Photo Information

Marines and sailors of II Marine Expeditionary Force rendered honors to Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton, II MEF commanding general and Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commander of United States Marine Corps Forces Command, during an assumption of command ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The ceremony marked Paxton’s new position as commanding general of II MEF.

Photo by Cpl. James W. Clark

Paxton assumes command of II Marine Expeditionary Force

18 Jan 2011 | SSgt. Jayson E. Price, II Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs

Marines and Sailors of II Marine Expeditionary Force welcomed Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., a native of Chester, Pa., as he assumed command during a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2011.

More than 300 friends, family and military personnel attended the ceremony, which included the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, and commander of United States Marine Corps Forces Command, Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik.

Paxton completed his assignment as the Director for Operations for The Joint Staff in the Pentagon prior to assuming command of II MEF. As the new commanding general, he is now responsible for the training, equipping, and employment of a combined arms force consisting of nearly 60,000 Marines and sailors. This force of ground, air and logistic combat elements is the largest and most powerful type of Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the Marine Corps and is one of only three in existence.

"I want to assure you that I am proud and humbled to be in your ranks," the general explained in his remarks to the MEF Marines who have fought simultaneously in two wars over the last ten years. "Proud because of who you are and what you do, and humbled to be in the presence of men and women who will continue the fight during upcoming deployments. In Iraq where I stood beside you and Afghanistan where I visited you, I know what you have done and what you are capable of."

Paxton was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1974 through Officer Candidate School. A career infantryman, the general has commanded Marines at every level from platoon through division and has served and commanded in all three active Marine Divisions. General Paxton has also served as an operations, plans and training officer within Fleet Marine Force units at the battalion, regiment, division and Marine Expeditionary Force levels.

In addition to his service as chief of staff for Multi-National Force Iraq in Baghdad, Paxton has had operational tours supporting stability efforts in the Bosnian conflict with Landing Force Sixth Fleet and in Mogadishu, Somalia, as United Nations Quick Reaction Force, both while commanding Battalion Landing Team (1/8).

For more information or a photo and complete biography of the general, please visit the unit’s web site at