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Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Nickname Fighting Joe[1]
Born September 5, 1955(1955-09-05) (age 67)
Place of birth Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1977–present
Rank General
Commands held 2nd Battalion 6th Marines
5th Marine Regiment
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Forces Central Command
International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)
Battles/wars Iraq War
Afghanistan War
Awards Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit w/ V

Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (born September 5, 1955) is a four-star general in the United States Marine Corps and current commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A).[2] Prior to that, served as the 32nd Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.[3] He has commanded several units, and is noted for leading the 5th Marine Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Early years & education

Dunford was born in Warren, Michigan, in 1955,[4] and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College High School in 1973 and from Saint Michael's College in June 1977. He earned his commission the month of his college graduation. He is a graduate of the United States Army War College, Ranger School and the Amphibious Warfare School. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Government from Georgetown University and a second Master of Arts in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Marine Corps career

In 1978, Dunford served in the 1st Marine Division as a platoon and company commander in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines and a company commander in 1st Battalion 9th Marines until 1981. He served as the aide to the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force for a year, then transferred to the Officer Assignment Branch at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.. He reported to the 2nd Marine Division in June 1985 and commanded L Company of 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. In 1987, he was reassigned to 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company as the Operations, Plans, and Training Officer.

From 1988-1991, Dunford was assigned as the Marine Officer Instructor at the College of the Holy Cross and Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In 1992, he was assigned to HQMC as a member of the Commandant’s staff group and subsequently as the Senior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1995, he joined the 6th Marine Regiment as the executive officer, then went on to command 2nd Battalion 6th Marines from 1996 until 1998. In 1999, Dunford was the executive assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under both Generals Joseph Ralston and Richard Myers) and as Chief, Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J-5) until 2001. He next served in the 1st Marine Division where he was assigned to command the 5th Marine Regiment, then as the division's chief of staff and assistant commander. During this time, he served 22 months in Iraq.[5] During his command of RCT-5 in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he earned the nickname "Fighting Joe" under James Mattis.[6]

From 2005-2007, Dunford returned to Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as the Director of the Operations Division of the Plans, Policies and Operations staff, and eventually became the Vice Director for Operations (J-3) at the Joint Staff in 2008.[7] In December 2007, Dunford was nominated for promotion to the rank of major general.[8] In February, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that President George W. Bush had nominated Dunford for promotion to lieutenant general and appointment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, to succeed LtGen Richard F. Natonski.[8] In April 2008, his appointment to the permanent rank of major general was confirmed by the United States Senate, and simultaneously appointed in the grade of lieutenant general for his new assignment.

Dunford served a dual role in his assignment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations:[9]

  • Is the Operations Deputy (OpsDep) for the Commandant on all Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) matters. Serves as the focal point for the interface between the Marine Corps (as one of the four Services) and the joint and combined activities of the JCS and the unified Commanders-in-Chief, and various allied and other foreign Defense agencies.
  • Is responsible for coordinating the development and execution of service plans and policies related to the structure, deployment, and employment of Marine Corps forces in general.

On May 1, 2009, the Pentagon announced that President Barack Obama had appointed Dunford to serve as the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Central Command.[10]

Less than a year into that assignment, Dunford was nominated by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to succeed James F. Amos as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, who had been nominated to succeed James Conway as Commandant.[11][12] President Obama approved his promotion and Dunford assumed the duties and new rank on 23 October 2010.[3]

On October 10, 2012, General Dunford was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.[13] After an investigation into inappropriate communications from the then-current commander in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen was opened, Secretary Panetta requested that General Dunford's nomination be acted on promptly.[14]

On February 10, 2013, General Dunford assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from General Allen,[15] who had since been cleared in the Pentagon's investigation involving his e-mails in the Petraeus scandal.[16]


Dunford is the recipient of the following awards:

United States Navy Parachutist Badge.png Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Defense Superior Service Medal w/ 1 oak leaf cluster Legion of Merit w/ valor device Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 3 award stars Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 2 service stars National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 2 service stars Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 5 service stars

He holds rifle expert (3rd award) and pistol sharpshooter marksmanship badges.

See also


  1. Mohammad Manzarpour (21 February 2013). "Joseph Dunford: "Fighting Joe" to lead US out of Afghanistan". BBC. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  2. International Security Assistance Force, "Leadership: General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr." 10 February 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 ALMAR 040/10
  5. Chaisson, Stephanie (18 June 2007). "Stars and Stripes - Pride in the flag - Quincy continues Flag Day tradition". The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, MA. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  6. North, Oliver; Mussler, Joe (2003). War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jenkins, Griff. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing and Fox News. ISBN 0895260379. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  7. "Brigadier General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Vice Director for Operations, J-3". Joint Staff General/Flag Officers. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Retrieved 7 January 2009. [dead link]
  8. 8.0 8.1 Johnson, Kimberly (24 February 2008). "3 tapped for stars". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 8 January 2009. [dead link]
  9. "Plans, Policies, and Operations". HQMC, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  10. DefenseLink General Officer Announcements
  11. "Gates pegs Amos to lead Marine Corps". United Press International. June 15, 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  12. Cavas, Christopher P. (June 15, 2010). "Amos expected to be named commandant". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  13. Chandrasekaran, Rijev. "In Afghanistan, Marine Gen. Dunford is expected to take command of allied forces". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  14. "David Petraeus CIA scandal engulfs US Gen John Allen". BBC News. 13 November 2012 Last updated at 05:26 ET. 
  15. International Security Assistance Force, "Leadership: General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr."|accessdate=10 February 2013
  16. Gen. John R. Allen Exhonerated Washington Post 23 January 2013

External links

his wife name is Maria Joseph ...This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.

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