President Barack Obama Feb. 19 accepted a request by Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen to retire from the military to address health issues within his family.
In a written statement, Obama said he spoke with Allen Feb. 19 and expressed deep personal appreciation for his “extraordinary service” in command of coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan and in his decades of Marine Corps service.
“General Allen presided over the significant growth in the size and capability of Afghan national security forces, the further degradation of al-Qaida and their extremist allies, and the ongoing transition to Afghan security responsibility across the country,” the president said.
On Feb. 10, Allen turned over command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. In his statement today, Obama said Allen worked tirelessly to strengthen the coalition in Afghanistan and to improve relations with the Afghan government.
“Above all, he cares deeply for the men and women in uniform who serve our nation – as well as their families – and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by his family in supporting him during his service,” he added. “John Allen is one of America’s finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly. I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter, and we will carry forward the extraordinary work that General Allen led in Afghanistan.”
Obama nominated Allen in October to serve as NATO’s next supreme allied commander for Europe, but the nomination was put on hold while the Defense Department’s inspector general investigated allegations of professional misconduct. Last month, Pentagon officials announced the investigation did not substantiate the allegations.