Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter officially leaves his post at the Department of Defense Dec. 4, but he's not departing without first saying his goodbyes.

In a ceremony celebrating Carter's career at the Defense Department, the outgoing deputy defense secretary thanked his colleagues, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and also acknowledged the future of America's defense readiness. 

"It's been the greatest privilege of my life," Carter said in his speech, as quoted in a statement released by the Pentagon. "More broadly, I hope we continue to learn ever better ways to combat terrorism, because as long as there is human society, there will be the problem of the few against the many, the aberrant and twisted against the decent and tolerant civilized life."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey opened the reception with remarks, followed by speeches from Hagel and Jeremy Bash, the chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Bash read a note from Panetta to Carter.

According to the Pentagon, Carter served under 11 defense secretaries during his two tours at the DOD. The Washington Post previously reported that Carter was up for the job of Defense Secretary for the second term of the Obama administration.