HomeResearchMarine Corps History DivisionPeopleCommandants

Commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps

 

38. David H. Berger

State of Birth: Delaware

 

Date of Birth: 21 December 1959

 

Period Served as CMC: 11 July 2019 - Present
Rank: General

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37. Robert B. Neller 

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

MI

Date of Birth:

9 Feb 1953

 

Period Served:

24 Sep 2015 - 10 July 2019

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

36. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. 

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

MA

Dates:

B. 23 Dec 1955

 

Period Served:

18 Oct 2014 - 23 Sep 2015

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

35. James F. Amos

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

ID

Dates:

B. 12 Nov 1946

 

Period Served:

22 Oct 2010 - 17 Oct 2014

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

34. James T. Conway

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

AR

Dates:

B. 26 Dec 1947

 

Period Served:

14 Nov 2006 - 21 Oct 2010

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

33. Michael W. Hagee*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VA

Dates:

B. 1 Dec 1944

 

Period Served:

14 Jan 2003 - 13 Nov 2006

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

32. James L. Jones

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

MO

Dates:

B. 19 Dec 1943

 

Period Served:

1 Jul 1999 - 13 Jan 2003

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

31. Charles C. Krulak*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth: VA

 Transcript of Interview

Dates:

B. 4 Mar 1942

 

Period Served:

1 Jul 1995 - 30 Jun 1999

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

30. Carl E. Mundy, Jr.

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

GA

Dates:

B. 16 Jul 1935

 D. 2 Apr 2014

Period Served:

1 Jul 1991 - 30 Jun 1995

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

29. Alfred M. Gray, Jr.

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

NJ

Dates:

B. 22 Jun 1928

 

Period Served:

1 Jul 1987 - 30 Jun 1991

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

28. Paul X. Kelley

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

MA

Dates:

B. 11 Nov 1928

 

Period Served:

1 Jul 1983 - 30 Jun 1987

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

27. Robert H. Barrow

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

LA

Dates:

B. 5 Feb 1922

 D. 30 Oct 2008

Period Served:

1 Jul 1979 - 30 Jun 1983

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

26. Louis H. Wilson, Jr.

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth: MS

 Transcript of Interview

Dates:

B. 11 Feb 1920

 D. 21 Jun 2005

Period Served:

1 Jul 1975 - 30 Jun 1979

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

25. Robert E. Cushman, Jr.*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth: MN

 Transcript of Interview

Dates:

B. 24 Dec 1914

D. 2 Jan 1985

Period Served:

1 Jan 1972 - 30 Jun 1975

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

24. Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth: FL

 Transcript of Interview

Dates:

B. 3 Nov 1913

D. 6 Jan 2000

Period Served:

1 Jan 1968 - 31 Dec 1971

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

23. Wallace M. Greene, Jr.*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VT

Dates:

B. 27 Dec 1907

D. 8 Mar 2003

Period Served:

1 Jan 1964 - 31 Dec 1967

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

22. David M. Shoup

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

IN

Dates:

B. 30 Dec 1904

D. 13 Jan 1983

Period Served:

1 Jan 1960 - 31 Dec 1963

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

When Pate was due to be relieved, the President nominated Major General Shoup for a two-year term as he had done with General Pate. The Senate in confirming the nomination, however, invoked the four year provision of the 1913 law and fixed Shoup's tenure as 1960-1964. (Hearing on H.R. 8189, 3 September 1959.)

 

21. Randolph McCall Pate

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

SC

Dates:

B. 11 Feb 1898

D. 31 Jul 1961

Period Served:

1 Jan 1956 - 31 Dec 1959

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

The President in 1955 appointed Lieutenant General Pate to a two-year term as Commandant; in 1957, however, Pate's tenure was renewed for another two years.

 

20. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VA

Dates:

B. 10 Feb 1896

D. 6 Aug 1990

Period Served:

1 Jan 1952 - 31 Dec 1955

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

19. Clifton B. Cates

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

TN

Dates:

B. 31 Aug 1893

D. 4 Jun 1970

Period Served:

1 Jan 1948 - 31 Dec 1951

Initial Rank as CMC:

General

Final Rank:

General

 

18. Alexander A. Vandegrift

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VA

Dates:

B. 13 Mar 1887

D. 8 May 1973

Period Served:

1 Jan 1944 - 31 Dec 1947

Initial Rank as CMC:

Lieutenant General

Final Rank:

General

The Act of 21 March 1945 (59 Stat. 29) permitted the President to appoint the Commandant to the rank of general. When Vandegrift was promoted on 4 April 1945, to rank from 21 March of that year, he became the first Marine to serve in the rank of general. The Act of 21 March 1945 was restricted in effect to "six months after the termination of the war in which the United States is now engaged. . . " Hostilities had not yet been officially terminated when, by the Act of 7 August 1947 (61 Stat. 880), the rank of Commandant was permanently fixed as general.

 

17. Thomas Holcomb

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

DE

Dates:

B. 5 Aug 1879

D. 24 May 1965

Period Served:

1 Dec 1936 - 31 Dec 1943

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Lieutenant General

The Act of 20 January 1942 (56 Stat. 10) provided the rank of lieutenant general for the Commandant, and Holcomb was accordingly promoted to rank from that date. The same act provided that the office henceforth should be known as "Commandant of the Marine Corps." Holcomb was advanced to general on the retired list effective 1 January 1944--the first Marine ever to hold that rank.

 

16. John H. Russell, Jr.*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

CA

Dates:

B. 14 Nov 1872

D. 6 Mar 1947

Period Served:

1 Mar 1934 - 30 Nov 1936

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

 

15. Ben H. Fuller*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

MI

Dates:

B. 27 Feb 1870

D. 8 Jun 1937

Period Served:

9 Jul 1930 - 28 Feb 1934

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

 

14. Wendell C. Neville*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VA

Dates:

B. 12 May 1870

D. 8 Jul 1930

Period Served:

5 Mar 1929 - 8 Jul 1930

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

 

13. John A. Lejeune*

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

LA

Dates:

B. 10 Jan 1867

D. 20 Nov 1942

Period Served:

1 Jul 1920 - 4 Mar 1929

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

Lejeune was the first Commandant reappointed after the expiration of a fixed term. 

 

12. George Barnett *

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

WI

Dates:

B. 9 Dec 1859

D. 27 Apr 1930

Period Served:

25 Feb 1914 - 30 Jun 1920

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

 

11. William P. Biddle

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 15 Dec 1853

D. 25 Feb 1923

Period Served:

3 Feb 1911 - 24 Feb 1914

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major General

Final Rank:

Major General

From the time of Major General Elliott's retirement until his own appointment, Biddle served as Acting Commandant in his personal rank of colonel, 1 December 1910 - 2 February 1911. During Biddle's tenure, the term of Commandant was fixed for the first time at four years, "unless sooner relieved," by the Act of 19 December 1913 (38 Stat.3).

 

10. George F. Elliott

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

AL

Dates:

B. 30 Nov 1846

D. 4 Nov 1931

Period Served:

3 Oct 1903 - 30 Nov 1910

Initial Rank as CMC:

Brigadier General

Final Rank:

Major General

The Act of 13 May 1908 (35 Stat. 166) provided for the post of "major-general commandant, in lieu of the present brigadier-general commandant." Accordingly, on May 1908, Elliott was promoted to major general.

 

9. Charles Heywood

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

ME

Dates:

B. 3 Oct 1839

D. 26 Feb 1915

Period Served:

30 Jan 1891 - 2 Oct 1903

Initial Rank as CMC:

Colonel

Final Rank:

Major General

By the Act of 3 March 1899 (30 Stat. 413) the post of Commandant was again raised to that of brigadier general; Heywood was promoted as of that date. The Act of 1 July 1902 (32 Stat. 1368) accorded the Commandant the rank, pay, and allowances of a major general in the army. This act, however, specifically provided that should a vacancy occur in the office "on the expiration of the service of the present incumbent, by retirement or otherwise, the commandant of the Marine Corps shall thereafter have the rank, pay, and allowances of a brigadier-general." Thus, Heywood's final rank must be considered to have been personal in character.

 

8. Charles G. McCawley

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 29 Jan 1827

D. 13 Oct 1891

Period Served:

1 Nov 1876 - 29 Jan 1891

Initial Rank as CMC:

Colonel

Final Rank:

Colonel

 

7. Jacob Zeilin

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 16 Jul 1806

D. 18 Nov 1880

Period Served:

10 Jun 1864 - 31 Oct 1876

Initial Rank as CMC:

Colonel

Final Rank:

Brigadier General

The Act of March 1867 (14 Stat. 174) provided that "the commandant of the Marine corps shall have the rank and pay of a brigadier general of the army." This law was repealed by the Act of 6 June 1874 (18 Stat. 216) when the office of Commandant was returned to the rank of colonel when and if a vacancy occurred. Thus, Zeilin retained his rank of brigadier general but his successor was slated to be a colonel.

 

6. John Harris

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 20 May 1790

D. 12 May 1864

Period Served:

7 Jan 1859 - 12 May 1864

Initial Rank as CMC:

Colonel

Final Rank:

Colonel

Between the death of Harris and the appointment of Zeilin, Major Augustus S. Nicholson, the Adjutant and Inspector, served as Acting Commandant from 13 May - 9 June 1864.

 

5. Archibald Henderson

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

VA

Dates:

B. 21 Jan 1783

D. 6 Jan 1859

Period Served:

17 Oct 1820 - 6 Jan 1859

Initial Rank as CMC:

Lieutenant Colonel

Final Rank:

Colonel

By authority of the Act of 30 June 1834 (4 Stat. 32) the rank of Commandant was raised to colonel. On 4 March 1843, Henderson was commissioned brigadier general by brevet for his services during the Florida Indian Wars. Subsequently, he was commonly referred to as Brevet Brigadier General Henderson. This was a personal rank in the nature of a decoration for gallantry. It had nothing to do with the office of the Commandant - less, in fact, than the personal rank held by Heywood. In this connection, it should be noted that, in official correspondence, Henderson usually signed himself "Col. Commdt".

 

4. Anthony Gale

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

Ireland

Dates:

B. 17 Sep 1782

D. 1843

Period Served:

3 Mar 1819 - 16 Oct 1820

Initial Rank as CMC:

Lieutenant Colonel

Final Rank:

Lieutenant Colonel

 

3. Franklin Wharton

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 23 July 1767

D. 1 Sep 1818

Period Served:

6 Mar 1804 - 1 Sep 1818

Initial Rank as CMC:

Lieutenant Colonel

Final Rank:

Lieutenant Colonel

Between Wharton's death and Gale's appointment, Brevet Major Samuel Miller, the Adjutant and Inspector and Brevet Major Archibald Henderson served as Acting Commandant, 2-15 September 1818 and 16 September 1818 - 2 March 1819, respectively.

 

2. William Ward Burrows

Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

SC

Dates:

B. 16 Jan 1758

D. 6 Mar 1805

Period Served:

12 Jul 1798 - 6 Mar 1804

Initial Rank as CMC:

Major

Final Rank:

Lieutenant Colonel

When Burrows was appointed under authority of the Act of 11 July 1798 (1 Stat. 72) he was not known technically as "Major Commandant." It was not until 1 May 1800, when Burrows was promoted to "Lieutenant Colonel Commandant" under the Act of 22 April 1800 (2 Stat. 29), that there was an alliance of rank and position for the head of the Marine Corps.

 

1. Samuel Nicholas

 Brief Bio and Portrait

State of Birth:

PA

Dates:

B. 1744

D. 27 Aug 1790

Period Served:

28 Nov 1775 - Aug 1783

Initial Rank as CMC:

Captain

Final Rank:

Major

The resolution of the Continental Congress on 10 November 1775 provided for a colonel to command two battalions of Marines authorized, but the highest rank received by any Marine during the Revolution was that of major. Samuel Nicholas was appointed "Captain of Marines" on 28 November 1775, and promoted to major on 25 June 1776. Because of his senior status among other Marine officers of the Revolution, he is numbered as the first Commandant. The year 1781 saw Major Nicholas' return to private life. By the summer of 1781 there were only three Marine captains and three lieutenants on active duty, and overall organization had ceased to exist.

* Naval Academy Graduate