Gen James F. Amos, USMC (ret.)
General Amos most recently served as the 35th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring on Dec. 1, 2014, after 42 years of active service.
Born in the northwest, General Amos graduated from the University of Idaho in January 1970 with a degree in Finance. After commissioning, he attended naval pilot training in Pensacola, FL, and was designated a Naval Aviator on 23 November 1971.
General Amos was privileged to command Marine units at every rank from Lieutenant Colonel to General. Early command assignments included a Support Squadron, a Fighter Squadron, and a Marine Fighter Group. As a Major General, he commanded the 15,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and led them in combat in Iraq twice between 2003 and 2004. Receiving his third star, LieutenantGeneral Amos moved to Camp Lejeune, NC, where he commanded the Corps’ combat forces on the east coast of the United States. In 2006 he was reassigned to the Marine Corps’ Combat Development Command, at Quantico, VA, where he was responsible for developing the specific equipment and training/education requirements necessary to support the President’s evolving U.S. National Strategy.
While serving in NATO as the Deputy Commander, Naval Striking Forces, Southern Europe, he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Joint Task Force overseeing air combat operations in Serbia and Kosovo. General Amos’ other senior staff assignments brought him back to the Washington, DC area, and the Pentagon. Receiving his fourth star in July 2008, he was appointed as the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Nominated by the President, and confirmed by Congress, General Amos assumed the duties as the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps on 22 October 2010. During his tenure he completed the Corps’ combat mission in Afghanistan, and oversaw the beginning of a force reduction from 240,000 active-duty and reserve Marines to 221,000. Despite Sequestration and its marked impact on a $30+ billion dollar annual budget, he was successful in sustaining essential equipment modernization plans in amphibious ship building and aviation procurement, while responding to multiple crises and international challenges around the world. General Amos established Marine Crisis Response commands in both Africa and the Middle East, and added an additional 1,000 Marine Security Guards to America’s embassies around the world in response to the Benghazi tragedy.
General Amos shepherded the Corps’ considerable effort to address, head-on, its challenges in recruiting and maintaining an optimized force for the 21st Century. As part of this initiative, he began an institutional effort to “ethically reground the Corps” in line with its high standards of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. And lastly, he partnered with key legislators to bring national recognition to the service and sacrifices of the Corps’ WWII African American “Montford Point Marines” with the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal.