Lieutenant General Ernest C. Cheatham, Jr.



Lieutenant General Ernest C. Cheatham, Jr., retired from the Marine Corps on 1 January 1988, after serving more than 35 years in the Corps. General Cheatham was born 27 July 1929, in Long Beach, California, and completed St. Anthony High School there in 1947. He graduated from Loyola University in 1952 with a B.S. degree in Political Science. He later earned a master's degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

Following graduation, he completed the Officer Candidate Course at Quantico and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant on 20 September 1952. After completing The Basic School in February 1953, he served as a platoon commander in Japan and Korea until his return to the U.S. in June 1954.  In March 1955, he returned to active duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, as a company commander.

Promoted to captain in April 1956, his subsequent assignments were as Executive Officer, Marine Barracks, Adak, Alaska; company commander with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; Inspector Instructor, 44th Rifle Company, Boise, Idaho; and with the 12th Marine Corps District, San Francisco, California. Promoted to major in July 1963, he returned to Quantico, where he attended the Command and Staff College, graduating as an Honor Student. In July 1967, he was transferred to the 1st Marin Division in Vietnam where he served as a battalion executive officer, regimental S-3, and battalion commanding officer, and earned the Navy Cross and the Legion of Merit with Combat "V". He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in October 1967.

General Cheatham was then assigned to the Office of the Joint Chief of Staff until October 1970, when he became Executive Officer, Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. He then attended the National War College. In 1973, he returned to Quantico, serving as Chief Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, Development Center. He was promoted to colonel in 1973. Transferred to Okinawa in 1976, he served as Commanding Officer, 4th Marines. Upon his advancement to brigadier general on 1 June 1977, he was assigned duty as Director, Facilities and Services Division at Headquarters Marine Corps. General Cheatham transferred to Norfolk, Virginia in June 1979, for duty as Commanding General, Landing Force Training Command, Atlantic/Commanding General, 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade and later assumed duties as Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, Policy, Joint Exercises, CINCLANT/CINCLANTFLT in October, 1980. He was advanced to major general on 30 March 1981. During August 1982 he was assigned duties as Commanding General, I Marine Amphibious Force/Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, FMF, Camp Pendleton, California. He was appointed to lieutenant general on 25 June 1985 and assumed duty as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Headquarters Marine Corps on 28 June 1985. He served in this capacity until his retirement from the Marine Corps in January 1988.

General Cheatham's other personal decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with two palms and gold star.

Marine Corps University