"I support the MCUF because as a former Director of Amphibious Warfare School, now the Expeditionary Warfare School, I experienced the assistance provided by the Foundation. I was able to have a more innovative curriculum because of their financial support."
General Christmas is the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and also serves as an Ex Officio member on the Board of Trustees of the Marine Corps University Foundation. He describes his “dual hat” roles as “reviewing the past and building the future.”
Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve through the NROTC program in 1962. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University (1982). He served in various infantry command and staff assignments as a company grade officer including command of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in Vietnam. He was seriously wounded during the battle for Hue City during Tet ’68 and for his actions there was awarded the Navy Cross. Some of his key assignments include Commanding Officer, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD Parris Island; Commanding Officer, 3rd Marines; Commanding General, 9th MEB; Commanding General, 3rd FSSG; Commanding General, I MEF; Director, J-3, USCINCPAC. General Christmas retired from the Corps in 1996 after thirty-four years active duty. His final assignment was Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
From September 1996 until December 2006, in addition to being President of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, he served as a Senior Mentor, MAGTF Staff Training Program; and the Joint Forces Command. Other projects during the period included Adjunct Staff, RAND Corporation; Consultant, Harris Corporation; Member, Board of Advisors, Recruit Military, LLC; and Ex Officio Governor, Marine Corps Association. With the growth of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s mission and enterprises, General Christmas now devotes most of his time to these efforts, but still finds time to commit to the Marine Corps University Foundation.
General Christmas is married to the former Sherry Lownds. They have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. His hobbies include fishing and walking.