Robert B. Johnston

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Robert B. Johnston
LtGenRbtBJohnston USMC.jpg
Born (1937-10-06) October 6, 1937 (age 79)
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1961-1995
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held

Robert B. Johnston (born October 6, 1937) is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general whose last duty assignment was as Commander, Marine Forces Atlantic Marine Forces Europe and II Marine Expeditionary Force. During the Gulf War, he served as the CENTCOM Chief-of-Staff. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1995 after over 34 years of active duty service.


Robert B. Johnston was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 6, 1937. He immigrated to the United States in 1955 and graduated from San Diego State College[1] with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1961, where he was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. In He received a Master's degree in Business Administration from the United States International University in 1975.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in December 1961. His first tour of duty was with the 1st Marine Brigade in Hawaii as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer and Assistant Regimental S-3, respectively. In May 1965, he deployed with the Brigade to Vietnam, where he served as Assistant Regimental S-3. He served a second tour in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, as a Rifle Company Commander in the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines and as Assistant G-2, 3rd Marine Division. He was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1963 and captain in September 1965.

Between his Vietnam tours, General Johnston served as Commanding Officer, Guard Company, \ Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., from July 1965 to October 1966. Transferring to Marine Corps Base Quantico, he completed the Amphibious Warfare School in July 1968, and was subsequently assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in August, where he served as Assistant G-3, Staff Secretary and Executive Officer of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion until August 1972. He was promoted to major in October 1971.

Following an assignment to the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group in Korea from 1972 to 1973, Johnston completed graduate school in San Diego in March 1975. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps for a three-year tour serving in the Manpower Plans and Policy Division as Manpower Systems Analyst, then as Head, Enlisted Plans Section. While at Headquarters, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1978.

From August 1978 to June 1979, Johnston was a student at the National War College, Washington, D.C., then assumed duties as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (June 1979 to May 1981).

He then assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from July 1981 to February 1983, and commanded the 8th Marine Regiment from February 1983 to May 1984. He was promoted to colonel in May 1983 while at Camp Lejeune.

He was assigned to Quantico in May 1984 to assume command of Officer Candidates School. While serving in this capacity, he was selected for promotion to brigadier general in December 1986. He was advanced to that grade on August 21, 1987, and assumed duty as the Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division in September 1987. He was assigned additional duty as the Commanding General, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade in November 1987. On May 26, 1988, General Johnston was assigned as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp S.D. Butler. On May 4, 1990, he was promoted to major general and on June 15, 1990 he was assigned to United States Central Command as the Chief of Staff.

In August 1990, he deployed with CENTCOM to Saudi Arabia, where he served as the Chief of Staff to General Norman Schwarzkopf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.[2] In May 1991, he returned to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and was assigned as the Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, United States Central Command.

He was advanced to lieutenant general on August 27, 1991, and assumed duty as Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force/Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, on September 6, 1991. He relinquished command of Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton on June 19, 1992. In December 1992, as Commanding General of I MEF, Johnston lead U.S. and allied troops in a United Nations mandated mission to deliver relief supplies to Somalia.[3]

On July 8, 1993 he assumed his final assignment as Commander, Marine Forces Atlantic Marine Forces Europe, and II Marine Expeditionary Force on July 19, 1993.

Lieutenant General Johnston retired in 1995 after 34 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.[4]

Decorations and awards[edit]

Johnston's decorations include:

Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit Bronze Star w/ valor device Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star
2nd Row Joint Service Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation
3rd Row Joint Meritorious Unit Award Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
4th Row National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 service stars Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 2 service stars
5th Row Humanitarian Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ silver star
6th Row Order of the Phoenix King Faisal Award, 2d Class Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation Vietnam Campaign Medal


  1. ^ Simmons, Edwin Howard (2003). The United States Marines: A History. Naval Institute Press. p. 289. ISBN 1-55750-868-2. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  2. ^ Warren, James A. (2007). American Spartans: The U.S. Marines: A Combat History from Iwo Jima to Iraq. Simon and Schuster. p. 411. ISBN 1-4165-3297-8. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Schmitt, Eric (8 December 1992). "Mission to Somalia; From Gulf to Somalia: General Marches On". New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "General Officer Announcement (Retirement of Lieutenant General Robert B. Johnston)" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense. 22 June 1995. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.


  • Frank, Benis M. (1987). U.S. Marines in Lebanon 1982-1984. Washington, D.C.: History and Museums Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 30 December 2008.  Then-LtCol. Johnston commanded the BLT 2/8 in Beirut.