Robert E. Cushman
Commandant of the Marine CorpsClass of 1935
- Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1972-1975
Robert E. Cushman, Jr., who was born 24 December 1914 in St. Paul, Minnesota, was commissioned a Marine Corps second lieutenant on his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1935. Early assignments included service with the 4th Marines in China, and as a commander of the Marine Detachment at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
He was commanding officer of the Marines on board the USS Pennsylvania when she was temporarily disabled at Pearl Harbor. In April 1942, he joined the 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, as executive officer of the 2d Battalion. Given its command early in 1943, he led the unit at Bougainville. On 21 July 1944, the battalion landed on Guam and subsequently joined in the fight for Fonte Hill for which he received the Navy Cross.
His last World War II combat was in 1945, on Iwo Jima, where he led his battalion against "Cushman's Pocket", a complex of enemy caves. After the war, his primary assignments were with the Central Intelligence Agency and as military assistant to Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
Returning to the United States from Vietnam in early 1969, he became Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and then was selected by President Nixon to be Commandant of the Marine Corps. During his tenure, he saw the last of the Marines leave Vietnam and the peacetime strength fall to 194,000 while still maintaining readiness to act in such emergencies as the Mayaguez rescue and the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon.
General Cushman retired 30 June 1975. He died 2 January 1985 at his home in Fort Washington, Maryland, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.