General Stanley McChrystal

Military Leader
Date Of Birth:
14 August 1954
Best Known As:
Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, 2009-2010

General Stanley A. McChrystal was the commander of United States forces in Afghanistan from June of 2009 until his forced resignation in June of 2010. The son of an army officer -- his father was a two-star general -- McChrystal is a graduate of West Point (1976) whose background in the Green Beret and in Special Forces made him a top expert in counterinsurgency operations. During the 1980s he was with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, and as he moved up in the ranks he served in the Persian Gulf War and held posts at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Council on Foreign Relations. For five years he directed the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq, an elite and secretive force known as "terrorist hunters" (his team is credited with the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006). McChrystal served under President George W. Bush as Director of Joint Staff in 2008, and in June of 2009 he was named by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing General David McKiernan in leading operations in Afghanistan. Like his contemporary David Petraeus, McChrystal is considered a "scholar-warrior." Unlike General Petraeus, he is also known for a clumsy candor that ended up costing him the job of running the war in Afghanistan. In the June 2010 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, McChrystal was highly critical of the White House civilians in charge of the war (including Vice President Joe Biden). McChrystal apologized for his poor judgement and resigned. President Obama replaced him with General David Petraeus on 23 June 2010.

Extra Credit

Stanley McChrystal graduated from West Point ranked 298th out of 855 students… He was criticized — but was not disciplined — for approving a posthumous medal for U.S. soldier and ex-NFL star Pat Tillman that mischaracterized Tillman’s death as due to enemy fire, when in fact Tillman was killed by “friendly” fire.

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