The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, awarded IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz the "Legion of Merit" award on Tuesday on behalf of President Barack Obama.
A letter attached to the award, signed by Gen. Dempsey and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, stated that it was awarded to Gantz for his outstanding and noteworthy command and for his military service.
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Panetta praised Lt. Gen. Gantz's command, saying, "It ensures that the IDF will be able to stand strong in the face of a wide range of threats."
Gantz thanked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the award, saying that that he accepted the award on behalf of all IDF soldiers and commanders and that it represented the strong relationship between the IDF and the US Armed Forces. He also noted his gratitude for the tight-knit cooperation between the two militaries.
Dempsey awards Gantz in the Pentagon (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
The "Legion of Merit" is a military award awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding activities. The award is given both to US military personnel and to international army and government officials.
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
Gantz was greeted by a guard of honor ceremony, but he received the award during a modest ceremony in one of the Pentagon's rooms.
Among the twelve senior Israeli officers who received the award in the past are Ehud Barak, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya'alon.
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