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First Name: Keith

Last Name: McCutcheon

Birthplace: East Liverpool, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Barr

Date of Birth: 10 August 1915

Date of Death: 13 July 1971

Rank: General

Years Served: 1937-1971
Keith Barr McCutcheon

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Keith Barr McCutcheon
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Keith Barr McCutcheon was born on 10 August 1915 in East Liverpool, OH. He graduated from East Liverpool High School and received his B.S. degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1937. An honor graduate of the schools' ROTC unit, he resigned a U.S. Army Reserve commission to accept appointment as a U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant on 1 July 1937.

Military Career

McCutcheon's first assignment upon completion of Basic School was with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5). In 1940, he completed flight training, was designated a Naval Aviator, and subsequently served with a Marine Observation Squadron aboard the aircraft carriers USSĀ Ranger (CV-4), USSĀ Wasp (CV-7), and USS Yorktown. He later completed aeronautical engineering courses at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his Master's degree in 1944.

World War II

In September 1944, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he departed for the Pacific area. He served as Operations Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 24 at Bougainville, and at Luzon and Mindanao in the Philippine Islands. Additionally, he saw duty as Operations Officer of Marine Aircraft Groups, Dagupan on Luzon and, later, Zamboanga, on Mindanao.

In November 1945, he returned to the U.S. to serve as an instructor in the Aviation Section, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. From October 1946 until December 1949, he was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, in Washington, DC. He served in the Guided Missiles (then Pilotless Aircraft) Division of the Design and Engineering Group, and was Branch Chief at various times of the Liaison, Experimental Projects, and Target Drone branches. He also performed additional duty in 1947 as Senior Marine Corps Aide to the White House.


Marine Helicopter Squadron One

Lieutenant Colonel McCutcheon was transferred to Norfolk in January 1950 and completed the course at the Armed Forces Staff College in June 1950. He was then ordered to Quantico for duty as Commanding Officer of Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-One), the Corps' only helicopter squadron at that time. During the next 18 months, HMX-One served as a focal point for the expansion of the Marine Corps Helicopter program. He was promoted to Colonel in June 1951.

Korean War

In December 1951, Colonel McCutcheon took command of Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron 161 in Korea. In October 1952, he reported to Headquarters, United States European Command, in Frankfurt, Germany, where he served successively as Operations Officer, Assistant Chief, and later Chief, Operations Branch, J-3 Division until May 1954.

Colonel McCutcheon assumed duties in June 1954 as Chief, Air Section, Marine Corps Equipment Board, Quantico. In August 1957, he reported as Commanding Officer, MAG-26, at New River, NC. He commanded the helicopter group until June 1959, when he was detached to enter the National War College in Washington.


Following graduation, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps in July 1960 as Assistant Director of Aviation, becoming Director of Aviation in September 1961. In March 1962, he was promoted to Brigadier General and assumed command of the Hawaii-based 1st Marine Brigade. Remaining in Hawaii, General McCutcheon joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, in January 1963 as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations

Vietnam War

Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in June 1965, General McCutcheon served as Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and as Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force. In January 1966, he was promoted to Major General while serving in Vietnam.

Upon his return to the U.S. in June 1966, General McCutcheon served almost four years as Deputy Chief of Staff (Air), at Headquarters Marine Corps.


Nominated for promotion to Lieutenant General, his nomination was approved by President Nixon on 5 February 1970, and confirmed by the Senate on 24 February 1970. After his promotion to that rank on 26 February 1970, he returned to the Republic of Vietnam for duty as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force.

Promotion to General and Retirement

McCutcheon was nominated for his fourth star and appointed Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1970 by President Nixon. He was unable to assume the post because of ill health. However, because of his distinguished career as a Marine, Congress passed special legislation which provided that he be placed on the retired list with the rank of General.

On 1 July 1971, General McCutcheon received his fourth star and was placed on the retired list.

Medals and Awards

Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ 2 Award Stars
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit w/ Valor Device and 2 Award Stars
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal w/ 10 Award Stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 3 Service Stars
American Defense Service Medal w/ Base Clasp
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal w/ Europe Clasp
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Korean Service Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 4 Service Stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal
Philippines Presidential Unit Citation
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal


Naval Aviator Badge

Death and Burial

General Keith Barr McCutcheon died of cancer on 13 July 1971, at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 5.

Honoree ID: 406   Created by: MHOH




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