Robert Everton Cushman, Jr.
Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1935
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945)• Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
Robert Everton Cushman, Jr.
Robert Everton Cushman, Jr. was born on 24 December 1914, in St. Paul, MN. He attended Central High School and, at sixteen, before graduating, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Cushman graduated 10th in his class of 442 from the Academy in 1935.
He was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant on 6 June 1935. Cushman completed the Basic School for Marine officers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, then served briefly at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, CA. In February 1936, he arrived in Shanghai, China, and served as a Platoon Commander with the 4th Marines and later the 2nd Marine Brigade. On his return to the U.S. in March 1938, he served at naval shipyards in Brooklyn, New York, and Portsmouth, VA. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in August 1938.
In April 1939, Cushman was assigned to the Marine Detachment at the New York World's Fair, and was subsequently stationed at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, VA. He was promoted to Captain in March 1941.
World War II
In June 1941, Cushman reported aboard USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) in San Diego, enroute to Pearl Harbor, as Commanding Officer of the ship's Marine Detachment. He was serving in this capacity when the Japanese attacked the ship and other naval installations at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Upon his transfer from the Pennsylvania, he joined the 9th Marine Regiment at San Diego as a Battalion Executive Officer in May 1942 and was promoted to M that same month.
Major Cushman hiked from San Diego to Camp Pendleton with his unit in September 1942, and embarked for the Pacific Area in January 1943. That month, Cushman was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, and in May 1943 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. During the two years he held that post, he led his Battalion repeatedly into combat on Bougainville; during the Battle of Guam; and during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where two of his companies were nearly wiped out (9 survivors - 3 from F Co, and 9 from E Co) when they were trapped in a defilade later called "Cushman's Pocket."
Post-World War II
Upon his return to the U.S. in May 1945, Cushman was stationed at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, for three years. During that period he completed the Senior School, served as an instructor in the Command and Staff School, and during the latter two years was Supervisory Instructor, Amphibious Warfare School. In June 1948, he was named Head of the Amphibious Warfare Branch, Office of Naval Research, Navy Department in Washington. From October 1949 until May 1951, he served on the staff of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While there, he was promoted to Colonel in May 1950.
In June 1951, Colonel Cushman joined the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleet, in London, serving as Amphibious Plans Officer until June 1953. Following his return to the U.S., he was transferred to Norfolk, VA, where he served as a member of the faculty of the Armed Forces Staff College, and in July 1954 became Director of the Plans and Operations Division there. In July 1956, he assumed command of the 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, NC.
Assigned to Washington in February 1957, he served four years on the staff of then-Vice President Richard Nixon as Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. While serving in this capacity he was promoted to Brigadier General in July 1958.
Following his departure from Washington, Cushman became Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division, on Okinawa in March 1961. He was promoted to Major General in August 1961, and in September assumed command of the Division.
In July 1962, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) in Washington where he was assigned as both Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Plans, Operations and Training), in which capacities he served until 1 January 1964. From that date until June 1964, he served only as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3.
From June 1964 until March 1967, Major General Cushman served in the dual capacity of Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA, and Commanding General, 4th Marine Division Headquarters Nucleus. In June 1966, he formed the 5th Marine Division, and additionally, he served as its Commanding General at Camp Pendleton until November 1966.
Major General Cushman was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in April 1967 and was assigned as the Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force. Upon assuming duty as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, the largest combined combat unit ever led by a Marine, he was promoted to Lieutenant General in June 1967.
On 6 March 1969, while serving in Vietnam, Cushman was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to be the Deputy Director of the CIA and the Senate confirmed his nomination on 21 April 1969. Upon his return to the U.S., he served briefly as Director of Personnel/Deputy Chief of Staff (Manpower) at HQMC. Cushman subsequently served as Deputy Director of the CIA from April 1969 through December 1971.
Cushman was promoted to General and became the 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 January 1972. During General Cushman's 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 Mayagüez incident and the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon.
Medals and Awards
Death and Burial
General Robert Everton Cushman, Jr. died on 2 January 1985 at his home in Fort Washington, MD. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 2, Lot 4969-E-1.
|Honoree ID: 382||Created by: MHOH|