Martin Edward Dempsey
Chairman from Oct. 1, 2011 - Sept. 30, 2015
Martin E. Dempsey was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1952. He attended John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen, New York, where he excelled in track and basketball. Following graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974, where he had played lacrosse as a cadet, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. As a company grade officer, General Dempsey served with the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment in Europe and the 10th Cavalry at Fort Carson, Colorado. Following troop command, he earned a masters degree in English from Duke University and then served as an assistant professor at West Point.
As a field grade officer, General Dempsey deployed to Saudi Arabia with the 3d Armored Division in 1991 to support Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. He later commanded 4th Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment in Germany for two years and then served as Armor Branch Chief at US Army Personnel Command. In 1996 he took command of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. Following that assignment as the Army’s “senior scout,” he served as an Assistant Deputy Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) on the Joint Staff, and as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Henry H. Shelton, USA. During this period of his career, he attended both the Army Command and General Staff College and the National War College, earning master’s degrees in military art and national strategic studies.
Promoted to brigadier general in August 2001, Dempsey first served in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia training and advising the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Then, in June 2003 he took command of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad and participated actively in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM for fourteen months. After completing his command tour, he returned to Iraq in August 2005, this time leading the Multi-National Security Transition Command and NATO Training Mission. Following that assignment, in August 2007 General Dempsey became the Deputy and later Acting Commander of US Central Command, Tampa, Florida. He next took charge of US Army Training and Doctrine Command in December 2008, and then, on 11 April 2011, became the 37th Chief of Staff of the US Army. Five months later, on 1 October 2011, he took office as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Dempsey and his wife, Deanie, have three children, each of whom served in the US Army, one remaining on active duty, and six grandchildren.