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Notable Graduates

Ben H. Fuller

Ben H. Fuller

Commandant of the Marine Corps

Class of 1889
  • Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1930-1934



Ben H. Fuller was born in Big Rapids, Michigan, on 27 February 1870. He graduated from the Naval Academy with the class of 1889 and, as did all graduates of his era, served two years on board ship before being commissioned.

During the Spanish-American War, Fuller commanded a Marine detachment in West Indies waters. He served in the Philippines during the early days of the insurrection. He commanded an artillery battery in the China Relief Expedition of 1900 and was commended for gallantry and courageous conduct. During World War I, he commanded the 2d Provisional Marine Brigade in Santo Domingo.

As a brigadier general, he was appointed Assistant to the Commandant in July 1928 under General Lejeune. He continued to serve in that capacity throughout the term of General Neville, acting as Commandant during the latter's illness.

In 1930, he succeeded Neville as Major General Commandant. His tenure was a period of general retrenchment and withdrawal of Marines from foreign countries. Beginning in 1933, these Marines composed the newly designated Fleet Marine Force, the principal operating force of the Marine Corps.

General Fuller retired in 1934. He died in Washington on 8 June 1937. He was buried in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery at Annapolis, beside the grave of his son, Captain Edward C. Fuller, of the 6th Marines, who was killed in World War I action at Belleau Wood.

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