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General James Terry Conway, USMC (born December 26, 1947) is the 34th and current Commandant of the Marine Corps. Among his previous postings were Director of Operations (J-3) on the Joint Staff and Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from 2002 through 2004 taking part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Operation Vigilant Resolvemarker in Fallujahmarker, Iraq.


James Conway was born in Walnut Ridge, Arkansasmarker. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, Missouri and then attended Southeast Missouri State Universitymarker where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. He was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1970. His first assignment was command of a rifle platoon with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines out of Camp Pendletonmarker. He also served as the Battalion's 106mm recoilless rifle platoon commander. Later he served as Marine Executive Officer aboard the aircraft carrier .

After graduating with honors from career-level officer school, Conway commanded two companies in the 2nd Marine Regiment's Operations and Security section. As a field grade officer, he commanded two companies of officer students and taught tactics at The Basic School. He then went on to serve as operations officer for the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, with sea duty in the western Pacific and in contingency operations off Beirutmarker, Lebanonmarker.

Returning to the U.S., Conway was assigned as Senior Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving two years in that capacity. After graduating from top-level officer training, again with honors, he took command of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, and commanded the Battalion Landing Team in its eight-month deployment to Southwest Asia during Desert Storm.

After the war he was promoted to colonel, and assigned command of The Basic School. Promoted to Brigadier General in December 1995, he again was assigned to the JCS. After being promoted to Major General, he served as commander of the 1st Marine Division and as Deputy Commanding General of Marine Forces Central. He was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) on November 16, 2002. He commanded I MEF during two combat tours in Iraq. General Conway had 60,000 troops under his command, being U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, and British forces. In the book The Iraq War, Conway was described as, "big, buff, well read and well educated.....he represented all that was best about the new United States Marine Corps, which General Al Gray as the commandant had set up."

Lt Gen Conway responding to questions at a Pentagon briefing, June 2006.

In a press interview on May 30, 2003, General Conway was questioned about the failure at that point to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He replied, in part:

On June 13, 2006, LtGen Conway was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps; the nomination was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2006.

On November 13, 2006, LtGen Conway was promoted to his current rank at the Marine Barracksmarker in Washington, D.C.marker (8th and I) and became General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps. He is the first Commandant in nearly 40 years to have not served in the Republic of Vietnam.

On June 11, 2009, Conway spoke at the National Press Club about the importance of maintaining the Amphibious assault ships to lift two Marine Expeditionary Brigades and the time "at home" away from the current wars to train for amphibious assault.

He is married to the former Annette Drury, and they have three children.

Awards and decorations

Conway has been decorated for service, to include:
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 oak leaf cluster Navy Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
2nd Row Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal w/ 2 award stars Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
3rd Row Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 2 oak leaf clusters Navy Unit Commendation
4th Row Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 3 service stars
5th Row Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 3 service stars Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal
6th Row Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 3 service stars Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon Kuwait Liberation Medal Kuwait Liberation Medal

See also


  1. Murray, Williamson & Scales, Robert H. (2003). ‘’The Iraq War: A Military History.’’p. 65. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01280-1
  2. Marine Commandant Says Corps Fulfilled its Mission in Iraq


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