Saturday, May 12, 2007

James Terry Conway

34th Commandant of the Marine Corps (2006 - present)

Place of birth Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Allegiance USMC
Years of service 1970 - present
Rank General
Commands 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines
The Basic School
1st Marine Division
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Battles/wars Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* Operation Vigilant Resolve
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit

James Conway is a General in the United States Marine Corps. On November 13, 2006, General Conway became the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Conway was previously the Director of Operations (J-3) on the Joint Staff. Conway is most well known as the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from 2002 through 2004 taking part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and also Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah, Iraq.

James Conway was born in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, Missouri and then attended Southeast Missouri State University where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, graduating in 1969. He was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1970. His first assignment was command of a rifle platoon with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines out of Camp Pendleton. He also served as the Battalion's 106mm recoilless rifle platoon commander. Later he served as Marine Executive Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk.

After graduating with honors from career-level officer school, Conway commanded two companies in the 2nd Marine Regiment's Operations and Security section, later commanding two companies at Marine Basic School. He then went on to serve as operations officer for the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, with sea duty in the western Pacific and in contingency operations off Beirut, Lebanon.

Returning to the U.S., Conway was assigned as Senior Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving two years in that capacity. After graduating from top-level officer training, again with honors, he took command of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, and commanded the Battalion Landing Team in its eight-month deployment to Southwest Asia during Desert Storm.

After the war he was promoted to colonel, and assigned command of The Basic School. Promoted to Brigadier General in December 1995, he again was assigned to the JCS. After being promoted to Major General, he served as commander of the 1st Marine Division and as Deputy Commanding General of Marine Forces Central. He was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) on November 16, 2002. He commanded I MEF during two combat tours in Iraq. General Conway had 60,000 troops under his command, comprised of U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, and British forces. In the book The Iraq War, Conway was described as, "big, buff, well read and well educated.....he represented all that was best about the new United States Marine Corps, which General Al Gray as the commandant had set up.

Lt. Gen. Conway responding to questions at a Pentagon briefing, June 2006.In a press interview on May 30, 2003, General Conway was questioned about the failure at that point to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He replied, in part:

"It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons...It's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there....What the regime was intending to do in terms of its use of the weapons, we thought we understood—or we certainly had our best guess, our most dangerous, our most likely courses of action that the intelligence folks were giving us. We were simply wrong. But whether or not we're wrong at the national level, I think, still very much remains to be seen."

On June 13, 2006, LtGen Conway was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps.[5]; the nomination was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2006.

Conway is sworn in by Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on November 13, 2006.On November 13, 2006, LtGen Conway was promoted to his current rank at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C. (8th and I) and became General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Conway has been decorated for service, to include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with one bronze oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with two gold award stars), Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and Combat Action Ribbon. He is married to the former Annette Drury and has three children.