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General Mark Milley ’80 speaks at the 2019 commissioning ceremony for graduating Princeton ROTC Cadets. Milley is an alumnus of the program.

Courtesy of the Office of Communications

General Mark Milley ’80 was sworn in as the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a ceremony on September 30. Milley will now hold the highest officer position in the United States military.

Milley began his military career as a Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) cadet during his time at the University. He was confirmed by the Senate in July and will now take over the role of President Trump’s most senior military adviser from General Joseph Dunford.

Milley received a bachelor of arts in politics from the University, served as an ROTC cadet, and played for the University hockey team. Since his time at the University, Milley has risen through the ranks of the U.S. Army, serving as a four-star General before his appointment as Chairman. In his time as the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, he led some of the largest counterterrorism efforts in U.S. history.

During his swearing-in speech, he gave thanks to his classmates in college, as well as to the University’s hockey team.

Milley also emphasized the strength of the military and its dedication to fighting “on freedom’s frontier.”

Milley also spoke of his new role as Trump’s most senior military adviser.

“I will always provide you informed, candid, impartial military advice to you, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and to the Congress,” Milley said.

Milley has assumed the position from General Joseph Dunford, who was first nominated by Obama in 2015 and renominated by Trump in 2017. 

Milley praised Dunford’s work as Chairman and thanked him for his years of service during the ceremony. He said that he considers Dunford to be a “close, personal friend” and hopes to continue Dunford’s legacy of military service. Dunford’s retirement marks an end to his over 40 years of service.

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