A Confirmed Leader
Southeast Alum Leads Marine Corps
Lt. General James T. Conway, a 1969 Southeast graduate, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006, to become the 34th commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Conway was nominated for the post by President George W. Bush, received promotion to the rank of general and he received his fourth star.
Conway, who completed two tours of duty in Iraq as the commander of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, most recently served as the director of operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
Conway is in command of more than 175,000 active Marines.
His appointment tops an impressive resume which has roots on the Southeast campus.
General Conway graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. While at Southeast, he served as president of both Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and the Interfraternity Council.
After graduating from Southeast, Conway served as an infantry officer with the 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, Camp Pendleton, as a rifle platoon commander and as the Battalion’s 106mm recoilless-rifle platoon commander. In 1972, he was reassigned as executive officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). He served at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego as a series and company commander in the Recruit Training Regiment, as the aide to the commanding general, and as director, Sea School. Conway has also served as senior aide to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and deputy director of Operations J-3 for Combating Terrorism. In 1998, he was appointed the president of the Marine Corps University at Quantico, Va. More recently, Conway served as the commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.
Conway graduated with honors from The Basic School, the U.S. Army Infantry Officers’ Advanced Course, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Air War College.
His personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold stars in lieu of second and third awards, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Conway’s family has significant Marine Corps ties. He is married to Annette (Drury) ‘70, an adviser for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to injured Marines, sailors and their families, and the couple has three children. Sons, Brandon and Scott, are both Marines with combat tours in Iraq who have earned Bronze Star medals, and daughter, Samantha, is married to a Marine.