Behind the Cover: A look at Gen. James Amos, your next CMC



Beginning this week, Rattle Rattle will present “Behind the Cover,” a brief look at what’s inside the print edition of Marine Corps Times.

We start that feature today with a rather obvious cover story on newsstands this week: A look at your next Marine Corps commandant.

As first reported by Marine Corps Times sister publication Defense News, Gen. James Amos, the current assistant commandant, has been selected by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to lead the Marine Corps after Gen. James Conway retires this fall. The Associated Press reported that he interviewed with President Barack Obama for the job on Thursday.

James Amos, 33 years ago. (Photo courtesy the University of Idaho)

James Amos, 33 years ago. (Photo courtesy the University of Idaho)

That’s common knowledge at this point, but we’ve taken it a step farther, diving into the rationale for selecting what will be the first ever aviator to lead the Marine Corps. We also explore the general’s rise through the Corps and his leadership style, speaking with numerous sources who have worked with him while he served as a general officer.

One fun fact I’ll share here: Amos graduated from the University of Idaho in 1970.

That’s his photo in the university’s 1967 yearbook to the left.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. Louis DeCuir on

    I served overseas under Gen. Amos a few years ago. He’s the finest leader I’ve ever known, and will be a great CMC.

  2. I strongly disagree with Amos being a great CMC…along with the majority of the Corps. To Louis DeCuir, it is ashame you didn’t have a true leader to look up too, because Amos is far from the Finest Leader, he is a kiss — to the Democrats, he has never lead the foot soldiers – which is what the majority of the Marines are in the Corps. How can Gates and Obama go against over 200 years of tradition…is it because they know Amos will do everything he is told to do…it will help him get an appointment like Jim Jones after he retires…if the Democrats are in office – HA HA! Let’s face it they need to make Amos Commandant so they can get thier way…they didn’t with Conway, and they wouldn’t with the true Marine Leaders of our country today…Mattis, Dunford and Allen…they are the true leaders serving in the USMC today…Gates and Obama are civilian, and polititions, with no knowledge about running a war. If the senate committee who reviews the nomination goes back into Amos’s past, and ask the right people the right questions, they will find he has made many mistakes…???

  3. Mary White presumes to know Secretary Gates’ and President Obama’s thinking behind the choice of General Amos and what post-retirement Amos’ plans are, but this is obviously preposterous. The claim that he has never led foot soldiers is untrue, as well. Amos is a former Commanding General of II MEF. I personally doubt that he was chosen for any reason other than that he is a good Marine.

  4. I am surprised and disappointed that Gen. James Amos wants to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” a part of the military. It shows that he really doesn’t know today’s military. Every other civilized country has not had such a degrading law. The United States of America has always promoted equality, well, except for the Indians, the Mexicans, Women, blacks. I guess we are a great country in name only, every minority has had to fight long battles to really become equal. Every branch of our military have had gays serving right along side non-gays. It has NEVER EVER been a problem, until it was brought up right before President Bill Clinton’s election, and even he didn’t know what to do with or about it at the time. Since then our military has thrown tens of thousands of educated, trained and skilled troops out because of this crazy and stupid law. How many years more worth of inventigations do we have to go through before we decide it was a stupid law to begin with? Todays young military and those coming in tomorrow, have had this whole world opened up to them, some of their best friends, some of their fathers, some of their uncles, some of their heroes have turned out to be gay. THEY DON’T CARE. All they want is someone to watch their back. Gays, unlike straight child molesters, do not try to convert friends or co-workers or co-military in to becoming gay. It can’t be done, and they know it, so they just don’t bother. Whether you like it or not, gays do not chose to be gay, any more than straights choose to be straight. You CAN NOT make someone who is straight, gay, AND you can not make someone who is gay, straight. Right? RIGHT? How about you, YES YOU READING THIS, AND YOU GEN. JAMES AMOS, what would it take to make you turn gay? WELL….. WHAT????? I thought so, NOTHING, IT’ CAN’T BE DONE. So, Gen. James Amos, welcome to the 21st century. You may be afraid of gays from being told whatever you were told all your life by people who didn’t know anything about what they were talking about, but get with the rest of the world, and agree to end this degrading and disgusting law immediately.

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