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|Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps|
John M. Paxton, Jr.
since: December 15, 2012
|First||Eli K. Cole|
|Formation||April 29, 1911|
The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC) is the second highest-ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps, and serves as a deputy for the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC). Before 1946, the title was known as Assistant to the Commandant.
The Assistant Commandant is appointed by the President of the United States and must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. In the event that the Commandant is absent or is unable to perform his duties, the Assistant Commandant assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Commandant. For this reason, the Assistant Commandant is appointed to a rank equal to the sitting Commandant; since 1971, each Assistant Commandant has been, by statute, a four-star general, making it the most common rank held among Marines serving this position. Additionally, he may perform other duties that the CMC assigns to him. Historically, the Assistant Comandant has served for two to three years.
The 33rd and current Assistant Commandant is John M. Paxton, Jr., who took office on 15 December 2012, when Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. vacated the office to become the sitting Commandant. The first Marine to hold the billet as "Assistant to the Commandant" was Eli K. Cole (Allen H. Turnage being the last), while Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. was the first to hold it as the "Assistant Commandant".
Before the official title of "Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps" was adopted in 1946, the title of the position was known as the "Assistant to the Commandant" and before 1918, known only as "Duty in the Office of the Commandant". No records exist before the outbreak of World War I about this position, possibly because the Commandant likely had only administrative staff and no deputy.
The first Assistant to the Commandant was Lieutenant Colonel Eli K. Cole, who assumed the position on April 29, 1911. From April 29, 1911 to October 16, 1946, 19 men were assigned to assist the commandant, including five that went on to become Commandant themselves: John A. Lejeune, Wendell C. Neville, Ben H. Fuller, John H. Russell, Jr. and Alexander A. Vandegrift.
|#||Photo||Rank||Name||Tenure from||Tenure to||Became Commandant|
|1||x||O-05Lieutenant Colonel||Cole, Eli K.||01911-04-29April 29, 1911||01915-01-01January 1, 1915||No|
||O-07Brigadier General||Lejeune, John A.||01915-01-01January 1, 1915||01917-09-10September 10, 1917||Yes|
|3||x||O-07Brigadier General||Long, Charles G.||01917-09-11September 11, 1917||01920-08-13August 13, 1920||No|
||O-08Major General||Neville, Wendell Cushing||01920-08-14August 14, 1920||01923-07-11July 11, 1923||Yes|
||O-07Brigadier General||Feland, Logan||01923-07-13July 13, 1923||01925-07-31July 31, 1925||No|
||O-07Brigadier General||Williams, Dion||01925-08-01August 1, 1925||01928-07-01July 1, 1928||No|
||O-07Brigadier General||Fuller, Ben Hebard||01928-07-02July 2, 1928||01930-07-08July 8, 1930||Yes|
||O-07Brigadier General||Myers, John Twiggs||01930-08-01August 1, 1930||01933-02-01February 1, 1933||No|
||O-07Brigadier General||Russell, Jr., John H.||01933-02-01February 1, 1933||01934-02-28February 28, 1934||Yes|
|10||x||O-07Brigadier General||McDougal, Douglas C.||01934-04-08April 8, 1934||01935-04-22April 22, 1935||No|
|11||x||O-07Brigadier General||Little, Louis M.||01935-04-22April 22, 1935||01937-05-06May 6, 1937||No|
||O-06Brigadier General||Smith, Holland M.||01939-04-01April 1, 1939||01939-09-25September 25, 1939||No|
||O-07Brigadier General||Vandegrift, Alexander||01940-03-01March 1, 1940||01941-11-18November 18, 1941||Yes|
||O-07Brigadier General||Barrett, Charles D.||01941-11-19November 19, 1941||01942-03-12March 12, 1942||No|
|15||x||O-07Brigadier General||Keyser, Ralph S.||01942-03-28March 28, 1942||01942-05-24May 24, 1942||No|
||O-O8Major General||Schmidt, Harry||01942-05-25May 25, 1942||01943-08-01August 1, 1943||No|
|17||x||O-08Major General||Rockey, Keller E.||01943-08-02August 2, 1943||01944-01-17January 17, 1944||No|
|18||x||O-08Major General||Peck, Dewitt||01944-01-20January 20, 1944||01945-07-30July 30, 1945||No|
||O-08Major General||Turnage, Allen H.||01945-09-01September 1, 1945||01946-10-16October 16, 1946||No|
In 1946, Congress established the position of "Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps" and since then, 31 men have held the position. Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. was the first to hold the billet and went on to become Commandant, as well as five others: Randolph M. Pate, Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., Robert H. Barrow, Paul X. Kelley and James F. Amos.
As with the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps is appointed by the President based on advice and consent of the Senate and, once appointed, will be promoted to the grade of general. The duties of the Assistant Commandant include such authority and duties as the Commandant and, with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, may delegate to or prescribe for him. Orders issued by the Assistant Commandant in performing such duties have the same effect as those issued by the Commandant. When there is a vacancy in the office of Commandant of the Marine Corps, or during the absence or disability of the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant shall perform the duties of the Commandant until a successor is appointed or the absence or disability ceases.
|#||Photo||Rank||Name||Tenure from||Tenure to||Became Commandant|
||O-08Major General||Shepherd, Jr., Lemuel||01946-10-07October 7, 1946||01948-04-14April 14, 1948||Yes|
||O-08Major General||Smith, Oliver P.||01948-04-15April 15, 1948||01950-07-19July 19, 1950||No|
|3||x||O-09Lieutenant General||Silverthorn, Merwin H.||01950-07-19July 19, 1950||01952-02-01February 1, 1952||No|
||O-09Lieutenant General||Thomas, Gerald C.||01952-03-08March 8, 1952||01954-07-01July 1, 1954||No|
||O-09Lieutenant General||Pate, Randolph M.||01954-07-01July 1, 1954||01955-12-31December 31, 1955||Yes|
||O-09Lieutenant General||Megee, Vernon E.||01956-01-01January 1, 1956||01957-11-30November 30, 1957||No|
|7||x||O-09Lieutenant General||McCaul, Verne J.||01957-12-01December 1, 1957||01959-12-31December 31, 1959||No|
|8||x||O-09Lieutenant General||Munn, John C.||01960-01-01January 1, 1960||01963-03-31March 31, 1963||No|
|9||x||O-09Lieutenant General||Hayes, Charles H.||01963-04-01April 1, 1963||01965-06-30June 30, 1965||No|
||O-09Lieutenant General||Mangrum, Richard C.||01965-07-01July 1, 1965||01967-06-30June 30, 1967||No|
||O-09Lieutenant General||Chapman, Jr., Leonard F.||01967-07-01July 1, 1967||01967-12-31December 31, 1967||Yes|
||O-10General||Walt, Lewis William||01968-01-01January 1, 1968||01971-01-29January 29, 1971||No|
||O-10General||McCutcheon, Keith B.||01971-01-30January 30, 1971||01971-03-11March 11, 1971
(never assumed post due to illness)
||O-10General||Davis, Raymond G.||01971-03-12March 12, 1971||01972-03-30March 30, 1972||No|
||O-10General||Anderson, Earl E.||01972-03-31March 31, 1972||01975-06-30June 30, 1975||No|
||O-10General||Jaskilka, Samuel||01975-07-01July 1, 1975||01978-06-30June 30, 1978||No|
||O-10General||Barrow, Robert H.||01978-07-01July 1, 1978||01979-07-30July 30, 1979||Yes|
||O-10General||McLennan, Kenneth||01979-07-01July 1, 1979||01981-07-30July 30, 1981||No|
||O-10General||Kelley, Paul X.||01981-07-01July 1, 1981||01983-06-30June 30, 1983||Yes|
||O-10General||Davis, John K.||01983-07-01July 1, 1983||01986-05-31May 31, 1986||No|
||O-10General||Morgan, Thomas R.||01986-06-01June 1, 1986||01988-06-30June 30, 1988||No|
||O-10General||Went, Joseph J.||01988-07-01July 1, 1988||01990-07-31July 31, 1990||No|
||O-10General||Dailey, John R.||01990-08-01August 1, 1990||01992-08-31August 31, 1992||No|
||O-10General||Boomer, Walter E.||01992-09-01September 1, 1992||01994-07-14July 14, 1994||No|
||O-10General||Hearney, Richard D.||01994-07-15July 15, 1994||01996-09-26September 26, 1996||No|
||O-10General||Neal, Richard I.||01996-09-27September 27, 1996||01998-09-04September 4, 1998||No|
||O-10General||Dake, Terrence R.||01998-09-05September 5, 1998||02000-09-07September 7, 2000||No|
||O-10General||Williams, Michael J.||02000-09-08September 8, 2000||02002-09-09September 9, 2002||No|
||O-10General||Nyland, William L.||02002-09-10September 10, 2002||02005-09-07September 7, 2005||No|
||O-10General||Magnus, Robert||02005-09-08September 8, 2005||02008-07-02July 2, 2008||No|
||O-10General||Amos, James F.||02008-07-03July 3, 2008||02010-10-22October 22, 2010||Yes|
||O-10General||Dunford, Jr., Joseph F.||02010-10-23October 23, 2010||02012-12-15December 15, 2012|
||O-10General||Paxton, Jr., John M.||02012-12-15December 15, 2012||incumbent|
June 25, 1950
On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops poured across the 38th Parallel in strength and war had returned. President Truman announced that the nation was not at war, but ships, planes and men were in motion, and in the gathering of “a fire brigade,” a token force of Marines was sent to the front to aid American Army forces. The United Nations buzzed briefly before taking action; Puller recognized all the signs. He immediately asked for a modification of his orders and said urgently to Headquarters:
“Attention is invited to the fact that I served as an officer in Haiti and Nicaragua, and in the Pacific Theater for eight years prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This experience will prove of value in an assignment to combat duty in Korea.”
This was not enough, and he went to the cable office and at his own expense sent appeals to the Commandant, the Assistant Commandant, and the commander of the First Marine Division, begging for assignment to Korea. The cables cost him nineteen dollars.
In the days of waiting he saw that the South Korean battalion commander who was an early victim of the Communist attack had been tragically prophetic; the North Koreans were still cutting their way at will through large forces of South Koreans and brushing aside with almost the same ease the first American forces to be thrown against them. It appeared that the Communists were rolling toward complete victory.