Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps
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The Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps is the senior advisor and task manager for the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Personally selected by the Commandant, the Military Secretary is an active duty colonel who reports directly to the Commandant. The exact duties of the Military Secretary have varied based on the needs and preferences of each Commandant. There are no existing manuals or orders that dictate the exact role of the Military Secretary. He runs the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Commandant, supervises the schedule of the Commandant, and performs other duties as the Commandant may direct. In order to perform the multi-faceted duties of the Military Secretary, the Marine must be well versed in all aspects of the United States Marine Corps, the United States Department of Defense, and the United States Government.
Comparable positions in other branches of the military are:
- U.S. Air Force – Senior Military Assistant
- U.S. Army – Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army
- U.S. Navy – Military Assistant
The Military Secretary serves as a direct advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Military Secretary is primarily responsible for filtering and directing the flow of information to the Commandant, keeping the Commandant abreast of situations impacting the Marine Corps, gathering and analyzing pertinent information in order to provide sound guidance and counsel to the Commandant. His responsibilities extend to acting as a liaison between the Commandant and the Secretary of the General Staff, participating in scheduling and coordination with the Assistant Commandant, and supervising the Commandant's personal staff. Foreign dignitaries often visit the Commandant and he in turn travels overseas to visit them. Not only does the Military Secretary oversee the preparation and execution of these trips, he may be required to accompany the Commandant on these trips or engage guests on the Commandant's behalf and they only follow orders from the commandant.
Originally, the position of Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (or MilSec) was called the Secretary to the Major General Commandant (MGC). The position was created by the 17th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General Thomas Holcomb, who appointed Colonel Alexander A. Vandegrift as the first Military Secretary in 1936.
Until the 1950s, the Assistant Commandant worked in the same office as the Commandant. At this time the Assistant Commandant moved to his own office space and created a more defined position. Prior to this move, the Military Secretary performed duties for the Assistant Commandant as well.
List of military secretaries
Forty-three men have served as the Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Two Marines have served as the Military Secretary and have later gone on to become the Commandant:
The current Military Secretary is Colonel Tom Gordon.
|#||Photo||Name||Rank||Start of tenure||End of tenure||Retired rank||Commandant served under||References|
|1||Alexander A. Vandegrift||Colonel||1937||1940||General||Major General Thomas Holcomb|
|2||William C. James||Colonel||1940||1942||Brigadier General||Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb|||
|3||Harry Schmidt||Brigadier General||1942||1942||General||Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb|
|4||Frederick C. McConnell||Colonel||1942||1944||Colonel||Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb|
|5||Joseph C. Burger||Colonel||1944||1946||Lieutenant General||General Alexander A. Vandegrift|
|6||Donald C. Curtis||Colonel||1946||1948||Brigadier General||General Alexander A. Vandegrift until 1947 General Clifton B. Cates until 1948|
|7||Edwin A. Pollock||Colonel||1948||1949||General||General Clifton B. Cates|
|8||Joseph H. Berry||Colonel||1949||1951||Brigadier General||General Clifton B. Cates|
|9||Victor H. Krulak||Colonel||1952||1956||Lieutenant General||General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.|
|10||Ormond R. Simpson||Colonel||1956||1958||Lieutenant General||General Randolph M. Pate|||
|11||Roy L. Kline||Brigadier General||1958||1960||Brigadier General||General Randolph M. Pate|
|12||John P. Coursey||Brigadier General||1960||1962||Brigadier General||General David M. Shoup|
|13||Oscar T. Jensen, Jr.||Colonel||1963||1963||General David M. Shoup|
|14||James O. Appleyard||Colonel||1964||1966||General Wallace M. Greene, Jr.|
|15||Foster LaHue||Brigadier General||1965||1967||Lieutenant General||General Wallace M. Greene, Jr.|
|16||Carl W. Hoffman||Colonel||1967||1967||Major General||General Wallace M. Greene, Jr.|||
|17||Fred E. Haynes Jr.||Colonel||1968||1968||Major General||General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.|||
|18||Emmett O. Anglin, Jr.||Colonel||1968||1971||General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.|
|19||Andrew E. O'Donnell||Colonel||1969||1971||General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.|
|20||George R. Brier||Colonel||1971||1972||General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. and General Robert E. Cushman, Jr.|
|21||Robert E. Howard, Jr.||Colonel||1972||1974||General Robert E. Cushman, Jr.|
|22||Ross L. Mulford||Colonel||1974||1976||General Robert E. Cushman, Jr. until 1975 and General Louis H. Wilson, Jr. until 1976|
|23||Robert C. Hagerty||Colonel||1976||1978||General Louis H. Wilson, Jr.|
|24||John B. Donovan, Jr.||Colonel||1978||1979||General Louis H. Wilson, Jr.|
|25||Darell U. Davidson||Colonel||1979||1980||Colonel||General Robert H. Barrow|
|26||Walter R. Ledbetter, Jr.||Colonel||1980||1981||General Robert H. Barrow|
|27||James H. R. Curd||Colonel||1981||1983||General Robert H. Barrow|
|28||Joseph H. Alexander||Colonel||1983||1985||General Paul X. Kelley|
|29||Edward M. Mockler||Colonel||1985||1986||General Paul X. Kelley|
|30||Terry J. Ebbert||Colonel||1986||1987||General Paul X. Kelley|
|31||Harvey C. Barnum, Jr.||Colonel||1987||1989||Colonel||General Alfred M. Gray, Jr.|
|32||James L. Jones, Jr.||Colonel||1989||1990||General||General Alfred M. Gray, Jr.|
|33||Richard A. Combs||Colonel||1990||1991||General Alfred M. Gray, Jr.|
|34||Peter T. Metzger||Colonel||1991||1992||General Carl E. Mundy, Jr.|
|35||James C. Flynn||Colonel||1992||1995||General Carl E. Mundy, Jr.|
|36||Russell E. Appleton||Colonel||1995||1998||General Charles C. Krulak|
|37||John R. Allen||Colonel||1998||1999||General||General Charles C. Krulak|
|38||Dennis J. Hejlik||Colonel||1999||2001||Lieutenant General||General James L. Jones, Jr.|
|39||George J. Flynn||Colonel||2001||2002||Lieutenant General||General James L. Jones, Jr.|
|40||Robert E. Schmidle Jr.||Colonel||2002||2003||Lieutenant General||General James L. Jones, Jr. until 2003 and General Michael W. Hagee until 2003|
|41||James C. Walker||Colonel||2003||2006||Brigadier General||General Michael W. Hagee|
|42||Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.||Brigadier General||2006||2007||Lieutenant General||General Michael W. Hagee and until 2006 and General James T. Conway until 2007|
|43||George F. Milburn||Colonel||2007||2010||Colonel||General James T. Conway|
|44||George W. Smith Jr.||Brigadier General||2010||2011||Major General||General James F. Amos|
|45||James W. Bierman Jr.||Colonel||2011||2013||Brigadier General||General James F. Amos|
|46||Roger B. Turner Jr.||Colonel||2013||2014||Brigadier General||General James F. Amos|
|47||Michael Cederholm||Colonel||2014||2015||Brigadier General||General Joseph Dunford|
|48||||Scott F. Benedict||Colonel||2015||July 2016||Brigadier General||General Robert Neller|
|49||Unknown||Colonel||July 2016||June 2017||General Robert Neller|
|50||Tom Gordon||Colonel||June 2017||Brigadier General||General Robert Neller|
- Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
- Clark, George B. (2008). United States Marine Corps Generals of World War II. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7864-9543-6. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- Millett, Allan R. (1993). In Many a Strife. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-87021-034-3. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- "Who's Who in the Marine Corps History – LTG Ormond R. Simpson". usmcu.edu. United States Marine Corps University Websites. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "Marine Corps Oral History Collection" (PDF). USMC Military History Division. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
- "MARINE CORPS ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION CATALOG" (PDF). marines.mil. Marines Websites. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Fortitudine 35, Part 2" (PDF). marines.mil. Marines Websites. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- "Legends of the 5TH MARINE DIVISION". 5thmarinedivision.com. 5th Marine Division Websites. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Millett, Allan R.; Shulimson, Jack (2004). Commandants of the Marine Corps. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-012-9.