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Thursday, May 23 2019 @ 05:03 PM UTC

Kingsport resident father of nominee to lead mission in Afghanistan

Expat Tales By Wes Bunch for - KINGSPORT — As the world learns more about Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the man who could become the new commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, one Kingsport resident already thinks President Barack Obama made the right pick for the job. Retired Maj. Gen. Herbert McChrystal, who has been living in Kingsport with his wife of 30 years, Nedra, since 2001, is the father of the lieutenant general, who must now be confirmed by the Senate to replace four-star Gen. David D. McKiernan. The elder McChrystal, a 1945 West Point graduate who retired from military service in 1972, said he was more than pleased when he heard the news of his son’s promotion. “Needless to say I was absolutely delighted for him,” Herbert McChrystal said. “He has spent his career doing what people wanted him to and that’s what got him into special operations. So I believe he will rise to the occasion and do a good job over there. I’d really be surprised if he doesn't. “I wasn’t surprised (he was chosen), I had always figured he would get his fourth star. I just didn’t realize how quickly it would come.” Like his son, Herbert McChrystal made military service a lifetime endeavor. “I was born in the Panama Canal Zone, my father was in the Army and we moved around a lot,” he said. “I spent a good deal of time at Fort Benning, both as a boy with my father when he was there and then I served there myself for quite a while. It was just a normal army career.” (more)

After graduating from West Point, Herbert McChrystal served in the American occupation of Germany following World War II. He would go on to serve a tour in North Korea and two in Vietnam, as well as work at the Pentagon. After retirement, McChrystal began a company with his wife teaching logistic support analysis.

While serving in the Army, McChrystal started a family, raising five boys and a girl born to his first wife, who died, as well as a stepdaughter with his second wife.

All of his sons went on to serve in the Army, but only Stanley would go on to graduate from West Point, which he did in 1976.

“He was always a good student,” said McChrystal. “He was a number one kid, he really was.”

After graduation, the younger McChrystal joined the 82nd Airborne before becoming associated with special operations for a large portion of his career.

He lead a team of Green Berets before working his way up to commanding a regiment of Army Rangers. McChrystal continued rising through the ranks and went on to become the commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C., starting in 2003, and then commander of Joint Special Operations Command from 2006 to 2008. Those accomplishments paved the way for his latest chance to move up in rank, Herbert McChrystal said.

“The big break point comes when you’re a full colonel; only a very small percentage of colonels get to be brigadier generals and go on up the line,” Herbert McChrystal said. “He passed right on up, he was always one of the bright lights among the people being selected and he’s very recently been working for Admiral Mullen. Coincidentally, Mullen is the one that recommended him for this job.”

The experience he gained conducting and leading special operations — Lt. Gen. McChrystal is considered an expert on counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare tactics — coupled with his style of command are just two of the reasons McChrystal felt his son would succeed in his new mission.

“He’s the kind that wants everybody to give him their ideas and then he reserves the decision to himself,” he said. “He’ll have a lot of responsibility, but he’ll do well. I think he’s a much better officer than I ever was.”

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