John O. Marsh, Jr.


John O. Marsh, Jr.

The Honorable John O. Marsh, Jr. was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry at the age of 19. He graduated from the Officer Candidate School, Class Number 508, 14 November 1945 and subsequently served with the occupational forces in Germany. | After leaving active duty, Marsh attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he graduated from Law School. In 1952, he was admitted to the Virginia State Bar and established his law practice in Strasburg, Virginia. | Marsh served in the Virginia National Guard from 1954 to 1976 and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. | Entering public service in Virginia, Marsh was elected to the 88th Congress in November 1962, representing Virginia's 7th Congressional District. He became the first member of Congress at the age of 38 to become Airborne qualified at the United States Army Infantry School, and he went on to earn his Senior Parachutist Badge. During his service in the National Guard, and while a sitting U.S. Congressman, Marsh served a month-long, annual active duty training period in South Vietnam. Marsh served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1963-1971, but chose not to seek a fifth term when he returned to private law practice. | In March of 1973 Marsh returned to Federal Service and held positions as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs), Vice President Ford's Assistant for National Security Affairs, and in August of 1974, Marsh was sworn in as Counsellor, with Cabinet Rank, to President Gerald R. Ford. | For President Ford, he had oversight of the Amnesty program and directed the Legislative Affairs program for the Ford White House. He chaired a panel of cabinet ranked members to make recommendations to the President for the reform and reorganization the United States Intelligence community. This resulted in an Executive Order by the President relating to the reform and reorganization of the Intelligence community in 1976. At the request of President Ford he chaired the transition of the Ford Administration to the Carter Administration. | Marsh became the 14th Secretary of the Army under President Ronald Reagan. | Marsh was sworn in 30 January 1981, and when he retired from that post on 14 August 1989, his tenure was the longest of any Secretary of the Army or Secretary of War in the history of the Republic. In a rare move the United States Senate adopted a resolution commending his stewardship as Army Secretary. During 1988, pursuant to an enactment of Congress, he served concurrently, and for an interim period as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict), to organize that office in the Department of Defense. On completing his service as Secretary of the Army, he undertook a special assignment as Legislative Counsel to Secretary of Defense Cheney for the development of legislative recommendations relating to streamlining of the defense procurement process. | By appointment of former Secretary of Defense Cheney, Secretary Marsh also served 1989-1994 in the position of Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, an advisory body in the Department of Defense relating to all the U.S. National Guard and Reserve Forces. Subsequently, for Secretary of Defense Perry, he chaired the panel on Quality of Life for members of the Armed Forces and their families, and also a study for greater utilization of Reserve Components in the military intelligence programs. | Secretary Marsh received his LL.B. degree in 1951 from Washington and Lee University and began the practice of law in Strasburg, Virginia. He was elected to four terms as a Representative in Congress from the Seventh District of Virginia (1963- 1971) and was a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Choosing not to seek a fifth term, he resumed the practice of law. He joined the Hazel & Thomas law firm early in 1990. | Active in many patriotic programs, Secretary Marsh has received many awards, including the American Legion Distinguished Service Medal, six awards of the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the George Catlett Marshall Medal for Public Service, the first recipient of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Public Service Award in 2002, and in 2014, Marsh received the Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service. He has also been decorated by the governments of France and Brazil and is a member of the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame. In 1990, Mr. Marsh was selected by the Virginia Press Association to receive its “Virginian of the Year” Award. Thirty years before he had been named by the Virginia Jaycee’s the “Outstanding Young Man in Virginia.” | Secretary Marsh led a life in business and academia, teaching in the field of Cyber Law, Terrorism and National Security Law in his retirement. He served as a Distinguished Professor of Law at George Mason University; 1999 William & Mary Adjunct Professor for Cyber-Terrorism; the 1998 National Security Law Visiting Professor of Ethics, Virginia Military Institute and the 2000 Distinguished Professor of Law, George Mason University, Cyber-Terrorism and National Security Law. | He served on numerous Boards and Committes, including: Member of Advisory Council, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Chairman, Advisory Committee, Virginia Inland Port (VIP); Member of the Special Congressional Panel on Terrorism to Assess Federal, State and Local response to Weapons of Mass Destruction (sometimes referred to as the Gilmore Commission); Chaired Secretary Defense Committee on Quality of Life of Armed Forces Secretary of Defense panel on Privacy and Technology TAPAC; and Co-Chair, Executive Committee, Institute for Defense and Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia.—VIMS Secretary- Virginia Institute Marine Science. | Secretary Marsh was | The John O. Marsh, Jr. Armory, a Virginia National Guard facility in Woodstock, Virginia, was named in Marsh's honor and dedicated in November 1996.

Additional Information

Graduated From
Fort Benning, Georgia
Key Assignment
Legislative Counsel to Secretary of Defense Cheney
Highest Award
Distinguished Service Medal
Graduation Year
Year Inducted
Branch Of Service

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