James F. Amos

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James Amos
General James F. Amos.jpg
Amos in October 2010
Nickname(s) "Jim", "Tamer"[1]
Born (1946-11-12) November 12, 1946 (age 68)
Wendell, Idaho, U.S.
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1970–2014
Rank US Marine 10 shoulderboard.svg General
Commands held Commandant of the Marine Corps
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
II Marine Expeditionary Force
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Marine Aircraft Group 31
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal

James F. "Jim" Amos (born November 12, 1946) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who last served as the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps from October 22, 2010, to October 17, 2014. As a Naval Aviator, Amos commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. He served as the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 3, 2008, to October 22, 2010. He is the first Marine Corps aviator to serve as commandant. He retired from the Marine Corps with 44 years of service.

Early life and education[edit]

Amos was born on November 12, 1946,[2] in the Wendell, Idaho, and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and economics and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant through NROTC.


Amos was designated a Naval Aviator in 1971, and has held a variety of operational and staff assignments since 1972. His operational assignments include tours with VMFA-212, VMFA-235, VMFA-232 and VMFA-122 where he flew the F-4 Phantom II. In 1985 then-Lieutenant Colonel Amos assumed command of Marine Air Base Squadron 24. In April 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Amos deployed to the western pacific as Executive Officer of VMFA-212 for what would be called "Operation Last Dance", the last overseas deployment of the Marine F-4 Phantom before it was phased out and retired. Transitioning to the F/A-18 Hornet, he assumed command of VMFA-312 and subsequently joined Carrier Air Wing Eight on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). In May 1996, Colonel Amos took command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 in Beaufort, South Carolina. In August 2002, he assumed command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and deployed with them to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Amos served as Commanding General of the II Marine Expeditionary Force from July 2004 to July 2006.

Amos's staff assignments include tours with MAG-15 and MAG-31, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Training Squadron Seven, The Basic School, and the MAGTF Staff Training Program. Promoted to brigadier general in 1998, he was assigned to NATO as Deputy Commander, Naval Striking Forces, Southern Europe, and as the U.S. Deputy Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Europe, at Naples, Italy. During this tour he commanded NATO's Kosovo Verification Coordination Center, and served as Chief of Staff, U.S. Joint Task Force Noble Anvil during the air campaign over Yugoslavia. Transferred in 2000 to The Pentagon, he was assigned as Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation. Reassigned in December 2001, Amos served as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations Department, Headquarters Marine Corps. From August 2006 to July 2008, Amos served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration.

Amos became the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on July 4, 2008.[3] In June 2010, Amos was recommended for nomination by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to succeed James T. Conway as Commandant, while recommending General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to fill his role as Assistant Commandant.[4][5] He was formally nominated by President Barack Obama on July 20,[6] who interviewed him for the job on June 17.[7][8] He received support from the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation hearing on September 21,[9] and confirmed shortly thereafter. On October 22, 2010, Mr. Conway turned the position over to Amos at a ceremony at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C..[4][5][10] This marked the first time a Marine aviator has held the position of Commandant and the first sitting Assistant Commandant since 1983 to become Commandant.[citation needed]

Gen. Amos exchanges the Battle Colors of the Marine Corps with incoming Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford on October 17, 2014.

On October 17, 2014, at Marine Corps Barracks Washington, Amos relinquished command to General Dunford, who became the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus awarded Amos the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for his service as commandant and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel awarded him with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for his years of service at the change-in-command ceremony.

Repeal of don't ask, don't tell[edit]

As Commandant, Amos opposed the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals openly serving in the U.S. military.[11] After President Obama signed the legislation setting the conditions for repeal, Amos led the Department of Defense in carrying out the will of the nation's civilian leadership.[12] In late November 2011, Amos stated that his opposition to gays openly serving in the military has proven unfounded and said that Marines have embraced the change, describing the repeal as a "non-event."[13]

Conflict with Marine Corps Times[edit]

Independent publication the Marine Corps Times has reported that Amos has appeared to respond to what he felt was their biased coverage of his leadership with a "Reawakening Campaign" with "an emphasis on professionalism within our Corps" that included temporarily removing the publication from a prominent position in USMC base exchange stores.[14][15]

Amos has responded that "there was never any intention to ban" the publication.[16]

Alleged abuse of power in misconduct cases[edit]

Major James Weirick has alleged that Amos misused his power in the Video of U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban fighters case,[17] but the Inspector General found that Amos was "reasonable under the circumstances".[18] Amos has said that he replaced Waldhauser only to ensure that whatever comments he had made did not cause unlawful command influence in the case.[19][20]

In August 2014, The Marine Corp Times wrote, "Amos was cleared in November of allegations he showed preferential treatment to the son of his predecessor as commandant, a field grade officer who held a senior leadership position with the scout snipers’ parent command. Then last month the inspector general determined Weirick was not the subject of reprisal when he was removed from his job for confronting one of Amos’ legal advisers.[21]

The Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense cleared General Amos of wrongdoing in summer 2014.[22] General Amos responded to Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr., stating "I do not fear Major Weirick".[23]

Amos also faced allegations of interference in the sexual assault case against Staff. Sgt. Steve Howell.[24] The case was overturned on the basis of Amos's 'appearance of unlawful command influence, rather than actual command influence.'[25]

Resume controversy[edit]

In October 2014, shortly before he relinquished his command as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Amos was accused by L. Lee Thweatt, a former Marine Corps judge advocate, of padding his resume by claiming that he had graduated from The Basic School, the Corps's rigorous 26-week training academy for new officers, in 1972. However, pressed by several individuals to verify this claim, the USMC issued a statement that Amos had been an inter-service transfer from the Navy, and he completed the equivalent of The Basic School via a correspondence course in 1977.[26] Marine Corps spokesman John Caldwell stated the Marine Corps has proof that the Amos did complete The Basic School by saying "The Commandant of the Marine Corps completed The Basic Officer Course via correspondence, which was common practice for pilots during the Vietnam era," Caldwell stated, "Completion of professional military education requirements via correspondence is common practice today and is another method the Marine Corps uses to satisfy educational qualifications in circumstances preventing formal school attendance." [26][27]

Personal life[edit]

Amos graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia and the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Awards and education[edit]

Amos holds the rifle sharpshooter and several pistol expert marksmanship badges.

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
USMC Rifle Sharpshooter badge.png USMC Pistol Expert badge.png
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Naval Aviator insignia
1st row Defense Distinguished Service Medal Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 award star Defense Superior Service Medal
2nd row Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star Bronze Star Medal Meritorious Service Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal
3rd row Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Navy Presidential Unit Citation Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 1 oak leaf cluster Navy Unit Commendation
4th row Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Kosovo Campaign Medal w/ 2 service stars
5th row Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 1 service star Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal
6th row Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 1 silver service star Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 1 service star 1st Class Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon[28] NATO Medal for Yugoslavia w/ 1 service star
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walker, Mark (4 February 2011). "MILITARY: Changes loom for the Marine Corps". San Diego Union Tribune (The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC). Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps". USMC TECOM. 
  3. ^ United States Marine Corps History Division Marine Corps Assistant Commandants
  4. ^ a b "Gates pegs Amos to lead Marine Corps". United Press International. June 15, 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Cavas, Christopher P. (June 15, 2010). "Amos expected to be named commandant". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Cavallaro, Gina (20 July 2010). "Obama nominates Amos for commandant post". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (June 21, 2010). "Gen. Amos Will Be the Next Marine Corps Commandant". The Washington Independent. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Defense Secretary Gates Announces Recommendations to the President on Senior Marine Corps Leadership Positions" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). June 21, 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  9. ^ Cavallaro, Gina (September 21, 2010). "Amos faces panel in confirmation hearing". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 21 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Shea, Sgt Jimmy D. (22 October 2010). "Taking the Reins: Marine Corps Welcomes New Commandant". Headquarters Marine Corps. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (3 December 2010). "Service Chiefs Tell Panel of Risks to Repeal of Gay Ban". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  12. ^ Martinez, Luis (January 31, 2011). "Marines step out smartly in DADT repeal". ABC News. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Robert Burns, Marine commandant: End of gay ban a non-event, Associated Press (Nov. 28, 2011).
  14. ^ Bacon, Lance M. (23 February 2014). "Emails reveal Marine Corps commandant's early attempt to ban independent newspaper". www.marinecorpstimes.com. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  15. ^ GOLD, HADAS (12 February 2014). "Marine Corps Times back on the newsstand". www.politico.com. POLITICO LLC. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Marine Corps commandant: 'Never any intention to ban' independent newspaper". www.marinecorpstimes.com. Gannett Government Media. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Londono, Ernesto; Nakashima, Ellen (16 November 2013). "Fight escalates over case involving Marines urinating on corpses". stripes.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Amos cleared of favoritism charge in urination video case". stripes.com. Stars and Stripes. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Seck, Hope Hodge (17 February 2014). "Amos breaks silence on scout sniper scandal: 'I never said I wanted them crushed', which is still today challenged by the families of the prosecuted; one who died due to the aggressive prosecution causing delays of his medical treatment.". www.militarytimes.com. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  20. ^ deGrandpre, Andrew; Seck, Hope Hodge (20 February 2014). "Plot thickens after Marine Corps commandant's interview with NPR". www.marinecorpstimes.com. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  21. ^ deGrandpre, Andrew (14 August 2014). "Investigation clears top Marine general of tampering in sensitive legal cases". www.armytimes.com//. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Hodge Seck, Hope (27 August 2014). "With IG ruling clearing Marine commandant, observers say openness will bring closure". www.airforcetimes.com/. Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  23. ^ deGrandpre, Andrew (12 May 2014). "Marine chief responds to congressman about whistleblower fallout: 'I do not fear Major Weirick'". whttp://www.armytimes.com/ (Gannett Government Media). Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  24. ^ Scarborough, Rowan (July 28, 2013). "Top Marine Gen. James Amos is accused of interfering in sex assault, desecration cases". www.washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  25. ^ Doyle, Michael (22 May 2014). "Marine’s sexual assault conviction overturned because of commandant’s tough talk". www.mcclatchydc.com (McClatchy). Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Chakraborty, Barnini (15 October 2014). "Retiring Marine Corps commandant accused of padding resume". www.foxnews.com (Fox News). Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  27. ^ Scarborough, Rowan (14 October 2014). "Semper Lie: Marine Corps Commandant James Amos Padded Resume". www.washingtontimes.com (Washington Times). Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  28. ^ "The 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, receives Japan's Order of the Rising Sun Award". April 15, 2014. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

Military offices
Preceded by
James Conway
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.