R 091447Z JAN 20
From: CMC WASHINGTON DC CMC(UC)
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS//
SUBJ/DEATH OF GENERAL PAUL X. KELLEY, 28TH COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS//
REF A/MSG/ALNAV 093/19//
AMPN/DEATH OF GENERAL PAUL X. KELLEY, 28TH COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. The reference announced the death of General Paul X. Kelley, U. S. Marine Corps, retired, 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps, on 29 December 2019.
2. Throughout his tenure as CMC, General Kelley’s personable and engaged leadership style saw the Marine Corps through several major challenges. He played a pivotal role in re-establishing the identity and character of the Marine Corps following high-profile scandals, and he effectively oversaw one of the most intense periods of modernization in Marine Corps history. General Kelley focused his efforts on quality – quality people and quality equipment. His initiative to fill the ranks of the Marine Corps with high-caliber people in the all-volunteer force era led to a revision in recruiting efforts centered on attracting more high school graduates and removing criminals from Marine Corps ranks. A strong proponent of the MV-22 Osprey, General Kelley played a vital role in modernizing Marine Corps equipment and capabilities. He also spearheaded the concept that made the MEU Special Operations Capable. His enduring legacy as CMC was defined by his commitment to taking exceptional care of his Marines, re-instilling Marine Corps values, and modernizing the Corps for success on future battlefields.
3. General Kelley was born on 11 November 1928 in Boston, MA. He graduated from Villanova University with a B. S. degree in Economics and was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant in June 1950.
4. In March 1951, after completing instruction at The Basic School, Quantico, VA., he served consecutively as a platoon leader, assistant battalion operations officer and assistant division training officer with the 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. He was transferred to the USS Salem, flagship of the 6th Fleet, during September 1952, serving as the Executive Officer and then the Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment for a period of 20 months. He was promoted to Captain on 16 December 1953.
5. He was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, in July 1954, where he served as a battalion executive officer with the 1st Infantry Training Regiment. Transferred to Japan in February 1955, he served as the Division Training Officer, 3d Marine Division. From August 1955 to June 1956, he served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Deputy Commanding General, and then as Assistant Force Training Officer, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Pacific, in Hawaii.
6. Returning to the U. S. in July 1956, General Kelley became the Special Assistant to the Director of Personnel at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC, until December 1957. Following his assignment in Washington, he completed the Airborne Pathfinder School at Fort Benning, GA. In February 1958, he was assigned to the newly activated 2d Force Reconnaissance Company, Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, where he served as the Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer.
7. From September 1960 to May 1961, he was the U. S. Marine Corps exchange officer with the British Royal Marines. During this tour he attended the Commando Course in England, served as assistant operations officer with 45 Commando in Aden, and as Commander "C" Troop, 42 Commando in Singapore, Malaya, and Borneo. On 1 March 1961, he was promoted to Major. He was assigned to Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, in July 1961, and served there as a Tactics Phase Chief at The Basic School; and then Reconnaissance and Surveillance Officer at the Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center.
8. In June 1964, he assumed duties as Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Newport, RI. He remained at that post until August 1965, when he was transferred to Vietnam and reported to the 3d Marine Amphibious Force, FMF, Pacific, as the Combat Intelligence Officer. Following this assignment, he served as the Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment in Vietnam. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 20 January 1966. During this tour as Battalion Commander, he earned the Silver Star medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and two awards of the Bronze Star medal with Combat “V”.
9. From Vietnam, he proceeded to the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, where he served from August 1966 to July 1968 as the senior Marine Corps representative of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He then attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, graduating as a “Distinguished Graduate” in May 1969. For his excellence in politico-military strategy while a student at the Air War College, the board of trustees of the National Geographic Society elected him a life member.
10. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps in June 1969 as the Military Assistant to the Assistant Commandant. He was promoted to Colonel on 1 April 1970, and in June 1970 was reassigned to Vietnam, where he commanded the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. General Kelley redeployed the regiment, the last Marine ground combat unit to leave Vietnam, to Camp Pendleton, CA, in May 1971. During his second tour in Vietnam, he was awarded a second Legion of Merit with Combat “V”.
11. Reassigned to the Washington area in July 1971, General Kelley served as the Chief, Southeast Asia branch, Plans and Policy Directorate, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he remained until November 1973, when he was assigned as the Executive Assistant to the Director, Joint Staff. Upon completion of this tour, he was awarded a third Legion of Merit. Following his promotion to Brigadier General on 6 August 1974, he was assigned as the Commanding General, 4th Marine Division. In June 1975, General Kelley was ordered to the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, at Quantico, where he assumed the duties as Director, Development Center. He then assumed duties as Director, Education Center and was advanced to the grade of Major General on 29 June 1976. In May 1978, General Kelley was ordered to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Requirements and Programs. On 4 February 1980, General Kelley was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed by the President as the first Commander of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, (renamed the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) in January 1983), a four service force with headquarters at MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL.
12. On 1 July 1981, General Kelley became the youngest Marine promoted to the rank of four-star General and assumed duties as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Staff. Two years later, he assumed duties as Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1983. Within months of becoming Commandant, General Kelley found himself leading the Marine Corps through the devastating aftermath of the barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon.
13. Retiring in 1987 after 37 years of distinguished service, General Kelley joined the public policy firm Cassidy & Associates as Vice Chairman. He also became Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission. He served under three presidents in this position and was responsible for the design and construction of the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial, as well as the legislation, construction, and dedication of the National World War II Memorial. In the private sector, he served on ten New York Stock Exchange boards, and twelve other private corporate boards, including J. F. Lehman and Company; London Life Reinsurance Company; Saul Centers, Inc.; OAO Technology Solutions, Inc.; and the Non-Proliferation Trust. He served as the Chairman of the Irish American Partnership and was a member of: the National Board of March of Dimes, Advisory Board of Governors for the Partnership for Public Service, the Advisory Board of the First Jobs Institute, Beta Gamma Sigma, the Alfalfa Club, and the Council on Foreign Relations. General Kelley’s personal decorations and awards include: the Defense Distinguished Service medal; the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; the Army Distinguished Service medal; the Air Force Distinguished Service medal; the Silver Star medal; Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and two gold stars in lieu of second and third awards; the Bronze Star medal with Combat "V" and a gold star in lieu of a second award; the Joint Service Commendation medal; Navy Commendation medal; and the Army Commendation medal. He is a Marine Corps Parachutist and U. S. Army Master Parachutist. General Kelley has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Villanova University, Norwich University, Webster University, Jacksonville University, and the United States Sports Academy. Other major awards include the American Academy of Achievement Golden Eagle award, Veterans of Foreign Wars National Armed Forces Award, Reserve Officers Association Minuteman Hall of Fame, National Geographic Society General O. A. Anderson Award, Young Republicans Freedom Award, United States Marshal’s American Star Award, Beta Gamma Sigma Award for Excellence in Management, the Union League Silver Medal Award, National Defense University Lyman L. Lemnitzer Award, Navy League Admiral John M. Will Award for the Armed Forces, Washington Times Freedom Award, Atlantic Legal Foundation’s Honoree for 1999, and the Saint Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal.
14. In the September 2014 issue of Armchair General, General Kelley summed up his legendary approach to leadership: “I believe the main trait of leaders is to have the milk of human kindness, to be warm and approachable. Then, they can understand those who serve under them, their problems, their families, and the like.”
15. Visitation: A visitation for General Kelley will occur at Joseph Gawler’s Sons funeral home at 5130 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20016 from 1400 to 1700 on 19 January 2020. The uniform for visitation is Service Alpha.
16. Memorial service: General Kelley’s service to his country and the Corps will be honored on 13 February at 0900 at the Memorial Chapel at 101 McNair Rd, Fort Myer, VA 22211. The uniform for the memorial service and funeral is Dress Blue Bravo.
17. Funeral and burial: General Kelley will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on 13 February following the memorial service at Memorial Chapel on Fort Myer. The Kelley family has asked in lieu of flowers to provide a donation To Villanova University in memory of General P. X. Kelley (Ret.) Class of 1950 or the Semper Fi Fund. Donations for Villanova University can be mailed to Development Villanova University 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085 or made online at https:(slash)(slash)www1.villanova.edu/villanova/advancement/
development/waystogive/giftscash.html. Donations for the Semper Fi Fund can be mailed to 825 College Boulevard, Suite 102, PMB 509, Oceanside, CA 92057.
18. Per the reference, all installations will half-mast the National Ensign on 13 February, the date of interment.
19. David H. Berger, General, U. S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.//