General Richard I. Neal was born on 20 June 1942, in Hull, Massachusetts. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduation in 1965, from Northeastern University, Boston, where he received a B.S. degree in History and Education. He also holds a M.A. degree from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (1973).

Following completion of The Basic School, Quantico, and subsequently the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, General Neal was assigned to the 3d Marine Division, Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a Forward Observer with the 3d Battalion, 9th Marines. He returned to Vietnam in January 1970, where he was assigned as an Infantry Battalion Advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Upon his return he attended Amphibious Warfare School.

In 1973, he served as the Commanding Officer of the 2d 155 Howitzer Battery, 2d Field Artillery Group at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Following a tour as head of Company Grade Assignment Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, he attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He served on the Air-Ground Exchange Program, as S-3, Marine Aircraft Group 36, on Okinawa. Upon return from overseas, General Neal was assigned as the Head, Operations Division, Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1981.

In 1982, he was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of school, he returned to Camp Lejeune to command the 5th Battalion, 10th Marines. General Neal was promoted to colonel in 1985, and was assigned to the U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, Florida, as the Chief of the Policy/Strategy Division and later as the Chief of the Special Projects Division in the J-5 Directorate.

General Neal was assigned duty as Director, Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico in August, 1988. While serving in this capacity, he was selected for promotion to brigadier general in December 1989.

In July 1990, General Neal was advanced to brigadier general and assigned duty as the Director, Manpower Plans and Policy Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department. He served in this capacity until 21 May 1992. From September 1990 to April 1991, he was assigned temporary duty as the Deputy for Operations at U.S. Central Command for Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.

General Neal was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, II MEF on 4 June 1992. From June 1992 until August 1992, he served as Commanding General, Joint Task Force for Operation GITMO, a humanitarian relief effort for Haitian migrants at Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba.

General Neal was advanced to major general on 2 April 1993, and assigned as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division. In August 1994, he was assigned as the Deputy Commander in Chief/Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, and advanced to lieutenant general in October 1994.

General Neal's personal decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Defense Superior Service Medal with Palm in lieu of a second award; Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"; Purple Heart; Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; and the Combat Action Ribbon.

General Neal was promoted to General on 19 September 1996 and assumed duties as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 27 September 1996. He retired from the Marine Corps on 4 September 1998 after 36 years of service.

Assistant Commandants of the Marine Corps

Marine Corps University