George R. Christmas

George Ronald Christmas (born March 11, 1940)[1] is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general. Christmas was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his valor in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He served on active duty in the Marine Corps for 34 years, retiring in 1996.[2] After retirement, he served as President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for 16 years.[3]

George R. Christmas
LtGenChristmas adjusted
Lt. Gen. George R. Christmas
Birth nameGeorge Ronald Christmas
BornMarch 11, 1940 (age 79)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1962-1996
RankLieutenant General
Commands held1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD Parris Island
3rd Marine Regiment
9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
3rd Force Service Support Group
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Battles/warsVietnam War
*Battle of Huế
AwardsNavy Cross
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Purple Heart
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with palm.
RelationsDavid E. Lownds (father-in-law)
Other workStone Energy Corporation, Director
Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, President/CEO (1996-2011)

Early years and education

George Ronald Christmas was born on March 11, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. He earned a Master of Science degree from Shippensburg University in 1982.[4]

Marine Corps career

Christmas was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1962 through the NROTC program. After completion of The Basic School at MCB Quantico in Virginia, he was assigned as a platoon leader in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He later served as the Battalion Personnel Officer. While at Camp Lejeune, he was promoted to first lieutenant in December 1963. He augmented into the regular Marine Corps in 1965.

In May 1965, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks, 8th & I in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Executive Officer, and upon promotion to captain in June 1966, as Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Service Company.

He transferred to South Vietnam in July 1967, where he served successively as Commanding Officer, Service Company, Headquarters Battalion, and Commanding Officer, Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, FMF. During the Battle for Hue City in 1968, Christmas was seriously wounded and evacuated to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. For his actions of "extraordinary heroism"[5] in Hue City on February 5, 1968, he was awarded the Navy Cross.[6]

After recovering from his wounds, in October 1968, he was assigned to the staff of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia; he subsequently attended the Amphibious Warfare School, graduating with distinction. Following graduation in July 1969, he was assigned as an instructor at the U.S. Army's John F. Kennedy Institute for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In July 1971, Christmas was transferred to Washington, D.C. to serve at Headquarters Marine Corps as the Special Assistant and Aide to the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. He remained in this post until April 1973. He was promoted to major in February 1972.

He returned to The Basic School where he served successively as the Company Tactics Chief; Commanding Officer, Student Company A; and the Tactics Group Chief. From The Basic School, he transferred to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College as a student.

Christmas returned overseas in July 1975, for duty as the Operations Officer and, later, Executive Officer, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, FMF, on Okinawa, Japan. He transferred back to the United States in August 1976 and was assigned as the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. While there, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1978.

From August 1979 until May 1981, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer, First Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in South Carolina.

Christmas was then selected to attend the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania and participated in the Cooperative Degree Program at Shippensburg University, leading to his master's degree in Public Administration.

In July 1982, Christmas served for a year as a Naval Operations Officer, J3 Directorate, USCINCPAC, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, and upon selection to colonel assumed duties as Chief of Protocol, USCINCPAC. In September 1984, he was reassigned as Commanding Officer, 3rd Marine Regiment (Reinforced), 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade.

In July 1986, Christmas was assigned duty as Director, Amphibious Warfare School. He was advanced to brigadier general on May 13, 1988, and assigned duty as the Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division, FMF/Commanding General, 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Okinawa, Japan in June 1988. He assumed command of the 3rd Force Service Support Group on August 18, 1989. On May 18, 1990, he again took command of the 9th MEB in addition to his duties as Commanding General, 3rd FSSG.

Christmas was advanced to major general on June 27, 1991. Christmas was assigned duty as the Director for Operations (J3), U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii on July 26, 1991. He was advanced to lieutenant general on July 8, 1993, and assumed duty as Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California; serving in this capacity until July 1994.

On July 15, 1994, he assumed his final active duty Marine Corps post as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.,[2][7] He retired in 1996 after 34 years of active duty service.[2]

Post-military career

Christmas serves as a director of Stone Energy Corporation in Louisiana.[8] He also serves on the Board of Advisors of Recruit Military.[9][2]

He served as the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation (1996-2011).[10] During his tenure, he led the multimillion-dollar fundraising effort for building the National Museum of the Marine Corps.[3]

Military awards and decorations

Lt. Gen. Christmas's personal decorations and medals include:

Navy Cross ribbon Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon
Navy Distinguished Service Medal ribbon Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon Purple Heart ribbon
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon
Joint Service Achievement Medal ribbon
Gold star
Combat Action Ribbon
Bronze star
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon
Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Gallantry Cross, with palm Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d VNCivilActionsRibbon-2 Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp
Navy Cross Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal Defense Superior Service Medal Purple Heart Meritorious Service Medal w/ 3 award stars
Joint Service Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon w/ 1 award star Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 service star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ palm Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation Vietnam Civil Actions unit citation Vietnam Campaign Medal

Navy Cross citation


The Navy Cross is awarded to Captain George R. Christmas, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as the Commanding Officer of Company H, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 5 February 1968 during Operation Hue City, Company H was attacking a complex of buildings known to be an enemy strong point consisting of mutually supporting bunkers, fighting holes, and trench lines. During the ensuing fire fight, two platoons seized the corner building of a city block, but intense hostile small-arms, automatic weapons, and B-40 rocket fire temporarily halted the advance. Realizing the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to sustain the momentum of the attack, Captain Christmas, undaunted by the heavy volume of enemy fire, completely disregarded his own safety as he moved across thirty-five meters of open area to join the lead element and assess the situation. Returning across the fire-swept area, he rejoined the remaining platoon, issued an attack order, and then ran seventy meters across open terrain, ignoring automatic weapons fire, and satchel charges striking around him to reach a tank he had requested. Braving enemy fire and two B-40 rockets that hit the tank, he fearlessly stood atop the vehicle to direct accurate fire against the hostile positions until the intensity of enemy fire diminished. Immediately realizing the tactical advantage, he jumped from the tank, and directed his company in an aggressive assault on the hostile positions, personally leading his men in room-to-room fighting until the building complex was secured. In a large measure due to his bold initiative and courageous actions, he provided the impetus which inspired his men to aggressive action and enabled them to successfully accomplish the mission. By his dynamic leadership, unfaltering determination and selfless devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Captain Christmas upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.[5]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who on the Web
  2. ^ a b c d "Board of Advisors: Lieutenant General George R. (Ron) Christmas, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)". RecruitMilitary. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24.
  3. ^ a b Buske, Jennifer (28 September 2001). "Lt. Gen Ron Christmas retires again". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Committees: Ex-Officio — LtGen Ron Christmas USMC (Ret)". Marine Corps Association (MCA) & Foundation. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  5. ^ a b "Navy Cross citation for George R. Christmas". Navy Cross — Vietnam. Center House Association. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  6. ^ "U.S. Marine Corps Recipients of the Navy Cross Medal during the Vietnam War". Vietnam Unit Memorial Display of Honor. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Official Biography: Lieutenant General George R. Christmas (retired)". Biographies: General Officers & Senior Executives. Manpower & Reserve Affairs, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  8. ^ "George R. Christmas Profile". Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  9. ^ "RecruitMilitary Establishes Advisory Board to Advance Employment of Veterans" (Press release). RecruitMilitary. January 23, 2006. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  10. ^ "Our Leadership". Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2009.

External links

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines

2nd Battalion 5th Marines (2/5) is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps consisting of approximately 800 Marines and Sailors. They are based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and fall under the command of the 5th Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Division. The battalion has seen combat in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War and has deployed many times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the current War on Terror.

2/5 is the most highly decorated battalion in the Marine Corps and their motto, "Retreat, Hell!", comes from the French trenches of World War I, when a Marine officer named Lloyd W. Williams was advised by a French officer to retreat and replied, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!"

Christmas (surname)

Christmas is a fairly uncommon surname, which is sometimes said to have been a byname given to a person born at Christmas. However, others dispute this interpretation.A few hundred years ago, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. When literacy was still uncommon, spelling

variations are often found in names with Anglo-Saxon origins which are transcribed based. Words were transcribed using their pronunciation when names are listed in public records.The byname was spelled "Cristemass" in 1185 and 1191, and "Cristesmesse" in 1308. The name is principally found in Essex and Sussex counties in England where some records suggest that they held a family seat from ancient times.

At least fifty (50) women called Mary have married a man with the surname of Christmas over the past 170 years to become Mary Christmas. In December 2012, living Mrs. Mary Christmas from Hull, England was featured online as a woman with a year-round Yuletide spirit. She is a wife to a certain Leeroy Christmas.

The earliest known record on Mary Christmas was discovered in 1837 when Mary Cannon married a Mr. Christmas in Alton, Hampshire and "set herself up for years of festive ribbing."

David E. Lownds

David Edward Lownds (October 4, 1920 – August 31, 2011) was a United States Marine Corps Colonel who served in the Vietnam War, notably as ground commander at Khe Sanh Combat Base during the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968.

Gallantry Cross (South Vietnam)

The Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross also known as the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross or Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (Vietnamese: Anh-Dũng Bội-Tinh) is a military decoration of the former Government of South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam). The medal was created on August 15, 1950 and was awarded to military personnel, civilians, and Armed Forces units and organizations in recognition of deeds of valor or heroic conduct while in combat with the enemy.

Individuals who received the medal, ribbon, and a citation were personally cited at the Armed Forces, Corps, Division, Brigade or Regiment level. The Republic of Vietnam authorized members of units and organizations that were cited, to wear the Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Emblem with Palm and Frame (no medal is authorized).

List of University of Pennsylvania people

This is a partial list of notable faculty, alumni and scholars of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, United States.

Navy Cross

The Navy Cross is the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat. The Navy Cross is awarded primarily to a member of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard (when operating under the Department of the Navy) for extraordinary heroism. The medal is equivalent to the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.

The Navy Cross is bestowed by the Secretary of the Navy and may also be awarded to members of the other armed services, and to foreign military personnel while serving with the U.S. naval services. The Navy Cross was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 65-253) and approved on February 4, 1919.

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, commonly known as Ship, or SU, is a public university located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, United States, 40 miles west-southwest of Harrisburg, and 30 miles north-northeast of Hagerstown, Maryland. It is one of the 14 state universities that comprise the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

Shippensburg University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).

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