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First Name: Charles

Last Name: Wilhelm

Birthplace: Edenton, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth: 26 August 1941

Rank: General

Years Served: 1964-2000
Charles E. Wilhelm

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Charles E. Wilhelm
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Charles E. Wilhelm was born on 26 August 1941 in Edenton, NC. Wilhelm graduated from Florida Southern College in 1964 with a B.S. in journalism. As a member of the FSC Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation. He also earned a M.S. degree in Management from Salve Regina College. He is a graduate of the Army Infantry Officer's Advance Course and the Naval War College, which in 1999 awarded him its Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award.

Military Career

Wilhelm held a variety of command positions. He commanded a Rifle Platoon and Company during two tours in Vietnam; served as a Company Commander in Headquarters Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division; was the Senior Advisor to a Vietnamese Army Battalion; Inspector-Instructor, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion; Deputy Provost Marshal, U.S. Naval Forces Philippines; and Commanded the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

His staff assignments include Assistant Battalion Operations Officer; Operations Officer and Executive Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. He served on the staffs of III Marine Amphibious Force; Logistics, Plans, and Policy Branch, Installations and Logistics Department, HQMC, and J-3, Headquarters, U.S. European Command.

In August 1988, while assigned as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, II Marine Expeditionary Force, he was promoted to Brigadier General and subsequently assigned as the Director of Operations, HQMC. In July 1990, he was selected to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Missions, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Wilhelm assumed duties as Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, in July 1992. He served as Commander Marine Forces Somalia from December 1992 to March 1993 as part of the U.S. led coalition in Operation Restore Hope. Wilhelm was confirmed for promotion to Lieutenant General and assigned duties as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA, on 15 July 1994. In August 1995, he was assigned as Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic/Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic/Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe/Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South/Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force/Commanding General, Marine Striking Force Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, NC.

On 25 September 1997, he was confirmed for promotion to the four-star rank of General and assigned duties as the Commander, U.S. Southern Command. He served in this command until October 2000.

General Wilhelm retired from the Marine Corps on 1 November 2000.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal w/ Valor Device
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ Valor Device
Army Commendation Medal w/ Valor Device
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 Service Star
Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 7 Service Stars
Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Humanitarian Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 1 Service Star
Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 2 Service Stars
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ 2 Gold Stars
Vietnam Staff Service Medal
Order of the Aztec Eagle
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)

In Retirement

After retiring from the Marine Corps, General Wilhelm was a researcher with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. General Wilhelm is Distinguished Military Fellow on the staff of the Center for Defense Information. In 2003, Wilhelm became Vice President at Battelle, responsible for homeland security issues.

Honoree ID: 430   Created by: MHOH




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