Joseph J. Went was born in New Milford, Connecticut, on 16 September 1930. In 1953, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut. He also received a master’s degree in Business Administration from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1963, and graduated with distinction from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in June 1972.

He entered the Marine Corps in July 1952 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in December 1952. Following completion of The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, in June 1953, he underwent flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. 2dLt Went was promoted to first lieutenant on 18 August 1954, and was designated a naval aviator a month later.

He was promoted to captain on 1 July 1956, major on 1 November 1963, lieutenant colonel on 1 October 1967, and colonel on 1 July 1974. During these years, he served with Marine attack, reconnaissance, transport and fighter squadrons. He commanded Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 12; Marine Attack Squadron 214; Marine Aircraft Group 24; the 3d Force Service Support Group and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. He also had extensive experience in operational and joint planning, financial management and logistics.

Colonel Went assumed duty as Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Brigade, Hawaii, in April 1976. While serving in this capacity, he was selected in February 1978 for promotion to brigadier general. He assumed duty as Deputy Fiscal Director of the Marine Corps, on 1 April 1978 and was advanced to brigadier general on 1 August 1978. In June 1980, he was assigned duty as Commanding General, 3d Force Service Support Group (Rein), FMF, Pacific, Okinawa, Japan. He was advanced to major general on 2 June 1982 and assigned duty as Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, FMF, Pacific, Okinawa, Japan. MajGen Went served in this capacity until May 1983. On 6 June 1983, he was assigned duty as the Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. During June 1984, MajGen Went reported to Headquarters Marine Corps where he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs. On 6 June 1985, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics and was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 August 1985.

Lieutenant General Went was appointed to the grade of general and reassigned as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1988. He assumed additional duties as the Chief of Staff on 6 October 1988. He served in both these capacities until 31 July 1990. Gen Went retired from the Marine Corps on 1 August 1990 after 38 years of military service.

General Went’s decorations include the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, and three awards of the Air Medal.


Assistant Commandants of the Marine Corps 

Marine Corps University