On Tuesday, President Barack Obama nominated Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The 59-year-old Dunford is an Irish Catholic (as is current chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey) who was raised in South Boston and later Quincy, Massachusetts. He attended St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., Georgetown University, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Dunford, who earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” when he led the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, joined the Marine Corps in 1977. His father was also a Marine, who served in Korea, and would later become a police officer in Boston.
According to the Associated Press, Dunford is a die-hard Red Sox fan. During the announcement on Tuesday, President Obama said: “The only downside in my book is as a White Sox fan, there is yet another Red Sox fan who I’m going to have to be dealing with.”
A “relentless, energetic commander,” Dunford is also known for his compassion with troops. Dunford would often send handwritten condolence letters to families of the fallen. He would also would talk at length about the toll the Afghanistan war was having on the local forces, and when he was serving in Kabul he would attend weekly services honoring the Afghans who were killed in the fight, the Associated Press reports.
In 2014, Dunford was #7 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” He was quoted as saying that his first battalion commander told him the three rules to success. The first was to surround yourself with good people. “Over the years,” said Dunford, “I’ve forgotten the other two.”