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Stanley A. McChrystal led the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq during the Persian Gulf Wars and was top Commander of American forces in Afghanistan.
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Stanley A. McChrystal was born on August 14, 1954, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1990, he became action officer for Army Special Operations, working in Joint Special Operations Command. In 1991, he saw action in the Desert Shield and Desert Storm tours. He was commander of the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008. He became top commander in Afghanistan in 2009, but resigned in 2010.
Military official Stanley Allen McChrystal was born on August 14, 1954, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the fourth of six children born to Mary Gardner Bright and Major General Herbert McChrystal. Stanley's father was a two-star general who served in Germany during the U.S. occupation after World War II, and later served for a stint at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Growing up in the McChrystal household was described by extended family members as "intense," and steeped in military tradition; all of Stanley's siblings would go on to either join the military or marry into it.
Stanley McChrystal was no exception, and he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in upstate New York in 1972. After graduation in 1976, McChrystal began serving in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, moving up the ranks from second lieutenant to executive officer within the span of two years. He also married his long-time girlfriend, Anne, in April of 1977.
In 1978, McChrystal was accepted into the U.S. Naval War College in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the intention of training at the Special Forces School to become a Green Beret. At Fort Bragg, McChrystal lived an ascetic lifestyle, running 12 miles morning, eating only one meal a day, and often sleeping less than four hours a night. Gaining instruction in unconventional warfare and counter-terrorism tactics, McChrystal developed a fanatical mental database of terrorism and terrorists—data that would serve him well in later years.
McChrystal completed Special Forces training in 1979, becoming the commander of Detachment A, A Company, 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne, where he earned nicknames such as "Stan the Man" and "the Pope" for his work ethic and highly disciplined lifestyle. He served as a commander for a year before heading to Fort Benning, Georgia, to attend Infantry Officer Advanced courses.
After completing his coursework at Fort Benning in February 1981, McChrystal moved to South Korea. Here, the officer worked in intelligence and operations for the United Nations Command Support Group in the Joint Security Area, a site known at the time as a place for military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command. He was then reassigned to Fort Stewart, Georgia, in March 1982 to serve as a training officer, moving up the ranks over the next four years to become the commander of A Company in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the elite American Special Operations Force known as the U.S. Army Rangers.
After brief stints as a battalion liaison officer and a battalion operations officer, McChrystal returned to school for a Command and Staff Course, this time reporting to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
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