Lieutenant General John M. Paxton assumed command of II Marine Expeditionary Force Jan 18, 2011. Prior to his current assignment he served as the Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff. Additional general officer assignments include the Chief of Staff for Multi-National Force Iraq in Baghdad, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Western Recruiting Region, and Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps, Programs and Resources (Director Programs).
Lieutenant Gen. Paxton graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York with Bachelor of Science and Master of Civil Engineering degrees. He was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1974 through Officer Candidate School. A career Marine infantryman, the general has commanded Marines at every level from platoon through division and has served and commanded in all three active Marine Divisions (1st Bn, 3d Mar; 2nd Bn, 4th Mar; 3rd Bn, 5th; 1st Bn, 8th Mar; 1st Mar; 1st Mar Div). Lieutenant Gen. Paxton has also served as an operations, plans and training (G3-S3) officer within Fleet Marine Force units at the battalion, regiment, division and Marine Expeditionary Force levels.
In addition to service in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Paxton has served on operational tours supporting stability efforts in the Bosnian conflict with Landing Force Sixth Fleet (LF6F) and in Mogadishu, Somalia as United Nations Quick Reaction Force (QRF), both while commanding Battalion Landing Team (1/8). Other staff and joint assignments include the Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Navy, Amphibious Operations Officer and Executive Officer Crisis Action Team (CAT) at UNC/CFC/USFK in Korea; and in Strategic Plans Branch, Deputy Commandant Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters US Marine Corps. Supporting establishment commands include Company B, Marine Barracks 8th & I as a captain and Marine Corps Recruiting Station New York, New York as a major.
As well as The Basic School, Lt. Gen. Paxton's professional education includes United States Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School (non-resident), United States Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, and the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He was a Federal Executive Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution as a lieutenant colonel, as well as a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations as a colonel. He has also been a Marine Corps Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI.