35th Commandant of the Marine Corps  
USMC KIA Vietnam by Unit
Grenada KIA'S 1983
USMC 2 Pilots Killed In Crash
USMC NonCombatDeath


The responsibilities of the Commandant are outlined in Title 10, Section 5043 the United States Code[3] and is "Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of the Navy". As stated in the U.S. Code, the Commandant shall preside over the Headquarters, Marine Corps, transmit the plans and recommendations of the Headquarters, Marine Corps, to the Secretary and advise the Secretary with regard to such plans and recommendations, after approval of the plans or recommendations of the Headquarters, Marine Corps, by the Secretary, act as the agent of the Secretary in carrying them into effect, exercise supervision, consistent with the authority assigned to commanders of unified or specified combatant commands under chapter 6 of this title, over such of the members and organizations of the Marine Corps and the Navy as the Secretary determines, perform the duties prescribed for him by section 171 of this title and other provisions of law and perform such other military duties, not otherwise assigned by law, as are assigned to him by the President, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of the Navy.[3]

Pay Grade: The salary for CMC is $20,587.80 per month.

List of commandants 

Thirty-five [5] men have served as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, including the current Commandant James F. Amos. The first Commandant was Samuel Nicholas, who took office as a captain,[5] though there was no office titled "Commandant" at the time, and the Second Continental Congress had authorized that the senior-most Marine could take a rank up to Colonel.[6] The longest-serving was Archibald Henderson, sometimes referred to as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps" due to his thirty-nine-year tenure.[5] In the 236-year history of the United States Marine Corps, only one Commandant has ever been fired from the job: Anthony Gale, as a result of a court-martial in 1820.[5]

Samuel Nicholas Major November 28, 1775 August 27, 1783 The first de facto Commandant for his role as the senior-most officer of the Continental Marines.

2  William W. Burrows Lieutenant Colonel July 12, 1798 March 6, 1804 The first de jure Commandant, he started many important organizations within the Marine Corps, including the United States Marine Band 

Franklin Wharton Lieutenant Colonel March 7, 1804 September 1, 1818 The first Commandant to be court-martialed (acquitted) and the first to occupy the Commandant's House at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. 

  Archibald Henderson (acting) Major September 16, 1818 March 2, 1819 Acting Commandant, would later serve as Commandant from 1820 to 1859 

Anthony Gale Lieutenant Colonel March 3, 1819 October 8, 1820 The second Commandant to be court-martialed and the only Commandant to be fired. Burial location is unknown and no photos have ever been located. 

5  Archibald Henderson Brevet Brigadier General October 17, 1820 January 6, 1859 The longest-serving Commandant; known as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps"; known for his role in expanding the Marine Corps' mission to include expeditionary warfare and rapid deployment

John Harris Colonel January 7, 1859 May 1, 1864 Commandant during most of the American Civil War

7  Jacob Zeilin Brigadier General June 10, 1864 October 31, 1876 Became the Marine Corps' first general officer, officially approved of the design of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor as the emblem of the Marine Corps 

8  Charles G. McCawley Colonel November 1, 1876 January 29, 1891 Chose "Semper Fidelis", Latin for "Always Faithful", as the official Marine Corps motto

9  Charles Heywood Major General June 30, 1891 October 2, 1903 Was the first Marine to hold the rank of Major General

10  George F. Elliott Major General October 3, 1903 November 30, 1910 Successfully resisted attempts to remove seagoing Marines from capital ships and to merge the Corps into the United States Army

11  William P. Biddle Major General February 3, 1911 February 24, 1914 Established the Advanced Base Force, forerunner of today's Fleet Marine Force 

12 George Barnett Major General February 25, 1914 June 30, 1920 Served as Commandant during World War I, which caused a huge increase in personnel during his term

13  John A. Lejeune Major General July 1, 1920 March 4, 1929 Started the tradition of the birthday ball with Marine Corps Order 47, still read annually. Commanded a US Army division (the 2nd Infantry Division) in combat during World War I.

14  Wendell C. Neville Major General March 5, 1929 July 8, 1930 Recipient of the Medal of Honor and Marine Corps Brevet Medal

15 Ben H. Fuller 1930 February 28, 1934 Consolidated the Fleet Marine Force concept

16 . John H. Russell, Jr. Major General March 1, 1934 November 30, 1936 The system of seniority promotions of officers was changed to advancement by selection, the 1st Marine Brigade was withdrawn from Haiti, and the number of ships carrying Marine detachments continued to increase.

17  Thomas Holcomb Lieutenant General December 1, 1936 December 31, 1943 Expanded the Corps almost 20 times in size for World War II and integrated women into the Corps. The first Marine to be advanced (after retirement) to the rank of General

18 Alexander Vandegrift General January 1, 1944 December 31, 1947 Recipient of the Medal of Honor. Was the first active duty Marine to hold the rank of General, resisted attempts to merge the Corps with the Army

19 Clifton B. Cates January 1, 1948 December 31, 1951 Recipient of the Navy Cross. Commandant during early stage of the Korean War

20  Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. General January 1, 1952 December 31, 1955 First Commandant to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Commandant during the Korean War.

21 Randolph M. Pate General January 1, 1956 December 31, 1959 Commandant between U.S. involvement in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

22  David M. Shoup January 1, 1960 December 31, 1963 Recipient of the Medal of Honor. Opposed U.S. involvement in South Vietnam based on strategy and undue influence of corporations and military officials in foreign policy. Historians consider Shoup's criticisms to be among the most pointed and high-profile leveled by a veteran against the Vietnam War.

23 Wallace M. Greene, Jr. General January 1, 1964 December 31, 1967 Oversaw the proliferation of the Corps in the Vietnam War 

24  Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. General January 1, 1968 December 31, 1971 Was the Commandant during the final years of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Chapman witnessed the III Marine Amphibious Force withdrawal from Vietnam and the strength of the Corps drop from a peak of 289,000 to 198,000.

25  Robert E. Cushman, Jr. General January 1, 1972 June 30, 1975 Saw the last of the Marines leave Vietnam and the peacetime strength fall to 194,000 while still maintaining readiness

26 Louis H. Wilson, Jr. General July 1, 1975 June 30, 1979 Recipient of the Medal of Honor 

27  Robert H. Barrow General July 1, 1979 June 30, 1983 Was the first Commandant to serve as a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acquired approval of production of the American-modified Harrier aircraft, and several other improvements to enhance the effectiveness of the Marine Corps 

28 Paul X. Kelley General July 1, 1983 June 30, 1987 In 2007, General Kelley published in the Washington Post an opinion piece that had a negative opinion on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques 

29 Alfred M. Gray, Jr. General July 1, 1987 June 30, 1991 The Alfred M. Gray Research Center at Marine Corps Base Quantico houses the Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections, the Quantico Base Library, and the research library for the Marine Corps University.
 As a reminder that the primary role of every Marine is a rifleman, he had his official photograph taken in the Camouflage Utility Uniform, the only Commandant to have done so.

30 Carl E. Mundy, Jr. General July 1, 1991 June 30, 1995 Is currently on the board of directors for General Dynamics and is the Chairman of the Marine Corps University foundation 

31 Charles C. Krulak General July 1, 1995 June 30, 1999 Was the son of Marine Corps Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak. Came up with the concept of the 'Strategic Corporal' and the 'Three Block War'.

32  James L. Jones General July 1, 1999 January 12, 2003 Oversaw the Marine Corps' development of MARPAT camouflage uniforms and the adoption of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program; later became the first Marine officer to serve as Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), then as National Security Advisor for the Obama Administration

33  Michael W. Hagee General January 13, 2003 November 13, 2006 Guided the Corps through the initial years of the Iraq War

34 James T. Conway General November 13, 2006 October 22, 2010 Commanded Marines forces in the Iraq War and oversaw expansion of the Corps to 202,000 personnel 

35 James F. Amos General October 22, 2010 Incumbent First United States Naval Aviator to serve as Commandant

Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (born December 8, 1955) is a United States Marine Corps general and the present Commandant of the Marine Corps, the 36th such one. Prior to this, he served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces- Afghanistan from February 2013 until August 2014.[2] He has commanded several units, and is noted for leading the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In 1978, Dunford served in the 1st Marine Division as a platoon and company commander in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines and a company commander in 1st Battalion 9th Marines until 1981. He served as the aide to the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force for a year, then transferred to the Officer Assignment Branch at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.. He reported to the 2nd Marine Division in June 1985 and commanded L Company of 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. In 1987, he was reassigned to 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company as the Operations, Plans, and Training Officer.

From 1988-1991, Dunford was assigned as the Marine Officer Instructor at the College of the Holy Cross and Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In 1992, he was assigned to HQMC as a member of the Commandant’s staff group and subsequently as the Senior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1995, he joined the 6th Marine Regiment as the executive officer, then went on to command 2nd Battalion 6th Marines from 1996 until 1998.

In 1999, Dunford was the executive assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under both Generals Joseph Ralston and Richard Myers) and as Chief, Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J-5) until 2001. He next served in the 1st Marine Division where he was assigned to command the 5th Marine Regiment, then as the division's chief of staff and assistant commander. During this time, he served 22 months in Iraq.[4] During his command of RCT-5 in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he earned the nickname "Fighting Joe" under James Mattis.[5]

From 2005-2007, Dunford returned to Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as the Director of the Operations Division of the Plans, Policies and Operations staff, and eventually became the Vice Director for Operations (J-3) at the Joint Staff in 2008.[6] In December 2007, Dunford was nominated for promotion to the rank of major general.[7] In February, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that President George W. Bush had nominated Dunford for promotion to lieutenant general and appointment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, to succeed LtGen Richard F. Natonski.[7] In April 2008, his appointment to the permanent rank of major general was confirmed by the United States Senate, and simultaneously appointed in the grade of lieutenant general for his new assignment.

Dunford served a dual role in his assignment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations:[8]

“ Is the Operations Deputy (OpsDep) for the Commandant on all Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) matters. Serves as the focal point for the interface between the Marine Corps (as one of the four Services) and the joint and combined activities of the JCS and the unified Commanders-in-Chief, and various allied and other foreign Defense agencies.
Is responsible for coordinating the development and execution of service plans and policies related to the structure, deployment, and employment of Marine Corps forces in general.

On May 1, 2009, the Pentagon announced that President Barack Obama had appointed Dunford to serve as the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Central Command.[9]

Less than a year into that assignment, Dunford was nominated by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to succeed James F. Amos as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, who had been nominated to succeed James Conway as Commandant.[10][11] President Obama approved his promotion and Dunford assumed the duties and new rank on 23 October 2010.[12]

On October 10, 2012, General Dunford was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.[13] After an investigation into inappropriate communications from the then-current commander in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, was opened, Secretary Panetta requested that General Dunford's nomination be acted on promptly.[14] Dunford assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from General Allen,[2] who had since been cleared in the Pentagon's investigation involving his e-mails in the Petraeus scandal, on February 10, 2013, .[15]

On June 5, 2014, General Dunford was nominated by President Obama to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on July 23, 2014, and he became Commandant on October 17, 2014.[16] On January 23, 2015 General Dunford released the 36th Commandant's Planning Guidance http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/142/Docs/2015CPG_Color.pdf