Wallace M. Greene
Commandant of the Marine CorpsClass of 1930
- Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1964-1967
Wallace M. Greene, Jr., was born 27 December 1907 in Waterbury, Vermont. After a year at the University of Vermont, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in June 1930.
As a second lieutenant, he served at various posts and stations in the United States and two years on board the USS Tennessee.
He joined the 4th Marines in China in 1937. Returning to the States in 1939, he attended the Junior Course at Quantico, and subsequently served with the 1st Marine Division at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In 1941, he observed commando training in Britain, and 1943, took part in the planning and execution of the invasion of the Marshall Islands. In 1944, he was G-3, 2d Marine Division, for the Saipan and Tinian operations.
Staff Duty followed at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; and Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. After graduation from the National War College in 1953, he became Special Assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Security Affairs.
In 1955, he served as Assistant Division Commander, 2d Marine Division, and in 1956 became Commanding General of the Recruit Training Command, Parris Island, which was followed by command of Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune.
Returning to Headquarters in 1958, he became G-3, then Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans. In January 1960, he was promoted to lieutenant general and named Chief of Staff. On 1 January 1964, he was promoted to full general and became Commandant of the Marine Corps.
In 1964, there were fewer than a thousand Marines in Vietnam. By 1968, the III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam numbered more than 100,000 Marines and sailors.
General Greene retired on 31 December 1967 and made his residence in Northern Virginia. He died 8 March 2003 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.