Robert Neller

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Robert B. Neller
Neller 2015 2.jpg
Born (1953-02-09) February 9, 1953 (age 69)
Fort Polk, Louisiana
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1975–2019
Commands heldCommandant of the Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps Forces Command
Marine Corps University
3rd Marine Division
6th Marine Regiment
Battles/warsOperation Restore Hope
United States invasion of Panama
Iraq War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (2)

Robert Blake Neller (born February 9, 1953) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who served as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.[1] He assumed his assignment on September 24, 2015 and retired on July 11, 2019. He was succeeded by David H. Berger.

Early life[edit]

Neller was born in Camp Polk, Louisiana on February 9, 1953.[2] A native of East Lansing, Michigan, he graduated from East Lansing High School in 1971.[3][4] He enrolled in the University of Virginia and, at graduation, received his commission through Officer Candidates School via the Platoon Leaders Class program in May 1975.[5]

Marine career[edit]

Neller's assignments in the operating forces include: Rifle and Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Commander with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division; Commanding Officer, Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines; Commanding Officer, 3rd Light Armored Infantry Battalion (LAI) and Commanding Officer, 6th Marine Regiment from 10 July 1998 to 6 July 2000.[6] While with 3rd LAI he participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. As the Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Security Force Company, Panama, he participated in Operations Just Cause and Promote Liberty. Additionally, he served as Executive Officer, 7th Marine Regiment, G-3, II Marine Expeditionary Force and G-3, 2nd Marine Division.[5]

Other assignments include recruit series officer, aide-de-camp and as Director of Special Training Division MCRD San Diego, California. Neller served as Student Company Executive Officer and Tactics Instructor at The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, and in Special Projects Directorate Headquarters Marine Corps. Additionally, he served as a Staff Officer in the Policy Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Casteau, Belgium.[5]

General officer assignments[edit]

Gen. Neller repeats the oath of office to Secretary of the Navy, Raymond Edwin "Ray" Mabus, Jr., left, during his promotion ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2015.

As a general officer, Neller has served as the Assistant Division Commander of 2d Marine Division; the Director, Operations Division, Plans, Policies and Operations; as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2007, and as the Assistant Division Commander for 1st Marine Division. Neller commanded 3rd Marine Division and served as President, Marine Corps University. From January 2011 to July 2012, he served as Director for Operations, J3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.[5]

Vice Adm. Walter E. Carter Jr., Adm. John M. Richardson, Sec. Mabus, Deputy Sec. of Defense Robert O. Work, and Gen. Neller at the 117th Army-Navy Game in December 2016.

Neller succeeded General Joseph Dunford as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps on September 24, 2015.


Neller is a graduate of The Basic School, Armor Officer Advanced Course (now the Maneuver Captains Career Course), Marine Corps Command and Staff College, NATO Defense College, and the Armed Forces Staff College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Speech Communication from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Pepperdine University.[5] Neller is a member of Theta Chi fraternity.

After retirement[edit]

On February 12, 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appointed Neller as one of four Departmental representatives to the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.[7]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Gold star
Gold star
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgSilver-service-star-3d.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Ordre national du Merite Commandeur ribbon.svg Tong-il Security Medel Ribbon.svg
USMC Rifle Expert badge.png USMC Pistol Expert badge.png
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
1st row Defense Distinguished Service Medal Navy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd row Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 gold award star
3rd row Joint Service Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon w/ 1 award star
4th row Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 1 silver oak leaf cluster Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 bronze service star Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
5th row Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 2 service stars Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal
6th row Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 1 silver and 2 bronze service stars Navy Arctic Service Ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 2 service stars Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon
7th row French National Order of Merit, Commander[8] Brazilian Order of Naval Merit, Commander[9] Order of National Security Merit, Tong-il Medal (Republic of Korea) NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia
Badges Rifle Expert Badge (8th Award) Pistol Expert Badge (16th Award)
Badge Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge


  1. ^ Miller, LCPL Thomas (August 9, 2018). "Lt.Gen. Berger relinquishes command to Lt.Gen. Craparotta". Press Release. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  2. ^[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ Palmer, Ken (July 24, 2015). "East Lansing native set to become top U.S. Marine". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  4. ^ "Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps: Who is Robert Neller?".
  5. ^ a b c d e "Lieutenant General Robert B. Neller, Commander". Marine Corps. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "2ND MARINE DIVISION AND ITS REGIMENTS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the Department's Representatives to the Congressionally-Mandated Commission on the Naming of Items in the Department of Defense That Commemorate the Confederate States of America". U.S. Department of Defense. February 12, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Commandant awarded French National Order of Merit". May 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Stock Photo - Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks with a guest after receiving the Medal of Naval Order and Merit for Superior Officers from Commandant of the".

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by
President of the Marine Corps University
Succeeded by
Preceded by Director for Operations of the Joint Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander of the United States Marine Forces Central Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander of the United States Marine Corps Forces Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commandant of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by