April 5, 2013
General Martin E. Dempsey will serve as the official speaker for the undergraduate ceremony on May 9 in Sun Devil Stadium.
Dempsey serves as the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as the principal military adviser to the president, the secretary of defense and the National Security Council. By law, he is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. Prior to becoming chairman, the general served as the Army’s 37th chief of staff.
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Past assignments have taken him and his family across the globe during both peace and war from platoon leader to combatant commander. He is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a career armor officer.
As a company grade officer, he served with the 2nd Cavalry in United States Army Europe and with the 10th Cavalry at Fort Carson. Following troop command he earned his Masters of Arts in English from Duke University and was assigned to the English Department at West Point. In 1991, Dempsey deployed with the Third Armored Division in support of Operation Desert Storm. Following Desert Storm, he commanded 4th Battalion 67th Armor (Bandits) in Germany for two years and then departed to become armor branch chief in U.S. Army personnel command. From 1996 -1998 he served as the 67th colonel of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. Following this assignment as the Army’s “senior scout” he served on the Joint Staff as an assistant deputy director in J-5 and as special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From Sept. 2001 to June 2003, Dempsey served in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia training and advising the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
In June of 2003, Dempsey took command of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad, Iraq. After 14 months in Iraq, Dempsey redeployed the division to Germany and completed his command tour in July of 2005. He then returned to Iraq for two years in August of 2005 to train and equip the Iraqi Security Forces as commanding general of MNSTC-I. From August 2007 through October 2008, Dempsey served as the deputy commander and then acting commander of U.S. Central Command. Before becoming chief of staff of the Army, he commanded U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command from Dec. 2008 - March 2011.
Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge. In addition to his master's degree in English, he holds master's degrees in military art and in national security studies.
Dempsey and his high school sweetheart, Deanie, have three children: Chris, Megan and Caitlin. Each has served in the United States Army. Chris remains on active duty. They have seven wonderful grandchildren: Kayla, Mackenna and Finley by Chris and daughter-in-law Julie; Luke and Braden by Caitlin and son-in-law Shane; and Alexander and Hunter by Megan and son-in-law Kory.