Brigadier General Joseph V. Medina (born c. 1953) is a United States Marine Corps General whose career has taken him from an initial posting leading a rifle platoon to head of the contingency plans branch overseeing NATO's Kosovo operation. On November 2003, Medina took command of Expeditionary Strike Group Three. This event marked the first time in history that a United States Marine Corps officer took command of a Naval flotilla. In April 2007, BGen Medina took command of the 3rd Marine Division.
Medina, who is of Mexican ancestry, attended the United States Naval Academy where he was commissioned a second lieutenant upon his graduation in 1976. His academic accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and a Master of Science (Systems Management) degrees from the University of Southern California.
Medina also attended the Amphibious Warfare School, where he was an honor graduate in 1985, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Distinguished Graduate, 1992), and graduated in 1998 from the NATO Defence College.
Medina's earlier career assignments included the following: Rifle Platoon Commander, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines; Headquarters Company Commander, 5th Marine Regiment; Company Commander, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines; Company Commander, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines; Company Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines; and commander of two Basic School (TBS) companies and an Officer Candidate School (OCS) company.
In May 1995, he assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. The battalion was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in Support of JTF-160 for Operation SEA SIGNAL in 1995, and to Okinawa, Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program in 1996, during his tour as battalion commander. In February 1997, he was reassigned as the Executive Officer of the 2nd Marine Regiment.
In February 1998 he was transferred to Headquarters, U.S. European Command where he was assigned as Contingency Plans Branch Chief, J3 Directorate. Medina simultaneously served as Chief, Kosovo Plans Group for Operation Noble Anvil, Operation Allied Force and Operation Joint Guardian from August 1998 until June 1999 as a direct result of the Kosovo Crisis. In June 1999 he was promoted to Colonel and assigned as the Chief, Operational Plans Division (J35), Operations Directorate.
Among Medina's other commands was the G-3, Enlisted Recruiting Operations & Plans at the Marine Corps Recruiting Command at Quantico, Virginia. He has served as Marine Officer Instructor/Associate Professor of Naval Science at Penn State University.
Commander of the Belleau Wood Expeditionary Strike Group
In 2001, Medina was promoted to Brigadier General and assumed command of the newly established Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG-3) in San Diego, California, which is an integral part of United States Navy's Third Fleet. Medina became the first Marine general ever assigned commander of naval ships. On June 10, 2004, Medina oversaw the manning and equipping of ESG-3. From his flagship, the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3), he led 4,000 Marines and sailors into Pearl Harbor for five days of training. He then led the Belleau Wood Strike Group (BWDESG) through a 6-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was assigned as Commander Task Force 58. Their mission was to detect, identify, and disrupt international terrorist organizations and foreign fighters.
On July 8, 2005, Medina was named Commanding General Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler and Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Japan. On September 6, 2007, Medina handed over responsibilities as commander of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler to BGen Mary Ann Krusa-Dossin.
On April 27, 2007, BGen Mastin M. Robeson passed on the command of the 3rd Marine Division to Medina in a ceremony held at Camp Courtney in Okinawa.
While briefly serving as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division, Medina remained dual-hatted as Deputy Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force; and Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Brigade. BGen Medina relinquished command of the 3rd Marine Division on June 11, 2007 to Major General Robert B. Neller.
As of May 2007, Medina is one of four Hispanics to hold the rank of Brigadier General and above in the United States Marine Corps. The other three are Major General William D. Catto, Commanding General Marine Corps Systems Command, Brigadier General Angela Salinas, Chief of Staff Marine Corps Recruiting Command and the first Hispanic female to obtain a general rank in the Marines, and Brigadier General David C. Garza, Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Central Command.
Medina who was featured on Hispanic Business magazine on October 2006 as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States, is an advocate of Hispanic recruitment in the Marine Corps and has been quoted as saying:
- "We understand the importance of diversity in the Marine Corps," said the senior ranking Hispanic in the Marine Corps. "That's why the Marine Corps is so strong... we are able to embrace all different elements of society to make the Corps a strong organization."
- Rogers, LCPL David (September 15, 2006). "Marine Corps Base welcomes new commander". Okinawa Marine. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Peterson, LCPL Bryan A. (April 27, 2007). "3rd Marine Division welcomes new commander". Okinawa Marine. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
- Blodgett, LCPL Corey A. (June 15, 2007). "Neller takes charge of 'Fighting Third'". Okinawa Marine. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
- Phillips, Bruce E. (January 18, 2007). "Top Hispanics in the U.S. Military: Celebrating Commitment to Honor, Duty and Country". Hispanic Engineer. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "100 Influentials List 2006". Hispanic Business Magazine. October 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Ayalin, SSgt Marc (May 2, 2005). "Marines Spread Message of Opportunity to Hispanic Community". Marine Corps News. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
Awards and decorations
Brigadier General Medina's personal decorations include:
|1st Row||Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
|2nd Row||Defense Superior Service Medal||Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star||Defense Meritorious Service Medal||Meritorious Service Medal w/ 2 award stars|
|3rd Row||Joint Service Commendation Medal||Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 2 award stars||Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 2 oak leaf clusters||Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star|
|4th Class||Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star||National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars||Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal||Iraq Campaign Medal|
|5th Class||Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal||Global War on Terrorism Service Medal||Korea Defense Service Medal||Humanitarian Service Medal|
|6th Class||Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 5 service stars||Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 1 service star||Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon||NATO Medal for Yugoslavia|