General Robert Everton Cushman, Jr., 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was born 24 December 1914, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Central High School and at sixteen, before graduating, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Graduating tenth in his class of 442, he was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant on 6 June 1935. 

Second Lieutenant Cushman completed The Basic School for Marine officers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, then served briefly at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California. In February 1936, he arrived in Shanghai, China, and served as a platoon commander with the 4th Marines and later the 2d Marine Brigade. On his return to the United States in March 1938, he served at naval shipyards in Brooklyn, New York and Portsmouth, Virginia. He was promoted to first lieutenant in August 1938. 

In April 1939, 1stLt Cushman was assigned to the Marine Detachment at the New York World’s Fair, and was subsequently stationed at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. He was promoted to captain in March 1941. 

In June 1941, Capt Cushman reported aboard the USS Pennsylvania in San Diego, enroute to Pearl Harbor, as Commanding Officer of the ship’s Marine Detachment. He was serving in this capacity when the Japanese attacked the ship and other naval installations at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Upon his transfer from the Pennsylvania, he joined the 9th Marines at San Diego as a battalion executive officer in May 1942 and was promoted to major that same month. 

Major Cushman hiked from San Diego to Camp Pendleton with his unit in September 1942, and embarked for the Pacific Area in January 1943. That month, Maj Cushman was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, and in May 1943 was promoted to lieutenant colonel. During the two years he held that post, he led his battalion repeatedly into combat, earning the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” on Bougainville, the Navy Cross during the recapture of Guam, and the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” during the Iwo Jima campaign, where he led his battalion against "Cushman's Pocket,” a complex of enemy caves. 

Upon his return to the United States in May 1945, LtCol Cushman was stationed at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, for three years. During that period he completed the Senior School, served as an instructor in the Command and Staff School, and during the latter two years was Supervisory Instructor, Amphibious Warfare School. In June 1948, he was named Head of the Amphibious Warfare Branch, Office of Naval Research, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. From October 1949 until May 1951, he served on the staff of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While there, he was promoted to colonel in May 1950. 

In June 1951, Col Cushman joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleet, in London, serving as Amphibious Plans Officer until June 1953. Following his return to the United States, he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as a member of the faculty of the Armed Forces Staff College, and in July 1954 became Director of the Plans and Operations Division there. 

In July 1956, he assumed command of the 2d Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. 

Assigned to Washington, D.C., in February 1957, he served four years on the staff of then-Vice President Richard Nixon as Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. While serving in this capacity he was promoted to brigadier general in July 1958. 

Following his departure from Washington, BGen Cushman became Assistant Division Commander, 3d Marine Division, on Okinawa in March 1961. He was promoted to major general in August 1961, and in September assumed command of the Division. 

In July 1962, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) in Washington, D.C., where he was assigned as both Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Plans, Operations and Training), in which capacities he served until 1 January 1964. From that date until June 1964, he served only as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. 

From June 1964 until March 1967, MajGen Cushman served in the dual capacity of Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, and Commanding General, 4th Marine Division Headquarters Nucleus. In June 1966, he formed the 5th Marine Division, and additionally, he served as its Commanding General at Camp Pendleton until November 1966. 

Major General Cushman was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in April 1967 and was assigned as the Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force. Upon assuming duty as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, the largest combined combat unit ever led by a Marine, he was promoted to lieutenant general in June 1967. 

For his service as Deputy Commander, from April to May 1967, and subsequently as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, from June to December 1967, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. A Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal was awarded for his service as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force; Senior Advisor, I Corps Tactical Zone; and I Corps Coordinator for United States/Free World Military Assistance Forces, from January 1968 to March 1969. 

On 6 March 1969, while serving in Vietnam, LtGen Cushman was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to be the Deputy Director of the CIA; the Senate confirmed his nomination, 21 April 1969. 

Upon his return to the United States, he served briefly as Director of Personnel/Deputy Chief of Staff (Manpower) at HQMC. LtGen Cushman subsequently served as Deputy Director of the CIA from April 1969 through December 1971, for which service he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. He was promoted to general and assumed the office of Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 January 1972. 

During LtGen Cushman’s tenure, he saw the last of the Marines leave Vietnam and the peacetime strength fall to 194,000 while still maintaining readiness to act in such emergencies as the Mayaguez rescue and the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon. 

General Cushman retired 30 June 1975. He died 2 January 1985 at his home in Fort Washington, Maryland, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

A complete list of the general’s medals and decorations include: Navy Cross; Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars in lieu of a second and third award; Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V;” Navy Commendation Medal; Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze Star; Navy Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star; Distinguished Intelligence Medal; China Service Medal; American Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star (Fleet Clasp); American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Silver Star; Victory Medal, World War II; National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star; Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star and two Bronze Stars; Order of May to the Naval Merit, in the Degree of Commander (Government of Argentina); National Order of Vietnam, Commander or 3d Class, Republic of Vietnam; Army Distinguished Service Order 1st Class, Republic of Vietnam; National Order of Vietnam, Commander or 3d Class, Republic of Vietnam; Army Distinguished Service Order 1st Class, Republic of Vietnam; Cross of Gallantry with 2 Palms, Republic of Vietnam; Order of Military Merit, 2d Class (Ulchi), Republic of Korea; Order of Military Merit, 3d Class (Chungmu), Republic of Korea; Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Color); Vietnam Campaign Medal; and Vietnamese Rural Revolutionary Development Medal, Republic of Vietnam. 

Commandants of the Marine Corps