'New resident' at Barracks;Picture perfect return for former CMC

29 Mar 2004 | Gunnery Sergeant Kent Flora

One of the oldest buildings in the nation's capital recently received a new face but not one that you would expect—nor one that you would see from the street.

The Home of the Commandants received its new 'face' Mar. 23—that of the 32nd CMC, General James L. Jones.

Jones, now the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and the Commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM), returned to his previous stomping grounds to be present during the unveiling of the painting that bears his likeness and now hangs in the music room of the historical home, joining the likenesses of his 30 predecessors.

The general, a 37-year Marine veteran, is depicted in officer evening dress, cloak and cover in his left hand, gloves in his right, standing next to the fireplace mantle in the music room of the house.  The oil-on-canvas portrait, painted by Steven Polson, shows the quiet, poised confidence of the former commandant.

Like past commandants, Jones' portrait serves as an indelible image of his tenure, but unlike all the previous CMCs, Jones returned to view the unveiling from his current active duty assignment.  All other CMCs have retired after holding the Corps' top position.

The event, hosted by current CMC, General Michael W. Hagee, drew numerous officials and military officers that reflected on Jones' service as Commandant.

"The Home of the Commandants is a fitting backdrop for this historic occasion," said Hagee.  "It is especially significant to have the 32d Commandant of the Marine Corps present here with us for the unveiling of his portrait.  General Jones is an inspiration to all Marines and this magnificent painting reflects his rich legacy to the Corps."

In 1916, Maj. Gen. George Barnett, the 12th commandant, approached then-acting Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the idea of having portraits painted of all former Marine Corps commandants to document the successive changes in uniforms.  The idea was approved, and today portraits of all of the Commandants (except one) hang in the house also as a reminder of their steadfast leadership and faithful service to Corps and country.