General Stanley McChrystal, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan who was fired over published comments that were disparaging of U.S. civilian leaders, has formally retired at a ceremony at Fort McNair in Washington.
McChrystal received full military honors, including a 17-gun salute, at the July 23 ceremony that was attended by dignitaries including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, Said Tayeb Jawad.
McChrystal told the ceremony that he was leaving his post with the mission in Afghanistan still uncompleted.
"With my resignation, I left a mission I feel strongly about," McChrystal said. "I ended a career I loved that began over 38 years ago. And I left unfulfilled commitments I made to many comrades in the fight -- commitments I hold sacred. My service did not end as I would have wished."
Afghan Ambassador Jawad told the audience that McChrystal had helped lay the foundation for Afghanistan's eventual victory over terrorists and militants, and thanked McChrystal and U.S. soldiers for their sacrifices to help make Afghanistan safer.
In his remarks, Defense Secretary Gates praised McChrystal as an innovative commander who broke new ground in combining intelligence-gathering with military operations.
President Barack Obama charged McChrystal with turning around the fight against Taliban militants and overseeing a surge of thousands more troops into Afghanistan.
But McChrystal was fired by Obama last month after an article in "Rolling Stone" magazine quoted McChrystal and his aides as making belittling remarks about U.S. civilian leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden and the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.
McChrystal was replaced in his Afghan role by General David Petraeus.
compiled from agency reports