Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Notable Graduates

George Barnett

George Barnett

Commandant of the Marine Corps

Class of 1881
  • Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1914-1920



George Barnett was born on 9 December 1859 in Lancaster, Wisconsin. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1881 with the first academy class to provide officers to the Corps. After two years at sea as a cadet midshipman, Barnett was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Until 1902, he served both at sea and ashore in the customary assignments and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In September 1902, he received his first expeditionary command, a battalion charged with keeping the Panama railroad open during a Panamanian bid for freedom from Colombia. During the succeeding years, Barnett commanded expeditionary units in the Philippines and Cuba.

He was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps on 25 February 1914, in time to send Marine forces to help occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico, that year, to settle domestic disturbances in Haiti in 1915, and in the Dominican Republic in 1916. As Commandant, Barnett commanded the Marine Corps during its rapid expansion in the First World War and successfully pressed to ensure that a Marine regiment was on board the first convoy to leave for France, living up to the Corps' tradition of being the "first to fight."

General Barnett retired from the Marine Corps on 9 December 1923. He died in Washington, D.C., on 27 April 1930 and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a section reserved for members of the Naval Academy Class of 1881.

go to Top