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First Name: George

Last Name: Crist

Birthplace: Hartford, CT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Hartford, CT
Middle Name: Brainard

Date of Birth: 23 January 1931

Rank: General

Years Served: 1952-1988
George Brainard Crist

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


George B. Crist
General, U.S. Marine Corps

George B. Crist was born on 23 January 1931, in Hartford, CT. His father was a career Navy officer. Crist graduated cum laude from Villanova University in 1952, where he was in the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps (NROTC).

Marine Corps Career

Crist was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952. While he was a Lieutenant, he served in all three active-duty Marine Divisions. During the Korean War, he served with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. He returned to the U.S. in 1955 and was promoted to Captain and ordered to Washington, DC, where he served as a White House Aide under President Eisenhower. In 1959, he graduated from the U.S. Army's Advanced Infantry Officers' School at Fort Benning, GA, and joined the newly formed U.S. Naval Mission to the Republic of Haiti.

By 1963, Crist had returned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he deployed with an infantry battalion to the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis. Later, as Assistant Division G-3, he completed Airborne Training at Fort Benning.

His first tour in Vietnam came in 1965. As an advisor to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, he participated in combat operations throughout the Republic.

In 1966, Crist became Aide-de-Camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While in that assignment he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

Following his graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1968, he Commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines at Camp Lejeune, NC. In 1971, he completed the Air War College as a Distinguished Graduate, concurrently receiving a Master's degree in Political Science from Auburn University. The next year he returned to the Far East, serving first as a Battalion Commander in the 3rd Marine Division and then with the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade, assisting in the defense of South Vietnam during the 1972 North Vietnamese offensive.

When he returned to the U.S, he spent three years at Headquarters Marine Corps in Plans and Programs. While in Washington, he was promoted to Colonel. In the summer of 1975, Crist was ordered to Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Atlantic, Norfolk, VA, where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Chief of Staff, and following his promotion to Brigadier General, as Deputy Commander.

In 1978, he was transferred to Europe as the Deputy Director of Operations (J-3), U.S. European Command, where he was actively involved in a series of crisis actions ranging from Iran to Africa. Crist was promoted to Major General in 1980 and returned to the U.S. as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs. This was followed two years later by a tour with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the Vice Director, Joint Staff.

He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1984 and served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics and Quartermaster General and then as Chief of Staff, HQMC.

Crist was promoted to General in November 1985 and, on 27 November 1985, he assumed command of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, FL. At CENTCOM, he helped to run Operation Earnest Will, the escort of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers; Operation Prime Chance, the secret actions against Iranian naval forces; and Operation Praying Mantis, the 18 April 1988 retaliation for the Iranian mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58).

General Crist retired from active duty in December 1988 after more than 36 years of service.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 Award Star
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with Combat Valor Device
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal w/ 1 Award Star
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Korean Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Silver & Bronze Stars
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal


Parachutist Badge (Army)
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge


Crist received an honorary doctorate from Villanova and was honored with Villanova's Alumni Medallion in 1981.

In Retirement and Personal Info

General Crist is married to the former Barbara Clay and they have two sons, William and David.

Following retirement, Crist became a military consultant for CBS news in 1990, appearing on national television and radio throughout the Gulf War and during subsequent crises in Africa and the Middle East.

The general and his wife Barbara moved to Beaufort, SC, in 1990 after they restored an old house in the Historic District.

Honoree ID: 381   Created by: MHOH




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