoken nature. Known for his compassion with troops, Dunford often sent handwritten condolence letters to families of the fallen. But he also would talk at length about the toll the Afghanistan war was having on the local forces, and while serving in Kabul he would attend weekly services honoring the Afghans who were killed in the fight.
On the list
He was #7 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014. The magazine quoted Dunford as saying that his first battalion commander told him the three rules to success. The first? Surround yourself with good people. “Over the years,” said Dunford, “I’ve forgotten the other two.”