“Throughout his years in public service, he has fostered trust and understanding between the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon,” the statement said. “His leadership has been a driving force behind closer collaboration in all aspects of policy, operations and welfare.”
Like his successor, Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Dempsey is an Irish American and has been known to sing a few Irish folk songs in his day. At his retirement ceremony, he serenaded his guests with a rendition of the well-liked Irish song “The Parting Glass.”
Upon being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, Dempsey, who has a master’s degree in literature from Duke, quoted William Shakespeare’s “Henry V.”
“It was an honor to serve side by side with the extraordinary and courageous men and women of the British Armed Forces for the past 40 years in peace and in war,” said Dempsey in the statement. “We ‘few, we happy few’ are partners by necessity, but we are friends by choice.”
Because he is not a citizen of the United Kingdom, Dempsey will not be allowed to use the prefix “sir” in front of his name.
The last U.S. general to receive an honorary knighthood was Army Gen. Tommy Franks in 2004. His award drew condemnation in England because of his role in the Iraq invasion.