General Paxton retired from active duty on 30 Sep 2016 after 42 years of continuous active service. He was promoted to General and assumed duties as the 33d Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on December 15, 2012. A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor and Master of Science in Civil Engineering and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1974.
General Paxton’s assignments in the operating forces included Rifle and Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines; Training Officer, 4th Marine Regiment; Executive Officer, Co. G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines; Company Commander, Co. L and Operations Officer, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; GCE Operations Officer, II MEF, and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Marine Division. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in support of operations in Bosnia and Somalia with 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and later the 1st Marine Regiment.
Other assignments include Company Commander, Co. B, Marine Barracks Washington and Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station, New York. He served as a Plans Division Officer, Plans, Policies and Operations, HQMC; as Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Navy; and as Amphibious Operations Officer/Crisis Action Team Executive Officer, Combined Forces Command, Republic of Korea.
As a general officer, he served as the Director, Programs Division, Programs and Resources, HQMC; the Commanding General of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego/Western Recruiting Region; Commanding General, 1st Marine Division; Chief of Staff, Multi-National Forces – Iraq; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff; and Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander Marine Forces Africa. He also served as Commander, Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; and Commander, Marine Forces Europe.
General Paxton is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course and Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He has also served as a Commandant’s Fellow at the Brookings Institute as well as at the Council on Foreign Relations. He became a National Defense University Senior Fellow in 2016.