General Joseph Dunford Jr. meets with Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) in Afghanistan in 2013.
President Barack Obama today named General Joseph Dunford Jr., a 1977 graduate of Saint Michael's College, to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dunford, who currently serves as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will have to be confirmed by the Senate before taking the post as the nation's highest ranking military officer and principal advisor to the president and secretary of defense.
Saint Michael's College president Jack Neuhauser said that Dunford has kept close ties to the college since embarking on his military career.
“General Dunford has graciously returned to campus for alumni events and participated in programs on world issues over the years, and recently welcomed Saint Michael’s delegations to his office in the Pentagon as Marine commandant,” Neuhauser said in a statement. In a recent interview with the college’s alumni magazine, Dunford spoke about how his Catholic liberal arts education was ideal preparation for success in a challenging military career, Neuhauser noted.
Fellow St. Michael's alum Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) cheered Obama's decision.
“The President already is being credited with making a wise choice,” Leahy said in a prepared statement. “General Dunford is a skilled leader, admired by the men and women who served under him, and known for his respect and care for the civilians caught in the middle of conflict.“
Dunford commanded a Marine regiment in the early stages of the Iraq War, and later served as commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
"His Marines advanced north up Highway 1 from Kuwait, fighting a number of bloody battles while facing problems with weather and limited resources," the Post reported. "Twelve Marines were killed and more than 120 were wounded in about a month, according to a Marine Corps unit history."