Flag of a Marine Corpslieutenant general
Flag of a Marine Corps
lieutenant general

This is a list of lieutenant generals in the United States Marine Corps since 2010. The rank of lieutenant general (or three-star general) is the second-highest rank in the Marine Corps, and the first to have a specified number of appointments set by statute. It ranks above major general (two-star general) and below general (four-star general).

There have been 61 lieutenant generals in the United States Marine Corps since January 1, 2010, 7 of whom were promoted to four-star general. All 61 achieved that rank while on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. Lieutenant generals entered the Marine Corps via several paths: 35 via Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at a civilian university, 9 via the United States Naval Academy (USNA), 9 via Officer Candidate School (OCS), and 8 via NROTC at a senior military college.

List of generals

Entries in the following list of lieutenant generals are indexed by the numerical order in which each officer was promoted to that rank while on active duty, or by an asterisk (*) if the officer did not serve in that rank while on active duty. Each entry lists the general's name, date of rank,[a] active-duty positions held while serving at three-star rank,[b] number of years of active-duty service at three-star rank (Yrs),[c] year commissioned and source of commission,[d] number of years in commission when promoted to three-star rank (YC),[e] and other biographical notes.[f]

List of U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant generals since 2010
# Name Photo Date of rank[a] Position[b] Yrs[c] Commission[d] YC[e] Notes[f]
1 Walter E. Gaskin Sr.
LtGen Walter E. Gaskin (2).jpg
22 Mar 2010[1] 3 1974 (NROTC) 36 (1951–        ) Secretary, North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, 2021–present.[2]
2 Robert E. Schmidle Jr.
Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle,Jr.jpg
5 Aug 2010   6 1976 (NROTC) 34 (c. 1953        ) Naval aviator.
3 John E. Wissler
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WISSLER.jpg
5 Aug 2010   7 1978 (USNA) 32
4 Richard T. Tryon
Lt. Gen. Richard T. Tryon, USMC.jpg
29 Oct 2010   4 1975 (USNA)[4] 35 (c. 1954        ) Great-grandson of Navy rear admiral James R. Tryon.
5 Robert E. Milstead Jr.
Lieutenant General Robert E. Milstead, Jr..jpg
22 Dec 2010   3 1975 (NROTC) 36 (1951–        )
6 Kenneth J. Glueck Jr.
Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr (cropped).jpg
7 Jan 2011   4 1974 (NROTC) 37 (c. 1951        ) Naval aviator.
* Robert B. Neller
Neller July 9, 2015.JPG
11 Jan 2011[5] 4 1975 (OCS)[g] 35 (1953–        )[h] Promoted to general, 24 Sep 2015.
7 Richard P. Mills
Lieutenant General Richard P. Mills.jpg
Jul 2011   4 1975 (OCS) 36 (1950–        )
8 Steven A. Hummer
Lieutenant General Steven A. Hummer.jpg
10 Aug 2011[7]
  • Commander, Marine Forces Reserve/Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Northern Command (COMMARFORRES/COMMARFORNORTH), 2011–2013.
  • Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations, U.S. Africa Command, 2013–2015.
4 1977 (NROTC)[i] 34 (1952–        )
9 Thomas L. Conant
Lieutenant General Thomas L. Conant, USMC.jpg
1 Mar 2012   2 1975 (NROTC) 37 (c. 1952        ) Naval aviator.
10 Jon M. Davis
Lieutenant General Jon M. Davis.JPG
24 May 2012   5 1980 (OCS)[g] 32 (c. 1958        ) Naval aviator.
11 John A. Toolan Jr.
Lieutenant General John A. Toolan.JPG
12 Sep 2012[9] 4 1976 (NROTC) 36 (1954–        )
12 William M. Faulkner
LtGen William M. Faulkner (2).jpg
2 Oct 2012   3 1982 (NROTC) 30 (c. 1960        )[j]
13 Robert R. Ruark
Robert R. Ruark (2).jpg
23 May 2013   4 1981 (NROTC) 32
14 Ronald L. Bailey
Ronald L. Bailey.jpg
14 Jun 2013   4 1977 (NROTC) 36 (c. 1953        )
* Glenn M. Walters
Lieutenant General Glenn M. Walters.JPG
17 Jun 2013[10] 3 1979 (Citadel) 34 (1957–        )[k] Naval aviator. Promoted to general, 2 Aug 2016. President, The Citadel, 2018–present.
* Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.
Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr.JPG
3 Jun 2014   5 1979 (Citadel) 35 (1957–        )[l] Promoted to general, 28 Mar 2019.
* David H. Berger
Lt. Gen. David H. Berger.jpg
11 Jul 2014   5 1981 (NROTC) 33 (1959–        )[h] Promoted to general, 11 Jul 2019.
15 James B. Laster
LtGen James B. Laster.jpg
11 Dec 2014   3 1978 (OCS)[g] 36
16 Vincent R. Stewart
Stewart CYBERCOM.jpg
23 Jan 2015   4 1981 (NROTC) 34 (1958–        ) First African-American and Jamaican-American to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.[11]
17 Mark A. Brilakis
Lt. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis.jpg
30 Apr 2015   4 1981 (OCS)[g] 34 (1958–        )
18 Robert S. Walsh
Lieutenant General Robert S. Walsh (cropped).JPG
20 Aug 2015[12] 3 1979 (USNA) 36 (c. 1957        ) Naval aviator.
19 Michael G. Dana
Lt. Gen. Michael G. Dana.jpg
4 Sep 2015   4 1982 (NROTC) 33
20 Lawrence D. Nicholson
LIEUTENANT GENERAL NICHOLSON (cropped).jpg
11 Sep 2015   3 1979 (Citadel) 36 (1956–        )
21 Rex C. McMillian
Lieutenant General Rex C. McMillian.jpg
12 Sep 2015  
  • Commander, Marine Forces Reserve/Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Northern Command (COMMARFORRES/COMMARFORNORTH), 2015–2018.
3 1980 (OCS)[g] 35 (c. 1956        )
22 William D. Beydler
LtGen William D. Beydler MARCENT.jpg
27 Oct 2015   3 1981 (USNA) 34 (c. 1957        ) Naval aviator.
* Gary L. Thomas
Lt. Gen. Gary L. Thomas.jpg
29 Jun 2016   2 1984 (NROTC) 32 (1962–        )[k] Naval aviator. Promoted to general, 4 Oct 2018.
23 Lewis A. Craparotta
Lieutenant General L. A. Craparotta.jpg
27 Jul 2016   5 1983 (NROTC) 33 (1960–        )
24 Joseph L. Osterman
Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman(2) (cropped).jpg
Oct 2016   4 1982 (NROTC) 34 (1960–        )
25 Steven R. Rudder
Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder (2).jpg
10 Jul 2017   5 1984 (NROTC) 33 (c. 1962        ) Naval aviator.
26 Robert F. Hedelund
Lt. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund.jpg
14 Jul 2017   4 1983 (NROTC) 34 (1961–        ) Naval aviator.
27 Brian D. Beaudreault
Lieutenant General Brian D. Beaudreault.jpg
21 Jul 2017   4 1983 (NROTC) 34 (1960–        )
28 Daniel J. O'Donohue
Lt. Gen. Daniel J. O
31 Jul 2017   2 1984 (NROTC) 33 (c. 1962        )
29 H. Stacy Clardy III
Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III.jpg
3 Aug 2017   4 1983 (NROTC) 34 (1960–        )
30 Michael A. Rocco
Lt. Gen. Michael A. Rocco.jpg
8 Aug 2017   3 1983 (NROTC) 34 (c. 1960        ) Naval aviator.
31 John J. Broadmeadow
Lt. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow (2).jpg
1 Sep 2017[14] 3 1983 (Norwich) 34 (1961–        )
32 Charles G. Chiarotti
Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti.jpg
29 Jun 2018[15] 3 1985 (NROTC) 33
33 Loretta E. Reynolds
Lt. Gen. Loretta E. Reynolds.jpg
2 Jul 2018   3 1986 (USNA) 32
34 Carl E. Mundy III
Lt. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III.jpg
11 Jul 2018   3 1983 (NROTC) 35 (1960–        ) Son of Marine Corps four-star general Carl E. Mundy Jr.
* Eric M. Smith
Lieutenant General Eric M. Smith (cropped 2).jpg
2 Aug 2018   3 1987 (Texas A&M) 31 (c. 1961        )[k] Promoted to general, 8 Oct 2021.
35 John K. Love
John K. Love (3).jpg
Sep 2018   3 1984 (NROTC)[n] 34
36 John M. Jansen
Lt. Gen. John M. Jansen.jpg
2 Oct 2018   3 1986 (OCS)[g] 32 (c. 1964        ) Naval aviator.
37 George W. Smith Jr.
Lt. Gen. George W. Smith, Jr.jpg
27 Sep 2018   4 1985 (NROTC) 33 (c. 1963        ) Son of Marine Corps major general George W. Smith.
38 David G. Bellon
Lt. Gen. David G. Bellon.jpg
4 Sep 2019   3 1989 (NROTC) 30
39 Dennis A. Crall
LtGen Dennis A. Crall (2).jpg
21 May 2020  
  • Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber and Chief Information Officer, Joint Staff, J6, 2020–2022.
2 1987 (NROTC) 33 (c. 1965        )
40 Mark R. Wise
Lt. Gen. Mark R. Wise.jpg
21 May 2020   2 1986 (NROTC) 34 (c. 1964        ) Naval aviator.
41 Karsten S. Heckl
Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl (2).jpg
31 Jul 2020   2 1988 (NROTC) 32 (1964–        ) Naval aviator.
42 David A. Ottignon
Lt. Gen. David A. Ottignon (cropped).jpg
4 Aug 2020   2 1987 (NROTC) 33
43 Michael S. Groen
LtGen Michael S. Groen (2).jpg
1 Oct 2020   2 1986 (NROTC) 34 (1964–        )
44 Matthew G. Glavy
Lt. Gen. Matthew G. Glavy.jpg
7 Jul 2021   1 1986 (USNA) 35 (c. 1964        ) Naval aviator.
45 William M. Jurney
Lt. Gen. William M. Jurney.jpg
8 Jul 2021   1 1988 (OCS)[o] 33 (c. 1966        )
46 Edward D. Banta
Lt Gen Edward D. Banta.jpg
9 Jul 2021   1 1986 (OCS) 35
47 David J. Furness
Lt Gen David J. Furness.jpg
Aug 2021   1 1987 (VMI) 34
48 Kevin M. Iiams
Lt. Gen. Kevin M. Iiams.jpg
2 Aug 2021   1 1986 (USNA) 35 (c. 1964        ) Naval aviator.
49 Christopher J. Mahoney
Lt Gen Christopher J. Mahoney.jpg
9 Aug 2021   1 1987 (NROTC) 34 (c. 1965        ) Naval aviator.
50 Stephen D. Sklenka
Lt Gen Stephen D. Sklenka.jpg
16 Aug 2021   1 1988 (USNA) 33 (1966–        )
51 James W. Bierman Jr.
Lt Gen James W. Bierman (cropped).jpg
9 Nov 2021   1 1987 (VMI) 34 (c. 1965        )
* Michael E. Langley
Lt Gen Michael E. Langley.jpg
10 Nov 2021   1 1985 (NROTC) 36 (c. 1963        )[l] Promoted to general, 6 Aug 2022.
53 Gregg P. Olson
LtGen Gregg P. Olson.jpg
17 Feb 2022   0 1985 (USNA) 37 (1963–        )
54 Dimitri Henry
LtGen Dimitri Henry.jpg
1 Jun 2022  
  • Director, Intelligence, Joint Staff, J2, 2022–present.
0 1988 (Texas A&M) 34 (c. 1963        ) Served 7 years in the enlisted ranks before receiving his commission in 1988.
55 Michael S. Cederholm
LtGen Michael S. Cederholm.jpg
27 Jul 2022   0 1989 (NROTC) 33 (c. 1966        ) Naval aviator.

Timeline

2010–present

Michael CederholmDimitri HenryGregg P. OlsonMichael LangleyJames BiermanStephen SklenkaChristopher J. MahoneyKevin IiamsDavid FurnessEdward BantaWilliam JurneyMatthew GlavyMichael GroenDavid OttignonKarsten HecklMark R. WiseDennis CrallDavid BellonGeorge W. Smith Jr.John M. JensenJohn K. LoveEric Smith (general)Carl E. Mundy IIILoretta ReynoldsCharles ChiarottiJohn J. BroadmeadowMichael A. RoccoH. Stacy ClardyDaniel J. O'DonohueBrian BeaudreaultRobert F. HedelundSteven R. RudderJoseph OstermanLewis A. CraparottaGary L. Thomas (general)William D. BeydlerRex C. McMillianLawrence D. NicholsonMichael G. DanaRobert S. WalshMark A. BrilakisVincent StewartJames B. LasterDavid H. BergerKenneth F. McKenzie Jr.Glenn M. WaltersRonald L. BaileyRobert R. RuarkWilliam M. FaulknerJohn A. ToolanJon M. DavisThomas L. ConantSteven A. HummerRichard P. Mills (general)Robert NellerKenneth J. Glueck Jr.Robert E. Milstead Jr.Richard T. TryonJohn WisslerRobert E. Schmidle Jr.Walter E. GaskinIraq WarWar in Afghanistan (2001–2021)

History

See also: List of United States Marine Corps lieutenant generals on active duty before 1960 § History

World War I

James C. Breckinridge

The rank of lieutenant general in the Marine Corps was first proposed in 1918, when the Senate Naval Affairs Committee tried to increase the rank of the major general commandant and his three senior staff officers for the duration of World War I. Instigated by the incumbent commandant, George Barnett, the proposal was blocked by Navy secretary Josephus Daniels and House Naval Affairs Committee member Thomas S. Butler, who was outraged that the headquarters staff would gain a lieutenant general commandant and three major generals at a time when no Marine major generals were deployed in the field. The incident contributed to Daniels' decision to remove Barnett midway through his second term as commandant.[17][18]

A decade later, Butler himself tried to promote Barnett's successor as commandant, John A. Lejeune, to lieutenant general to match the three-star rank proposed for Army corps area commanders in 1928. The Navy had four admirals and three vice admirals, but the highest active-duty Army rank was only major general, so the War Department asked Congress to raise the ex officio ranks of the Army chief of staff and three overseas department commanders to general and nine corps area commanders to lieutenant general. At the President's behest, the House Military Affairs Committee approved only the four-star promotion for the chief of staff. Since the Army still had no lieutenant generals and Navy secretary Curtis D. Wilbur felt the commandant was not equivalent to a three-star fleet commander in the Navy, Lejeune's promotion died in committee.[19][20][21]

In 1925, Congress authorized Marine Corps officers to retire with a tombstone promotion to the rank but not the retired pay of the next higher grade if they were specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat during World War I, but only if they retired because they were too old to be promoted further, a condition that excluded major generals, who already held the highest grade in the Marine Corps. Congress expanded eligibility in 1938 to cover officers with a qualifying combat citation from any time period who retired for any reason,[22] allowing James C. Breckinridge to become the first three-star Marine when he retired with a tombstone promotion to lieutenant general in October 1941.[23][24] Lejeune lobbied Congress to extend tombstone promotions to officers who had retired before 1938, and finally received his third star in April 1942.[25]

World War II

Thomas Holcomb

In January 1942, following the United States entry into World War II, Congress increased the commandant's rank to lieutenant general, making Thomas Holcomb the first three-star Marine to serve on active duty. Holcomb's superior, chief of naval operations Ernest J. King, opposed promoting more Marines to that rank, but King relented after Alexander A. Vandegrift, recently awarded the Medal of Honor for the Battle of Guadalcanal, was assigned to command the first Marine amphibious corps and slated to succeed Holcomb as commandant. Vandegrift was appointed temporary lieutenant general in July 1943,[26] under a 1941 law that anticipated the wartime expansion of the Marine Corps by authorizing an unlimited number of temporary general officers for the duration of the national emergency.[27]

When Vandegrift returned to the United States to become commandant in January 1944, King rejected Holcomb's bid to maintain a three-star Marine in the Pacific theater by promoting the other amphibious corps commander, Holland M. Smith, who had led the ground forces at the Battle of Tarawa. Smith received his third star only after the naval commanders at Tarawa, Raymond A. Spruance and Richmond K. Turner, were rewarded with promotions in March 1944.[28][29]

Unlike Holcomb, whose three-star rank was an aspect of his office of commandant, Vandegrift and Smith held personal three-star grades that followed them regardless of assignment, as did every other temporary lieutenant general appointed before the Officer Personnel Act of 1947 made all three-star ranks ex officio. For example, upon relinquishing his final command in May 1946, Smith remained a lieutenant general for the three months until he actually retired,[30] whereas a postwar lieutenant general would have reverted immediately to his permanent two-star grade. Early promotions to these wartime grades therefore rewarded past personal triumphs—Guadalcanal for Vandegrift and Tarawa for Smith—as much as future organizational efficiency.[26]

By the end of the war, the commandant was a full general. One lieutenant general commanded Marines deployed overseas under Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, and a second lieutenant general commanded Marines being readied for deployment under Marine Training and Replacement Command. A third lieutenant general was appointed in January 1947 to command the new Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

Postwar

The Officer Personnel Act of 1947 authorized only two lieutenant generals for the Marine Corps after July 1, 1948, except during war or national emergency. All active-duty ranks above major general were temporary and ex officio, so upon vacating an office carrying three-star rank, an officer reverted to his permanent two-star grade unless he retired. The two lieutenant generals were assigned to command the operating forces in the Pacific and Atlantic.[31]

The permanent peacetime limit of two lieutenant generals was imposed during the post-World War II drawdown, but remained in place even as the Marine Corps expanded during the Cold War. The state of emergency declared for the Korean War on December 16, 1950, allowed a third lieutenant general to serve as assistant commandant and chief of staff of the Marine Corps, and a fourth as commandant of Marine Corps Schools. A fifth lieutenant general was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as director of aviation in 1953, but its three-star designation shifted to the chief of staff when that job was separated from assistant commandant in 1957.[32]

Congress finally declared in 1977 that up to 15 percent of all active-duty Marine Corps general officers could be lieutenant generals or generals even without an emergency, after the 1976 National Emergencies Act terminated all existing national emergencies, effective September 14, 1978, which would have eliminated five of the seven lieutenant generals then on active duty.[33]

Tombstone promotions

Further information: List of United States Marine Corps tombstone lieutenant generals

Keller E. Rockey

From 1938 to 1959, Marine officers who were specially commended for the performance of duty in actual combat before the end of World War II could retire with the rank but not the pay of the next higher grade. Such honorary increases in rank at retirement were called tombstone promotions, since their only tangible benefit was the right to carve the higher rank on one's tombstone.[34] Tombstone promotions made James C. Breckinridge the first three-star Marine in October 1941,[23][24] and Thomas Holcomb the first four-star Marine in January 1944.

A lieutenant general could only receive a tombstone promotion to four-star general if he still held a three-star job on the day he retired. When Oliver P. Smith was abruptly ordered to relinquish his three-star command on September 1, 1955, and revert to major general for the two months until his statutory retirement, he moved up his retirement date to September 1 and kept his tombstone promotion to general.[35]

Of the 27 lieutenant generals appointed before Congress ended tombstone promotions on November 1, 1959, all but five were promoted to general, either by tombstone promotion, selection as commandant, or posthumous legislation, in the case of Roy S. Geiger, who died only a week before he was scheduled to retire with a tombstone promotion.[36] The exceptions were Keller E. Rockey and Robert H. Pepper, who preferred to revert to major general rather than retire at the end of their three-star assignments;[37] Thomas E. Watson, who relinquished command of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific for an assignment at Headquarters Marine Corps, but retired for ill health only three months later;[38] Merwin H. Silverthorn, who was too young to retire for age when his three-star assignment ended and Congress had suspended early retirements;[39] and Verne J. McCaul, who chose to sacrifice a fourth star to stay on active duty until the new commandant took office two months after tombstone promotions ended.[40]

Commandant successions

Merwin H. Silverthorn

Lieutenant general appointments were inextricably tied to the politics of commandant succession. Any lieutenant general was a viable candidate for commandant if he was young enough to complete a full four-year term before reaching the statutory retirement age of 62, as were prominent major generals.[41]

A commandant tended to appoint lieutenant generals in two waves, one at the start of his term and one in the middle.[41] The first wave filled three-star positions vacated by the newly appointed commandant and any rivals who chose to retire after being passed over. For example, Allen H. Turnage retired after a major general, Clifton B. Cates, was selected to be commandant in 1947,[42] as did all five lieutenant generals after another major general, David M. Shoup, was selected in 1959.[43] An incoming commandant might also choose not to retain his predecessor's lieutenant generals, to clear space for his own favorites. Of the five lieutenant generals who retired at Shoup's accession, at least two, Verne J. McCaul and Robert E. Hogaboom, only did so after he made clear they would not be continued at that rank.[44] Upon succeeding Cates in 1952, Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. promptly appointed Gerald C. Thomas to be his assistant commandant and chief of staff, sending Cates' appointee, Merwin H. Silverthorn, to a two-star job until retirement.[45]

From the middle of his term, a commandant's choices for lieutenant general were meant to set up his preferred candidates to succeed him and eliminate others from consideration.[41] When picking a commandant in 1947, President Harry S. Truman judged Cates and Shepherd to be equally qualified. Since Cates was senior, Truman appointed Cates first and promised to appoint Shepherd next.[42] Cates duly appointed Shepherd to the next three-star vacancy, but when Oliver P. Smith returned to the United States in 1951 after famously commanding the 1st Marine Division at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Cates gave Smith another two-star command instead of the three-star promotion many expected, reducing the risk that Smith's popularity might derail Shepherd's succession. Smith finally received his third star two years later, after he was too old to be considered for commandant.[46]

Verne J. McCaul

When Cates stepped down as commandant, he had to stay on active duty because a 1951 law froze voluntary officer retirements by withholding retired pay from any regular officer who retired for any reason other than age, disability, hardship, or the best interests of the service.[39] (When Graves B. Erskine retired early to accept a civilian position in the Department of Defense in 1953, Congress had to pass special legislation to exempt him.[47]) At Cates' request, Shepherd gave him the three-star job commanding Marine Corps Schools, repaying his support for Shepherd's succession.[48] Congress repealed the law in 1954 and Cates retired two months later.[49] Shepherd picked Thomas to succeed Cates, which simultaneously avoided creating another rival for the commandancy, since Thomas was too old to be considered, and freed Thomas' three-star job of assistant commandant and chief of staff for Shepherd's preferred candidate, Randolph M. Pate, who eventually did succeed Shepherd.[41]

All such machinations failed when Pate's successor was selected in 1959. The best positioned three-star candidate, Merrill B. Twining, was viewed as too political by the secretary of defense, Thomas S. Gates Jr., who passed over all five lieutenant generals to recommend Shoup instead. Four of the five lieutenant generals collected tombstone promotions to general by retiring on November 1, 1959, the day the tombstone promotion law expired, but Verne J. McCaul chose to remain on duty until Shoup took office on January 1, 1960.[44]

Modern use

Gen James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, reads MajGen Robert E. Milstead Jr. his promotion warrant to lieutenant general, January 3, 2010.
Gen James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, reads MajGen Robert E. Milstead Jr. his promotion warrant to lieutenant general, January 3, 2010.

There are 14 three-star billets in the United States Marine Corps. These include commanders of high-level Marine Corps commands, such as the marine expeditionary forces and Marine service component commands.[50] Senior staff officers under the Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) directly reporting to the commandant and/or the assistant commandant may also hold the rank of lieutenant general.

LtGen Robert F. Hedelund, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, is pinned by family members during his promotion ceremony on July 14, 2017.
LtGen Robert F. Hedelund, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, is pinned by family members during his promotion ceremony on July 14, 2017.

About 20 to 30 joint service three-star billets exist at any given time that can be occupied by a Marine Corps lieutenant general, among the most prestigious being the director of the Joint Staff (DJS), principal staff advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and historically considered a stepping stone to four-star rank.[51] All deputy commanders of the unified combatant commands are of three-star rank, as are directors of Defense Agencies not headed by a civilian such as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIRDIA).[52] Internationally-based three-star positions include the United States military representative to the NATO Military Committee (USMILREP) and the security coordinator for the Palestinian National Authority in Israel. All nominees for three-star rank must be confirmed via majority by the Senate before the appointee can take office and thus assume the rank.[53]

Statutory limits, elevations and reductions

Gen Glenn M. Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps promotes MajGen Charles G. Chiarotti to lieutenant general at the Pentagon, June 29, 2018.
Gen Glenn M. Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps promotes MajGen Charles G. Chiarotti to lieutenant general at the Pentagon, June 29, 2018.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus greets LtGen John A. Toolan Jr. at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton on January 10, 2014.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus greets LtGen John A. Toolan Jr. at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton on January 10, 2014.

The U.S. Code states that no more than 17 officers in the U.S. Marine Corps may be promoted beyond the rank of major general and below the rank of general on the active duty list.[54] However, the President[54] may designate up to 15 additional three-star appointments, with the condition that for every service branch allotted such additional three-star appointments, an equivalent number must be reduced from other service branches. Other exceptions exist for non-active duty or reserve appointments, as well as other circumstances.[55] As such, three-star positions can be elevated to four-star status or reduced to two-star status where deemed necessary, either to highlight their increasing importance to the defense apparatus (or lack thereof) or to achieve parity with equivalent commands in other services or regions.

Few three-star positions are set by statute, leading to their increased volatility as they do not require congressional approval to be downgraded. It is common practice in the Marine Corps to dual-hat operational commands under a single commander to remain under the statutory limit for three-star positions, and shifting them around if necessary to facilitate efficient command and control of Marine units.[56]

Senate confirmations

While it is rare for three-star or four-star nominations to face even token opposition in the Senate, nominations that do face opposition due to controversy surrounding the nominee in question are typically withdrawn. Nominations that are not withdrawn are allowed to expire without action at the end of the legislative session.[63]

Additionally, events that take place after Senate confirmation may still delay or even prevent the nominee from assuming office.

Legislative history

The following list of Congressional legislation includes all acts of Congress pertaining to appointments to the grade of lieutenant general in the United States Marine Corps since 2010.[q]

Each entry lists an act of Congress, its citation in the United States Statutes at Large or Public Law number, and a summary of the act's relevance, with officers affected by the act bracketed where applicable. Positions listed without reference to rank are assumed to be eligible for officers of three-star grade or higher.

List of legislation on appointments of lieutenant generals since 2010
Legislation Citation Summary
Act of January 7, 2011

[Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011]

 124 Stat. 4209
 124 Stat. 4210
  • Authorized officers frocked to grade of lieutenant general or general to wear the insignia of that grade for up to 14 days before assuming position for which that grade is authorized.
  • Repealed 30-day waiting period following congressional notification before officers below grade of lieutenant general or vice admiral may wear insignia of the next higher grade.
Act of December 23, 2016

[National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017]

 130 Stat. 2102
 130 Stat. 2103
 130 Stat. 2104
 130 Stat. 2107
  • Increased number of officers in the Marine Corps that may be appointed above grade of major general from 15 to 17, of which 15[r] may hold grade of lieutenant general.
  • Increased number of deputy commandants attached to Headquarters Marine Corps from 6 to 7 (Daniel J. O'Donohue).
  • Repealed authorization for the Chief of Staff to the President, if a general or flag officer of the United States Armed Forces, to be designated a position of importance and responsibility with grade of lieutenant general or vice admiral.[74]
  • Repealed statutory requirement for the director of the Missile Defense Agency, if a commissioned officer, to hold grade of lieutenant general or vice admiral.[75]
  • Repealed statutory requirement for senior members of the United Nations Military Staff Committee to hold grade of lieutenant general or vice admiral (Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.).[76]
  • Repealed statutory requirement for the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy (research, development and acquisition) to hold grade of lieutenant general in the Marine Corps or vice admiral in the Navy.
Act of December 12, 2019

[National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020]

 133 Stat. 1346
  • Required advice and consent of the Senate on any proposal by the secretary of defense to increase the retired grade of any military officer through the reopening of the determination or certification of said officer's retired grade.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Lieutenant General Walter E. Gaskin". NATO. 2010. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  2. ^ "Secretary Walter Gaskin | DMVA - NC Department of Military & Veterans Affairs". North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on March 26, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  3. ^ "Schmidle Assigned to Office of the Secretary of Defense". AFCEA. Archived from the original on May 29, 2022.
  4. ^ Enlisted in 1970, commissioned as second lieutenant in 1975. "Lieutenant General Richard T. Tryon". U.S. Marine Corps. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  5. ^ Afghan National Security Forces: Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. U.S. Congress. 2012. p. 46. ISBN 9780160904905.
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Notes

  1. ^ a b Dates of rank are taken, where available, from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps register of active and retired commissioned officers. The date listed is that of the officer's first promotion to lieutenant general. If such a date cannot be found, the next date substituted should be that of the officer's assumption of his/her first three-star appointment. Failing which, the officer's first Senate confirmation date to lieutenant general should be substituted.
  2. ^ a b Positions listed are those held by the officer when promoted to lieutenant general. Dates listed are for the officer's full tenure, which may predate promotion to three-star rank or postdate retirement from active duty. Positions held in an acting capacity are italicized.
  3. ^ a b The number of years of active-duty service at three-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Date of rank" column from the last year in the "Position" column.
  4. ^ a b Sources of commission are listed in parentheses after the year of commission and include: the Officer Candidates School (OCS); the United States Naval Academy (USNA); Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at a civilian university; Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at a civilian university; and ROTC at a senior military college such as the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Texas A&M University (Texas A&M), or The Citadel (Citadel).
  5. ^ a b The number of years in commission before being promoted to three-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Commission" column from the year in the "Date of rank" column.
  6. ^ a b Notes include years of birth and death; awards of the Medal of Honor, Congressional Gold Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, or honors of similar significance; major government appointments; university presidencies or equivalents; familial relationships with other significant military officers or significant government officials such as U.S. Presidents, cabinet secretaries, U.S. Senators, or state governors; and unusual career events such as premature relief or death in office. Officers who served as enlisted Marines for 7 years or more prior to commissioning are also noted.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Commissioned as second lieutenant via the Platoon Leaders Course (PLC).
  8. ^ a b Served as Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC).
  9. ^ Enlisted in 1970; honorably discharged as sergeant, 1973; commissioned as second lieutenant, 1977.[8]
  10. ^ Promoted directly from rank of brigadier general.
  11. ^ a b c Served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC).
  12. ^ a b Served as a combatant commander (CCDR).
  13. ^ Stewart held the position concurrently with Army lieutenant general William C. Mayville Jr. from 2017 to 2018. Stewart functioned as deputy for day-to-day running of USCYBERCOM whereas Mayville functioned as deputy in charge of separating USCYBERCOM from the National Security Agency.
  14. ^ Enlisted in 1981, commissioned as second lieutenant in 1984.[16]
  15. ^ Commissioned as second lieutenant via the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP).
  16. ^ Previously held by the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, the USMARCENT dual-hat was transferred to the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force in August 2005 to improve efficiency, as I MEF's Camp Pendleton, California headquarters was nearer to USMARCENT's headquarters in Tampa, Florida than MARFORPAC's headquarters in Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii.[57]
  17. ^ Legislative history compiled from the U.S. Congress official website and U.S. Government Publishing Office official website.
  18. ^ The number of officers in the Marine Corps (per the 2017 NDAA) who may hold the grade of lieutenant general after subtracting the two officers holding the grade of general is 15.