General James T. Conway

Oct 8, 2012

It seems like Almost Yesterday that James T. Conway was the 34th Commandant of the United States Martine Corp and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On October 22, 2010, General Conway turned over his position to James F. Amos, and received his third Distinguished Service Medal from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

General Conway was born and raised in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas and graduated from Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, Missouri. He enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, from which he graduated in 1969 with a degree in Psychology and membership in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

While at Southeast, Conway met Annette Drury from Ste. Genevieve, and from that time their lives have been closely associated with the U.S. Marine Corps. They have three children. Their two sons are officers in the Corps, and their daughter is married to a Marine Corps officer and helicopter pilot.

General Conway’s career as a Marine officer covers forty years, from his commission in 1970 to his role as Commandant and Four-Star General.

In their book on the Iraq War, authors Murray and Scales describe Conway as “big, bluff, well read, and well educated.” The authors identify Conway as representing “all that was best about the new United States Marine Corps.” British officers identified him “as a character that John Wayne could have played” and they valued “the moral support and friendship he offered their officers and soldiers alike.”

He commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Force during two combat tours in Iraq, with 60,000 troops under his command. This young man from Southeast Missouri is one of America’s greatest military leaders.