A few of the most famous retired Marine Corps Generals include Lewis "Chesty" Puller, Jerome G. Cooper, Frank E. Peterson and Alexander Vandegrift. Puller served as a General from 1951 to 1955, Cooper from 1988 to 1989, Peterson from 1979 to 1988 and Vandegrift from 1940 to 1947.
“Chesty” Puller may be the most famous retired Marine Corps General. There are a number of autobiographies about Puller. Puller is also portrayed in the H.B.O. show “The Pacific.” He rose from the rank of Private to General during his career in the Marine Corps. Puller retired as one of the most decorated Marines is history. He was the recipient of five Navy Cross citations and a Distinguished Service citation.
Jerome “Gary” Cooper served as a Major General from 1988 to 1989. Cooper initially retired from the Marine Corps as a Major in 1970. He is one of the most decorated African-American soldiers in Marine Corps history. Before his retirement in 1970, Cooper earned two Purple Hearts, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, a Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit medal, to name a few. Cooper returned to the Marine Corps in 1988 as a Major General and retired in 1989, after President George H.W. Bush nominated Cooper to be the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force. Cooper also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica from 1994 to 1997.
Frank Peterson was the first African-American General in Marine Corps history. Alexander Vandegrift was the first active duty Marine to become a four-star General.