Provost Marshal of the United States Army
Army Staff Identification Badge
MG Duane R. Miller
since August 5, 2021[1]
Department of the Army
Reports toChief of Staff of the Army
FormationJanuary 10, 1776
First holderCPT William Marony
WebsiteOfficial Website

The provost (pronounced "provo") marshal general is a United States Army staff position that handles investigations of U.S. Army personnel. It is the highest-ranking provost marshal position in the U.S. Army, reporting to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. The position brings all aspects of law enforcement in the U.S. Army in a single office.[2]

The role has been off and on since 1776 (usually in periods of war time). After shutting down in 1974 at the end of the Vietnam War, it was resurrected on January 30, 2003, following the September 11 attacks.

It is responsible for:

Prior to its most recent organization, the responsibilities of this position were scattered across various army units.


American Revolutionary War

William Marony was the first provost marshal general, appointed by George Washington on January 10, 1776. The principal job was maintaining jails and supervising 40 executions. Nine men served as provost marshal general until 1778 when the duties were transferred to the Marechausse Corps. Service ended at the end of the war.[3][4]

American Civil War

Headquarters of Provost Marshal General, Defenses South of the Potomac
A visibly whip-scarred contraband named Peter was likely photographed at the Provost-Marshal's office in Baton Rouge, pictured here in 1863 photograph ascribed to McPherson & Oliver[5]
A note on the back of this George N. Barnard stereographic view depicting the former Crawford, Frazer & Co. slave market in Atlanta reads "No 6 View in Atlanta: Novr/64 - On Whitehall St. Ex negro-mart, used as U. S. Prov. Marshal's office"

James B. Fry was appointed on March 3, 1863, to be the first provost marshal general during the American Civil War. The office dealt with recruitment and desertion issues. It also supervised the Invalid Corps, in which disabled soldiers performed garrison duty (as opposed to field duty). The position was abolished in 1866.[3] An 1866 proposal to reorganise the Army to include a Provost Marshal's Bureau "consisting of a Provost Marshal General with the rank, pay and emoluments of a Brigadier General and an Assistant Provost Marshal General with the rank, pay and emoluments of a Colonel of Cavalry" was rejected on the grounds "that it creates an unnecessary office for an undeserving public servant".[6]

Spanish–American War

Arthur MacArthur, Jr. was appointed provost marshal general of Manila in July 1901 to provide law enforcement in Manila and the provinces. The position was abolished after about a year.[3]

World War I

Enoch Crowder was appointed provost marshal general in July 1917 with the Provost Marshal General's Office focusing on enforcing the Selective Service System. In World War I, over 24,000,000 men filled out P.M.G.O. Form 1 Registration Cards for the military draft.[7] During the American Expeditionary Force provost marshal generals oversaw military police, prisoner of war, criminal investigation, and circulation in Europe. Among the European marshals were Hanson E. Ely, William H. Allaire, John C. Groome III, and Harry Hill Bandholtz. The European component was dissolved in 1919 and the provost marshal general remained an advisor to the War Department until 1927.[3]

World War II

The Basic Field Manual in 1937 outlined the position when it was reactivated. Allen W. Gullion was appointed in 1941. Its duties initially were to control enemy aliens but were later expanded to do security clearance investigations and Military Police. After 1943 it was responsible for prisoner-of-war camps in the United States as well as Japanese-American relocation camps. Toward the end of the war it began investigating crimes and apprehending deserters and would handle the War Crimes Division of the Judge Advocate General's Office.[3]

Post World War II

Gullion remained until April 1944 when he was succeeded by Archer L. Lerch, Blackshear M. Bryan in 1945, Edwin P. Parker Jr. in 1948, William H. Maglin in 1953, and Haydon L. Boatner in 1957.[3]

Vietnam War

Ralph J. Butchers was appointed in 1960 followed by Carl C. Turner in 1964, Karl W. Gustafson in 1968 and finally Lloyd B. Ramsey in 1970 until the office was abolished on May 20, 1974.[3]

War on Terror

After the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the position of provost marshal general was recreated.

In popular culture

Sean Connery starred as Lt. Colonel Alan Caldwell, the base provost marshal, in The Presidio.

List of provost marshals general

Here is the list of provost marshals general:[8][9]

Name Photo Term began Term ended
1. MG Allen W. Gullion July 31, 1941 April 27, 1944
2. MG Archer L. Lerch May, 1944 July 17, 1945
3. MG Blackshear M. Bryan July 17, 1945 April 9, 1948
4. MG Edwin P. Parker Jr. April 10, 1948 February 4, 1953
5. MG William H. Maglin February 5, 1953 September, 1957
6. MG Haydon L. Boatner November 19, 1957 October 31, 1960
7. MG Ralph J. Butchers December 1, 1960 July 1, 1964
8. MG Carl C. Turner July 1, 1964 September 30, 1968
9. MG Karl J. Gustafson September 30, 1968 July 14, 1970
10. MG Lloyd B. Ramsey July 14, 1970 May 20, 1974
Position abolished on May 20, 1974
11. MG Donald J. Ryder October 29, 2003 July 14, 2006
12. BG Rodney L. Johnson July 14, 2006 January 15, 2010
13. BG Colleen L. McGuire January 15, 2010 September 28, 2011
14. MG David E. Quantock September 28, 2011 October 27, 2014
15. MG Mark S. Inch October 27, 2014 May, 2017
16. MG David P. Glaser May 2017 June 24, 2019
17. MG Kevin Vereen June 24, 2019 July 2020
18. MG Donna W. Martin July 2020 August 5, 2021
19. MG Duane R. Miller August 5, 2021 Incumbent

See also


  1. ^ "LTG Walter e. Piatt will host CID PMG Change of Command/Swearing-In Ceremony".
  2. ^ Taylor, Scott. "Provost Marshal General back in the saddle again", Military Police, April 2004. Accessed October 12, 2009. "With an office in the Pentagon (a first for the position), the Provost Marshal General now serves as the Army Staff's single source for law enforcement, providing executive oversight for planning, resourcing, policy making, and execution of full-spectrum law enforcement and security support to the Army. Functional areas include criminal investigations, police intelligence, physical security, corrections and internment, and antiterrorism."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Evolution of the Office of the Provost Marshal General by Ronald Craig - Military Police - April 2004
  4. ^ "545th Military Police Company - - Retrieved October 10, 2009". Archived from the original on 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  5. ^ "Louisiana Digital Library: Provost Marshal's office. Baton Rouge La. LSU Libraries Special Collections - G. H. Suydam Photograph Album (1 of 2)". Archived from the original on 2023-07-28. Retrieved 2023-07-27.
  6. ^ p.157 Hamilton, Gail The Biography Of James G. Blaine Kessinger Publishing, 2005
  7. ^ "World War I Draft Registration Cards", The United States National Archives and Records Administration website, July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  8. ^ "Office of Provost Marshal General of the United States Army" (PDF). 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
  9. ^ "Office of Provost Marshal General of the United States Army" (PDF). 2017-12-26. Retrieved 2017-12-26.