President Barack Obama on Friday credited outgoing Navy Admiral Mike Mullen for the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the recently-ended 18-year-old policy that banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

Obama made his remarks during a hail and farewell ceremony at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia in which Mullen's responsibilities as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were transferred to Army General Martin E. Dempsey.

“Put simply, despite the stresses and strains of a hard decade of war, the military that Admiral Mullen passes to General Dempsey today is the best that it has ever been,” the president said.

“Soon women will report for duty on our submarines and patriotic service members who are gay and lesbians no longer have to lie about who they are to serve the country they love.”

“History will record that the tipping point towards this progress came when the 17th chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff went before Congress and told the nation that it was the right thing to do,” he added.

(Related: With DADT gone, Pentagon decides military chaplains may perform gay marriages.)