Courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps
General Robert Magnus

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military


General Robert Magnus:
Assistant Commandant of the
United States Marine Corps

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

General Robert Magnus became the Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps on September 8, 2005.

He was born on April 28, 1947, in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a bookkeeper. The family moved to Levittown, a post World War II community on Long Island. It was here that Magnus went three times a week to a Conservative Hebrew school and had his bar mitzvah at the Hicksville Jewish Center.

Magnus graduated, in 1969, from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in European and Russian history. After graduation, he married his high school girl friend, Rose and they had two children, Elizabeth and David. He was also commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

After completing his basic training at Quantico, Virginia, in 1969, he reported to the Naval Air Training Command and, was designated as a Naval Aviator. His formal military operational assignments were Intelligence Officer, HMM-264; Operations Officer, H&MS-15 SAR Detachment, Task Force Delta, Nam Phong, Thailand; Training Officer SOES, MCAS Quantico; Aviation Safety Officer, MAG-26 and HMM-263; Weapons and Tactics Officer, MAG-26 and HMM-261, Operations Officer, MAG-29; Commanding Officer HMM-365; Commander Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area; and Deputy Commander, Marine Forces, Pacific.

In 1973, Magnus had two very satisfying experiences: He rescued a Laotian
Pilot, whose plane crashed in Thailand and attended a Passover service in Bangkok, which was hosted by the Israeli ambassador.

In October 1974, he left the Marine Corps to work on Wall Street. It turned out to be a short hiatus. He missed the Marine Corps and his fellow Marines and he returned to his former life.

In 1993, he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer College. His military education included Naval Aviator Training, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College.

His decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal. Legion of Merit and the Navy Achievement Medal.


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