From BethJacob.org: “Gen. Robert Magnus, Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps & highest ranking Jewish person in the U.S. Armed Services, will be addressing Beth Jacob Congregation for the morning drasha this Shabbat in the Shapell Sanctuary.”
Genial, no-nonsense and a bit professorial, Magnus, was born in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, the youngest child of a bookkeeper and a seamstress. When the family moved to the working class, post-World War II community of Levittown, Long Island, “a mile and a half from a potato farm,” his secular Jewish upbringing was “ideal and lower-middle class.” And while his cousins across town may have been raised more traditionally observant, Magnus was sent to a Conservative Hebrew school three days a week and celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Hicksville Jewish Center on Long Island.
He graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from University of Virginia and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer College in 1993. His formal military education includes Naval Aviator Training, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College.
Magnus completing The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia in 1969 and then reported to the Naval Air Training Command, where he was designated a Naval Aviator. Gen Magnus’ operational assignments include: Intelligence Officer, HMM-264; Operations Officer, H&MS-15 SAR Detachment, Task Force Delta, Nam Phong, Thailand; Training Officer, SOES, MCAS Quantico; Aviation Safety Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 26 and HMM-263; Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Marine Aircraft Group 26 and HMM-261; Operations Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 29; Commanding Officer, HMM-365; Commander, Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area; Commanding General, MCAS Miramar; and Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Pacific (1999 – July 2000).
Gen Magnus’ staff assignments include Aviation Assault Medium Lift Requirements Officer; Chief, Logistics Readiness Center, Joint Staff; Executive Assistant to the Director of the Joint Staff; Head, Aviation Plans and Programs Branch; Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation; Assistant Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations (July 2000 – August 2001); and Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources (August 2001-September 2005). He was advanced to the rank of General on November 1, 2005 and began his assignment as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on November 8, 2005.