James L. Jones


James L. Jones : biography

December 19, 1943 –

Returning to the United States, he was advanced to the rank of major general in July 1994 and was assigned as commanding general, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Forces Atlantic, MCB Camp Lejeune. Jones next served as director, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, during 1996, then as the deputy chief of staff for plans, policies, and operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. He was advanced to lieutenant general on July 18, 1996. His next assignment was as the military assistant to the Secretary of Defense.


On April 21, 1999, he was nominated for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as the 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps. He was promoted to general on June 30, 1999, and assumed the post on July 1, 1999. He served as commandant until January 2003, turning over the reins to General Michael Hagee.

Among other innovations during his career as Marine Corps commandant, Jones oversaw the Marine Corps’ development of MARPAT camouflage uniforms, and the adoption of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). These replaced M81 Woodland uniforms and the LINE combat system, respectively.


Jones assumed duties as the commander of U.S. European Command on January 16, 2003, and supreme allied commander Europe the following day. He was the first Marine Corps general to serve as SACEUR/EUCOM commander.

The Marine Corps had only recently begun to take on a larger share of high-level assignments in the Department of Defense. As of December 2006, Jones was one of five serving Marine Corps four-star general officers who outranked the current commandant of the Marine Corps (General James T. Conway) in terms of seniority and time in grade — the others being Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace; former commandant Michael Hagee, commander of U.S. Strategic Command James E. Cartwright, and Assistant Commandant Robert Magnus.

As SACEUR, Jones led the Allied Command Operations (ACO), comprising NATO’s military forces in Europe, from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium, Jones relinquished command as SACEUR on December 7, 2006, and was succeeded by U.S. Army Gen. John Craddock.

Jones was reported to have declined an opportunity to succeed Gen. John P. Abizaid as commander of U.S. Central Command, and stepped down as SACEUR on December 4, 2006. He retired from the Marine Corps on February 1, 2007.

Awards and decorations

Jones’ personal decorations include (Foreign and non-U.S. personal and unit decorations are in order of precedence based on military guidelines and award date):

number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Silver Star ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=4|type=award-star|ribbon=Legion of Merit ribbon.svg|width=106}} other_device=v|ribbon=Bronze Star ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Combat Action Ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=US Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png|width=106}} number=2|type=oak|ribbon=Joint Meritorious Unit Award-3d.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=4|type=service-star|ribbon=Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=2|type=service-star|ribbon=National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=AFEMRib.svg|width=106}} number=4|type=service-star|ribbon=Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=1|type=service-star|ribbon=Southwest Asia Service ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Armed Forces Service Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Humanitarian Service ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=7|type=service-star|ribbon=Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=1|type=service-star|ribbon=Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg|width=106}} number=1|type=service-star|other_device=|ribbon=Vietnam gallantry cross-3d.svg|width=106}}
number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=National Order of Merit Officer Ribbon.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=MSC ribbon-military.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Commendatore BAR.svg|width=106}}
number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=EST_Order_of_the_Cross_of_the_Eagle_1st_Class_BAR.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=LTU Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas – Commander’s Grand Cross BAR.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=PRT Military Order of Aviz – Grand Cross BAR.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 6 GrVK Stern Band.svg|width=106}}
number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=service-star|ribbon=Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Us kw-kwlib rib.png|width=106}}