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Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 (or she) 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 or her 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 or she 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 Scott Leonard.

# Photo Name Rank Start of tenure End of tenure Retired rank Commandant served under References
Alexander A. Vandegrift Colonel 1937 1940 General Major General Thomas Holcomb
W. Capers James.jpg
William C. James Colonel 1940 1942 Brigadier General Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb [1][2]
Harry Schmidt.jpg
Harry Schmidt Brigadier General 1942 1942 General Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb
4 Frederick C. McConnell Colonel 1942 1944 Colonel Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb
Joseph C. Burger.jpg
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
Edwin A Pollock.jpg
Edwin A. Pollock Colonel 1948 1949 General General Clifton B. Cates
8 Joseph H. Berry Colonel 1949 1951 Brigadier General General Clifton B. Cates
Victor Krulak.jpg
Victor H. Krulak Colonel 1952 1956 Lieutenant General General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.
Ormond R. Simpson.jpg
Ormond R. Simpson Colonel 1956 1958 Lieutenant General General Randolph M. Pate [3][4]
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.
Lieutenant general Foster C. LaHue.jpg
Foster LaHue Brigadier General 1965 1967 Lieutenant General General Wallace M. Greene, Jr.
Carl W. Hoffman.jpg
Carl W. Hoffman Colonel 1967 1967 Major General General Wallace M. Greene, Jr. [5]
Fred Elmer Haynes Jr.jpg
Fred E. Haynes Jr. Colonel 1968 1968 Major General General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. [6][7]
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
Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., USMC.jpg
Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. Colonel 1987 1989 Colonel General Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
James L. Jones 2.jpg
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
General John R. Allen.jpg
John R. Allen Colonel 1998 1999 General General Charles C. Krulak
LtGen Dennis Hejlik.jpg
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.
Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle,Jr.jpg
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
Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr.JPG
Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. Brigadier General 2006 2007 Lieutenant General General Michael W. Hagee and until 2006 and General James T. Conway until 2007
Photo of Colonel Milburn
George F. Milburn Colonel 2007 2010 Colonel General James T. Conway
Photo of Brigadier General Smith Jr.
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 [1] 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 August 2019 Brigadier General General Robert Neller
51 Scott Leonard Colonel August 2019 General David H. Berger

See also


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Millett, Allan R. (1993). In Many a Strife. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-87021-034-3. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Who's Who in the Marine Corps History – LTG Ormond R. Simpson". United States Marine Corps University Websites. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  4. ^ "Marine Corps Oral History Collection" (PDF). USMC Military History Division. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "MARINE CORPS ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION CATALOG" (PDF). Marines Websites. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Fortitudine 35, Part 2" (PDF). Marines Websites. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Legends of the 5TH MARINE DIVISION". 5th Marine Division Websites. Retrieved June 29, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 October 2020, at 14:51
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