Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, German Army Gen. Wolf Langheld, Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the new ISAF commander, pay respect during the posting of the colors during the ISAF Change of Command ceremony held in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 18. (Photo by Master Sgt. Michael O’Connor)
KABUL, Afghanistan (July 18, 2011) — U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus at a change of command ceremony today, attended by senior Afghan and NATO officials, including German Army Gen. Wolf Langheld, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum; Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff; and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander, U.S. Central Command.
Gen. Allen served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command, from July 2008 to June 2011. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Deputy Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), and Commanding General, 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, deploying to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and serving as the Deputy Commanding General of Multinational Force - West (MNF-W) and II MEF (Forward) in the Al Anbar Province.
Among other distinguished highlights of his career, Gen. Allen was the first Marine Corps officer to serve as Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a Marine Corps Fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and was the first Marine Corps officer inducted as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gen. Allen was promoted to the rank of four-star general by Adm. Mullen prior to the change of command.
Addressing the audience on his vision for Afghanistan and the coalition, Gen. Allen said, “Throughout, we will keep our eyes on the horizon – the future of Afghanistan – a nation of free people at peace, governed under its constitution, pursuing economic enterprise and development, in a secure and stable environment free from the extremism and terrorism that has plagued this wonderful country and its people for more than a generation. In the end – together we will prevail.”
Gen. Petraeus took command of ISAF in July 2010. He will retire from the military later this summer and become director of the Central Intelligence Agency.