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Gen. Robert Magnus, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, closes his eyes as he enjoys a final concert by the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps at his retirement ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, July 17.

Photo by Cpl. John J. Parry

Former Assistant Commandant retires, bids farewell

17 Jul 2008 | Cpl. John J. Parry

After more than 39 years of faithful service, Gen. Robert Magnus, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, with his wife Rose at his side, retired from active-duty military service here, July 17.

            The ceremony, which began on a late sunny morning, was attended by the Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Col. Harvey C. “Barney” Barnum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs, as well as retired Gen. James Jones and retired Gen. Michael Hagee, the 32nd and 33rd Commandants of the Corps respectively. 

            The reviewing official for the ceremony, Gen. James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps, remarked that the Marine Corps was better for the years Magnus served.

            “Bob was especially effective with a job filled with difficult personalities, innovative thinking, compassion and strong moral leadership,” Conway added. “That’s how he became assistant commandant. Three years ago he assumed that duty, and I’ll tell you we are eternally grateful he and Rose decided to stay on with us for that period.”

            The ceremony started with a concert performed by “The Commandant’s Own,” United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, with a backdrop of four marching platoons and the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard.

            The Parade Staff, led by Maj. John Barclay, was responsible for commands to evoke the cohesive execution of drill movements and facilitating the proper sequence of the parade.

            Magnus received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for his years of superior service to the U.S. military.

            “It is said in the Old Testament there were days when giants walked the earth,” Magnus humbly remarked. “Today is one of those days. All of my days in uniform have been those days. The giants who walk the earth are the men and women in uniform who serve the United States of America.”

            Upon graduation from the University of Virginia in 1969, Magnus was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing the Basic School in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., he reported to Naval Air Training Command, where he was designated a naval aviator.

            Magnus then served in many operational and staff billets until advancement to the rank of general on Nov. 1, 2005, and was assigned as assistant commandant shortly after.

            Magnus was succeeded by Gen. James Amos, 31st ACMC, who took over the billet, July 2.

            “I will be forever grateful for being able to wear the uniform they wear and having been one of them from seamen recruit to four-star general,” said Magnus, his final words on active duty. “I’ll paraphrase Sgt. Maj. Brad Kasal.  My heroes will be United States Marines.  God bless you all, Semper Fidelis!”