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Robert E. Cushman, Jr.
December 24, 1914(1914-12-24) – January 2, 1985 (aged 70)
Robert E. Cushman.jpg
25th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1972-1975)
Place of birth St. Paul, Minnesota
Place of death Fort Washington, Maryland
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1935 - 1975
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Unit HQMC
Commands held Commandant of the Marine Corps
2nd Battalion, 9th Marines
2nd Marine Regiment
3rd Marine Division
III Marine Amphibious Force
Battles/wars World War II

Vietnam War

Awards Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Other work Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency[1] (1969-1971)

General Robert Everton Cushman, Jr. (December 24, 1914 - January 2, 1985) served as the 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps from January 1, 1972 to June 30, 1975. He was honored for heroism in battle during World War II at the battles of Guam (Navy Cross), Bougainville (Bronze Star) and Iwo Jima (Legion of Merit). He also commanded all Marine forces in Vietnam from June - December 1967. Cushman served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1969-1971.

Contents

Biography

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Early life

Born December 24, 1914, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Central High School and at sixteen, before graduating, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Cushman graduated tenth in his class of 442 from the Academy.

Early career

He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant on June 6, 1935. Second Lieutenant Cushman completed The Basic School for Marine officers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, then served briefly at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California. In February 1936, he arrived in Shanghai, China, and served as a platoon commander with the 4th Marines and later the 2d Marine Brigade. On his return to the United States in March 1938, he served at naval shipyards in Brooklyn, New York and Portsmouth, Virginia. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in August 1938.

In April 1939, 1stLt Cushman was assigned to the Marine Detachment at the New York World’s Fair, and was subsequently stationed at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. He was promoted to Captain in March 1941.

World War II

In June 1941, Capt Cushman reported aboard the USS Pennsylvania in San Diego, enroute to Pearl Harbor, as Commanding Officer of the ship’s Marine Detachment. He was serving in this capacity when the Japanese attacked the ship and other naval installations at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Upon his transfer from the Pennsylvania, he joined the 9th Marine Regiment at San Diego as a battalion executive officer in May 1942 and was promoted to major that same month.

Major Cushman hiked from San Diego to Camp Pendleton with his unit in September 1942, and embarked for the Pacific Area in January 1943. That month, Maj Cushman was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, and in May 1943 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. During the two years he held that post, he led his battalion repeatedly into combat, earning the Bronze Star with Combat “V” on Bougainville, the Navy Cross during the Battle of Guam, and the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where he led his battalion against "Cushman's Pocket,” a complex of enemy caves.

Post war years

Upon his return to the United States in May 1945, LtCol Cushman was stationed at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, for three years. During that period he completed the Senior School, served as an instructor in the Command and Staff School, and during the latter two years was Supervisory Instructor, Amphibious Warfare School. In June 1948, he was named Head of the Amphibious Warfare Branch, Office of Naval Research, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. From October 1949 until May 1951, he served on the staff of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While there, he was promoted to Colonel in May 1950.

In June 1951, Col Cushman joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleet, in London, serving as Amphibious Plans Officer until June 1953. Following his return to the United States, he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as a member of the faculty of the Armed Forces Staff College, and in July 1954 became Director of the Plans and Operations Division there. In July 1956, he assumed command of the 2nd Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Assigned to Washington, D.C., in February 1957, he served four years on the staff of then-Vice President Richard Nixon as Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. While serving in this capacity he was promoted to Brigadier General in July 1958.

Following his departure from Washington, BGen Cushman became Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division, on Okinawa in March 1961. He was promoted to Major General in August 1961, and in September assumed command of the Division.

In July 1962, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) in Washington, D.C., where he was assigned as both Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Plans, Operations and Training), in which capacities he served until January 1, 1964. From that date until June 1964, he served only as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3.

From June 1964 until March 1967, MajGen Cushman served in the dual capacity of Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, and Commanding General, 4th Marine Division Headquarters Nucleus. In June 1966, he formed the 5th Marine Division, and additionally, he served as its Commanding General at Camp Pendleton until November 1966.

Vietnam War

Major General Cushman was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in April 1967 and was assigned as the Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force. Upon assuming duty as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, the largest combined combat unit ever led by a Marine, he was promoted to lieutenant general in June 1967. For his service as Deputy Commander, from April to May 1967, and subsequently as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, from June to December 1967, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. A Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal was awarded for his service as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force; Senior Advisor, I Corps Tactical Zone; and I Corps Coordinator for United States/Free World Military Assistance Forces, from January 1968 to March 1969.

Post Vietnam

On March 6, 1969, while serving in Vietnam, LtGen Cushman was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to be the Deputy Director of the CIA;[1] the Senate confirmed his nomination, April 21, 1969. Upon his return to the United States, he served briefly as Director of Personnel/Deputy Chief of Staff (Manpower) at HQMC. LtGen Cushman subsequently served as Deputy Director of the CIA from April 1969 through December 1971, for which service he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

As Commandant

He was promoted to General and assumed the office of Commandant of the Marine Corps on January 1, 1972. During Gen Cushman’s tenure, he saw the last of the Marines leave Vietnam and the peacetime strength fall to 194,000 while still maintaining readiness to act in such emergencies as the Mayagüez incident and the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon. During his tenure as commandant, he was affectionately known as "Fat Bob" because of his un-Marine-like physique. The standing joke was that, while he was Commandant, the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test consisted of "three laps around Fat Bob." General Cushman retired June 30, 1975.

Later life

Cushman died January 2, 1985 at his home in Fort Washington, Maryland. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[2]

Awards

Cushman's medals and decorations include:

Gold star
Gold star
V
V
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Silver star
Navy Cross Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit w/ valor device Bronze Star w/ valor device Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 star
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 star Distinguished Intelligence Medal China Service Medal American Defense Service Medal w/ 1 star
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 5 stars World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 star
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 5 stars Order of May to the Naval Merit, Commander (Argentina) National Order of Vietnam, Commander National Order of Vietnam, Officer
Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ 2 palms Order of Military Merit, Eulji Cordon Medal
Order of Military Merit, Chungmu Cordon Medal Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation Vietnam Campaign Medal

See also

Notes

References

Further reading

Government offices
Preceded by
Rufus L. Taylor
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
1969–1971
Succeeded by
Vernon A. Walters
Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.
Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
1972—1975
Succeeded by
Gen. Louis H. Wilson, Jr.

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