10/10/2012 03:51 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2012

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman, Sings At Press Club

WASHINGTON -- Frank Sinatra may have been called the Chairman of the Board but the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is no slouch himself when it comes to carrying a tune.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the nation's highest-ranking military officer, sang "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" at the end of a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club.

The short ditty came at the request of club president Theresa Werner and at the end of a lunch in which President Obama's top Pentagon adviser tamped down expectations for a military intervention to stop the bloody fighting in Syria.

A self-described “Sinatra Irish Pub kinda guy,” Dempsey grew up in Bayonne, N.J., just next door to the crooner's hometown of Hoboken. Even before he became chairman a year ago, he had gained a reputation for straight talk and melodious tones.

Among his greatest hits on Youtube: "Christmas in Killarney," "New York, New York," and a version of "My Kind of Town" rewritten to pay tribute to the Coast Guard instead of Chicago.

This isn't the first time Dempsey has crooned a tune at Washington's press club.

In April, he sang the "Sesame Street" theme song at a panel on how the public broadcasting show could help military families.

That was before Big Bird became a lightning rod in the 2012 election. Asked Wednesday whether campaign rhetoric hurts U.S. relations with other countries, he cracked "What harsh rhetoric?"


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