Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos, USMC – Reviewing Officer

AmosGeneral James F. Amos, USMC, is the 31st and current Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. A Naval aviator by trade, General Amos has held command at all levels from Lieutenant Colonel to Lieutenant General. Most notably he commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in combat during Operations Iraqi Freedom I and II from 2002-2004, followed by command of the II Marine Expeditionary Force from 2004-2006. He subsequently served as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command and as the Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration from 2006 to July 2008. General Amos was promoted to his present rank and assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 2 July 2008.

General Peter Pace, USMC, Ret. – Grand Marshal

PaceGeneral Peter Pace retired from active duty on 1 October, 2007, after more than 40 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Pace was sworn in as sixteenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sep. 30, 2005. In this capacity, he served as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council. Prior to becoming Chairman, he served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Pace holds the distinction of being the first Marine to have served in either of these positions.

General Pace was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Teaneck, NJ. A 1967 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University and attended Harvard University for the Senior Executives in National and International Security program. The General is also a graduate of the Infantry Officers’ Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Ga.; the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, in Quantico, VA; and the National War College, at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC. In 1968, he was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam, serving first as a Rifle Platoon Leader and subsequently as Assistant Operations Officer.

General Pace’s personal decorations include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, with three oak leaf clusters; the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; the Army Distinguished Service Medal; the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal; the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with gold star; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”; Navy Achievement Medal with gold star; and the Combat Action Ribbon. In June, 2008, General Pace was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a President can bestow.

R. V. Burgin, USMC – Honored Guest

BurginR.V. Burgin joined the United States Marines on November 13, 1942, he never imagined what was waiting for him and his fellow riflemen in the Pacific Islands during World War II. From New Britain through Peleliu to Okinawa, Burgin’s platoon – Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division – encountered a ferocious, committed, and desperate enemy in the Japanese, engaging them in some of the most harrowing and horrifying conflicts of the war.

Schooled in Melbourne, Australia, by the veterans who had just returned from combat in Guadalcanal, Company K confronted snipers, ambushes along narrow jungle trails, abandoned corpses of hara-kiri victims, and howling banzai attacks as they island-hopped from one bloody battle to the next. During his two years of service, Burgin rose from a green private to a seasoned sergeant, and earned a Bronze Star for his valor at Okinawa. He is featured in the HBO series The Pacific.

Lt. General G.R. (Ron) Christmas, USMC Ret. – Honorary Marshal of the Vietnam War

christmas 300Lt. General Christmas is currently the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. He was commissioned into the Marine Corps through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. He served in various infantry command and staff assignments as a company grade officer including command of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Vietnam. He was seriously wounded during the battle of Hue City during Tet ’68 and for his actions there was awarded the Navy Cross. Some of his key assignments include Commanding Officer, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island; Commanding Officer, 3rd Marines; Commanding General, 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade; Commanding General, 3rd Force Service Support Group; Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force; Director, J-3, US Commander in Chief Pacific Command. He retired from the Corps in 1996 after 34 years active duty. His final assignment was Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

From September 1996 until December 2006, as well as being President of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, he served as a Senior Mentor, Marine Air Ground Task Force Staff Training Program, and the Joint Forces Command. Other projects during the period included Adjunct Staff, RAND Corporation; Consultant, Harris Corporation, Member, Board of Advisors, Recruit Military, LLC; Ex-Officio Trustee, Marine Corps University Foundation; and Ex-Officio Governor, Marine Corps Association. With the growth of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s mission and enterprises, General Christmas now devotes his full time to these efforts.

Lt. General Christmas is married to the former Sherry Lownds. They have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller, USN – Honored Guest

FellerBob Feller was a star pitcher for the Cleveland Indians during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Feller immediately enlisted in the United States Navy, where he was assigned to command a 24-man gunnery squad on the battleship Alabama. After a year of service in the North Atlantic, Feller and the Alabama were sent to the Pacific, where he participated in eight invasions including Iwo Jima.

Feller was discharged in August 1945, after almost four years of service. He returned to baseball and resumed a career that led to his induction into the MLB Hall of Fame.

Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Wesley Fox, USMC Ret. – Honored Guest

wes_fox_06Colonel Wesley Fox enlisted in the Marines on August 4, 1950, and served two tours with the 1st Marine Division in Korea where he held billets from BARman to Platoon Sergeant. He served as commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines in Vietnam. He retired from active duty in September 1993. Upon retirement, Fox served for eight years as the Deputy Commandant of the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech. He is author of two books, Marine Rifleman: Forty-three Years in the Corps and Courage and Fear. His personal decorations include: Medal of Honor, Legion of Merit with Star, Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, Purple Heart with 3 Stars, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V and Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon with star.

Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Thomas Hudner, USN ret. – Honored Guest

HudnerCaptain Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. After attending flight school, he was designated a Naval Aviator in August of 1949. On December 4, 1950, while serving with VF-32 during the Korean War, he crash-landed his own plane near the Chosin Reservoir in an effort to rescue Ensign Jesse L. Brown, another pilot whose plane had been shot down. Hudner worked bravely to free the injured pilot, despite severe cold, and having no tools at his disposal apart from a small hand ax. For his heroism on that occasion, then-Lt. (Junior Grade) Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor―the first Navy Medal of Honor to be awarded during the Korean War. During the early 1970s, Hudner was Head of Aviation Technical Training in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Captain Hudner retired from the service in 1973.

Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd – Pre-Parade Ceremony Invocation

Rear Admiral Mark TiddChaplain of the United States Marine Corps and Deputy Chief of Navy Chaplains

Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd comes from a career Navy family, and is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. He received his Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a postgraduate Masters of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a recent graduate of the National War College in Washington D.C. with a Masters of Science in National Security Strategy and a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Armed Forces Staff College.

Tidd’s Navy tours include Naval Air Station Moffett Field, Calif. with Patrol Wing 10 and the USS Reeves (CG 24). During his time on board, Reeves visited Qingdao, China, as part of the first port visit by U.S. warships to that country in 39 years. He went on to serve as deputy command chaplain on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

Marine Corps tours include 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and 2nd Marine Division staff, deploying to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Storm. He served at Marine Corps Combat Development Command as the chaplain for the Marine Corps Brig and the Base Security Battalion and returned to 2nd Marine Division as the division chaplain.

He has served in leadership positions on the chief of chaplain’s staff as the branch head for Professional Development and Religious Programs, and as the Advanced Training officer at Navy Chaplain School. Tidd was assigned as the force chaplain for U.S., Naval Forces Central Command and the fleet chaplain for U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Most recently, he was command chaplain for the U.S. European Command.

Tidd’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with gold star, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, and Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars.

Tidd assumed his current duties as the 17th chaplain of the United States Marine Corps and deputy chief of Navy Chaplains in August 2009.

Medal of Honor Recipient CWO-4 Hershel “Woody” Williams, USMC ret. – Honored Guest

woody1Chief Warrant Officer-4 Hershel “Woody” Williams enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in May 1943. He saw combat on Guam and Iwo Jima with the 3rd Marine Division. He was wounded while fighting on Iwo Jima, for which he received the Purple Heart. As a flame thrower demolition specialist, he took out seven Japanese “pillboxes” or bunkers on Iwo Jima and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman on October 5, 1945 for this action. After a week and a half of fighting, only seventeen out of 279 men in Williams’ company were not killed or wounded in action. After World War II, Williams remained in the Marine Corps, retiring in 1963. He then spent 27 years operating a boarding and training barn for horses in Ona, West Virginia.