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Former Army Secretary John O. Marsh Jr. Dies

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DoD
Monday, February 04, 2019

John O. Marsh Jr., retired Army lieutenant colonel who went on to serve as the 14th Secretary of the Army, has died at the age of 92.

Funeral services for Marsh will be held in a private ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Hall of Valor in New Market, Virginia, where he will be interred. Notes of sympathy may be mailed to Marsh Family, 560 North Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601.

The Winchester, Va., native had a military career that spanned from 1944 when he enlisted until 1976, including a one-month tour of duty in Vietnam while he was also a serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He was an infantry lieutenant while serving with the Army of Occupation in Germany. He served in the Army Reserve from 1947 to 1951, and in the Army National Guard from 1951 until his retirement. While in the Virginia Army National Guard, he graduated from Airborne School. He served in the House of Representatives from 1963 to 1971.

Marsh was assistant defense secretary for legislative affairs serving then-Vice President Gerald Ford, served as a cabinet-level counselor to President Gerald Ford and then served as Army secretary under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush from January 1981 until August 1989. After stepping down as secretary, he was Reserve Forces Policy Board chairman for five years.

In his 1982 ARMY magazine status report, Secretary Marsh wrote that when thinking about managing, businesses think about managing things, but the Army thinks about leadership and people. “We should never forget that the most important element in the land force equation is the American soldier—competently and courageously led.”