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First Name: James

Last Name: Cartwright

Birthplace: Rockford, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth: 22 September 1949

Rank: General

Years Served: 1971-2011
James E. Cartwright


James E. "Hoss" Cartwright
General, U.S. Marine Corps

James E. Cartwright was born on 22 September 1949 in Rockford, IL. He attended West High School and participated in the JROTC program. He then went on to the University of Iowa where he graduated in 1971 with a degree in Pre-medicine.

Cartwright was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1971. He attended Naval Flight Officer training and graduated in April 1973. He attended Naval Aviator training and graduated in January 1977. He has operational assignments as an Naval Flight Officer in the F-4, and as a pilot in the F-4, OA-4, and F/A-18. His callsign comes from the fictional character Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright, the middle brother on the classic 1960s TV show Bonanza, who was played by actor Dan Blocker.

His operational assignments include: Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (2000-02); Deputy Commanding General Marine Forces Atlantic (1999-00); Commander Marine Aircraft Group 31 (1994-96); Commander Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (1992); Fixed Wing Operations Marine Aircraft Group 24 (1991); Commander Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (1989-90); Administration Officer and Officer-In-Charge Deployed Carrier Operations VMFAT-101 (1983-85); Aircraft Maintenance Officer VMFA-235 (1979-82); Line Division Officer VMFA-333 USS Nimitz (1975-77); and Embarkation OIC VMFA-251 & 232 (1973-75).

Staff assignments include: Director for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (2002-04); Directorate for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (1996-99); Deputy Aviation Plans, Policy, and Budgets Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (1993-94); Assistant Program Manager for Engineering, F/A-18 Naval Air Systems Command (1986-89).

Cartwright was named the Outstanding Carrier Aviator by the Association of Naval Aviation in 1983. He graduated with distinction from the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB 1986, and received his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, RI, in 1991. In 2008, he was honored with Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. He was selected for and completed a fellowship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.

From 9 July - 1 September 2004, Lieutenant General Cartwright served as Acting Commander, U.S. Strategic Command while awaiting official assumption of office and promotion as Strategic Command's new commander. On 1 September 2004, Cartwright was officially sworn in as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command. He was promoted to General on the same day.

On 8 June 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Cartwright to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to replace retiring Admiral Edmund Giambastiani; President George W. Bush formally announced the nomination, with that of Admiral Michael Mullen to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on 28 June 2007.

Senator John Warner of Virginia, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated, "General Cartwright has an extraordinary grasp and understanding of the global posture that America must maintain in this era of new and ever-changing threats."

Cartwright's nomination was confirmed by the full Senate on 3 August 2007. Due to the retirement of Admiral Giambastiani on 27 July 2007, Cartwright assumed the position immediately upon confirmation. He was sworn in on 31 August 2007 as the 8th Vice Chairman. On 18 March 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that Cartwright had been nominated for a second term as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was confirmed by the Senate on 31 July 2009.

The military investigated Cartwright in 2009 and 2010 for possible misconduct involving a female Marine captain, and investigators recommended administrative action for "failure to discipline a subordinate" and "fostering an unduly familiar relationship." Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, however, declined to implement the recommendations. "[Q]uestions about how he oversaw his staff," however, were mentioned as a reason Cartwright had fallen out as favored candidate of President Obama for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2011. Army Chief General Martin Dempsey was named to the post. "Some Republicans [had] ... quietly criticized Gen. Cartwright, calling him 'Obama's general,'" one report at the time also said.

General Cartwright current serves as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit w/ 1 Award Star
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 Award Star
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 2 Service Stars
National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 5 Service Stars


Naval Aviator Badge
Naval Flight Officer Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
His callsign 'Hoss' comes from the fictional character Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright, the middle brother on the classic 1960s TV show Bonanza, who was played by actor Dan Blocker.

Honoree ID: 377   Created by: MHOH




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