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Photo: Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr.
2015 Honoree
Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr. 1973

A native of Pennsylvania, General John Paxton, Jr. graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor and Master of Science in Civil Engineering in 1973 and 1974, respectively, and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1974. While at Cornell, he was elected to the Sphinx Head Society during his senior year and was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity throughout his undergraduate years. Upon completion of Officer Candidates School, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1974. A member of Cornell's 1969 freshman and 1970 varsity football teams, General Paxton also played midfield and defense with the '71 national lacrosse champs.

General Paxton's assignments in the operating forces include Rifle and Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines; Training Officer, 4th Marine Regiment; Executive Officer, Co. G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines; Company Commander, Co. L and Operations Officer, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; GCE Operations Officer, II MEF, and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Marine Division. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in support of operations in Bosnia and Somalia and later the 1st Marine Regiment.

Other assignments include Company Commander, Co. B, Marine Barracks Washington and Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station New York. He served as a Plans Division Officer, Plans, Policies and Operations, HQMC; the Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Navy; and Amphibious Operations Officer/Crisis Action Team Executive Officer, Combined Forces Command, Republic of Korea.

As a general officer, he has served as the Director, Programs Division, Programs and Resources, HQMC; the Commanding General of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego/Western Recruiting Region; Commanding General, 1st Marine Division; Chief of Staff, Multi-National Forces – Iraq; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff; and Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander Marine Forces Africa. Most recently he served as the Commander, Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; and Commander, Marine Forces Europe.

General Paxton is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course and Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He has served as a Commandant's Fellow at the Brookings Institute as well as at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has also been a Marine Corps Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI.

General Paxton was promoted to General and assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on December 15, 2012.

2013 Honoree
Tim Ring, 1979
2011 Honoree
Peter Kornel Gogolak, 1964
2009 Honoree
Ed Marinaro, 1972
2007 Honoree
Louis J. Conti, 1941
2005 Honoree
Thomas D. MacLeod, 1970
2003 Honoree
Charles F. Knight, 1957
2001 Honoree
Richard B. Loynd, 1950