Dismissed General McChrystal honoured at retirement ceremony
General Stanley McChrystal, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan who was fired last month after a controversial magazine article, retired Friday in a ceremony tinged with humour and regret, DPA reported.
"My service did not end as I would have wished," McChrystal told the 500 guests gathered at the Fort McNair parade ground in Washington.
"I left a mission I felt strongly about. I ended a career I love that began over 38 years ago. I left unfulfilled commitments I made to many comrades in the fight - commitments I hold sacred," he said.
McChrystal was ousted from his position over an article in Rolling Stone magazine in which he and his staff made comments viewed as disparaging towards President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the White House.
"For those here tonight that feel the need to contradict my memories with the truth, remember I was there, too. I have stories on all of you, photos on many, and I know a Rolling Stone reporter," he said and laughed.
In his remarks, Defence Secretary Robert Gates did not refer to the controversy that ended McChrystal's career. "We bid farewell to Stan McChrystal today with pride and sadness. Pride for his unique record as a man and a soldier. Sadness that our comrade and his prodigious talents are leaving us," he said.
As McChrystal enters the next phase of his life, "he does so with the gratitude of the nation he did so much to protect, with the reverence of the troops he led at every level, with his place secure as one of America's greatest warriors," Gates said.