Joseph P. Hoar

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Joseph P. Hoar
Joseph Hoar official military photo.jpg
General Joseph Hoar
Born (1934-12-30) December 30, 1934 (age 85)
Boston, Massachusetts
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1957–1994
Commands heldMCRD Parris Island
United States Central Command
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star (2)

General Joseph P. Hoar (born December 30, 1934) is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, former Commander in Chief of United States Central Command. He retired from the Corps on September 1, 1994.

Military career[edit]

Hoar attended Boston College High School, then went on to graduate from Tufts University and receive a second lieutenant's commission in the Marine Corps in 1957. After graduating from the Basic School at Quantico, he was assigned as a rifle platoon commander with the 5th Marine Regiment. Later assignments included duty with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, battalion staff officer on Okinawa, the Marine Barracks at Yorktown, Virginia and Assistant Manpower, Personnel and Administration Officer at Camp Lejeune.

During the Vietnam War, Hoar was assigned with the 2nd Marine Division, commanding Company M, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment of that unit. He later served as a battalion and brigade adviser with a South Vietnamese Marine Corps unit. He then returned stateside, completing a three-year tour of duty in Washington, D.C. as an operations officer and as Special Assistant to the Assistant Marine Corps Commandant. In 1971, he again went overseas as Executive Officer of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines.

From 1972–76 Hoar was an instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, later returning to Marine Headquarters where he served in the Personnel Management Division. In 1977, he returned to 1st Marines as commander of its 3rd Battalion, later accepting duty with the Division's staff, where he was promoted to colonel. General Hoar served as 1st Marines regimental commander from 1979–81.

After completing this tour he was assigned to the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit aboard USS Belleau Wood, participating in three deployments in the Indian Ocean. He then returned to the U.S. as Assistant Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Administration, gaining a promotion to brigadier general in February 1984. In 1985, he returned to Washington as Director of the Facilities and Services Division at Marine HQ. 1987 saw Hoar accept a position as Commanding General at the Parris Island recruit depot; later that year he was promoted to major general.

Hoar moved to MacDill AFB, Florida in 1988 as Chief of Staff for U.S. Central Command. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps in June 1990, earning a promotion to lieutenant general while serving there as Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies and Operations. After a year at this assignment he returned to CENTCOM as its commander on August 9, 1991, relieving General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. He remained in that capacity until his retirement three years later.

While in command of CENTCOM, General Hoar oversaw a number of different operations in the region, including enforcement of the Persian Gulf and Red Sea naval embargo, enforcement of the southern no-fly zone over Iraq, ground operations in Somalia, and American troop evacuation from Yemen during that country's civil war in 1994.

Post military career[edit]

After retirement, he set up a consulting company involved in business ventures in various places in the Middle East and Africa. He has served as Director of Hawaiian Airlines, as a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and on the boards of trustees of Suffolk University and the Center for Naval Analyses.

General Hoar drew upon his experience with CENTCOM in the days leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq to stress the importance of allied cooperation, notably the ability to base military operations from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, as key to success in the region.[1] As U.S. strategy for the invasion coalesced, Hoar expressed misgivings, in particular regarding the number of troops committed to the operation[2]

A year after the official cessation of hostilities, Hoar continued to maintain that coalition forces did not have enough troops on the ground to accomplish their mission.[3][4] In December 2003, Hoar stated that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, "...doesn't know much about the business he's in".[5] In testimony before the Senate committee on foreign relations on May 19, 2004, he stated regarding the situation in Iraq, "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss"[6]

On September 7, 2004, Hoar and seven other retired officers wrote an open letter to President Bush expressing their concern over the number of allegations of abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody.[7] In it they wrote:

We urge you to commit – immediately and publicly – to support the creation of a comprehensive, independent commission to investigate and report on the truth about all of these allegations, and to chart a course for how practices that violate the law should be addressed.

In March 2006, Hoar joined fellow former United States Marines General Tony Zinni, Lt. General Greg Newbold, Lt. General Frank E. Petersen, and Congressman Jack Murtha in endorsing fellow former U.S. Marine and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb for U.S. Senate in Virginia.[8]

Hoar is currently on the Board of Directors for the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington D.C. based non-profit organization that seeks to educate American citizens and policy makers about the political, economic and security issues impacting U.S. national interests in the Middle East.[9] He is also on the National Advisory Board[10] of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the research arm of Council for a Livable World.

Education and awards[edit]

Hoar holds a master's degree from George Washington University and is also a graduate of the National War College and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

His military decorations include:

"V" device, gold.svg1 golden star.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Defense Distinguished Service Medal Bronze Star w/ 1 award star & valor device Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star Combat Action Ribbon Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 service stars Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 2nd class Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation Vietnam Civil Actions unit citation Vietnam Campaign Medal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Profile: Possible Consequences Of Iraqi War Without U.N. Support, NPR, October 30, 2002
  2. ^ Experts fear a war with Iraq will not be short, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 11, 2003
  3. ^ Are the carping Generals actually making Rumsfeld's point?, National Review
  4. ^ Joseph P. Hoar (April 2, 2003). "Why Aren't There Enough Troops in Iraq?". New York Times. p. Section A, Page 21.
  5. ^ Holding Their Ground: As Critics Zero In, Paul Wolfowitz Is Unflinching On Iraq Policy, Washington Post, December 23, 2003
  6. ^ Hostilities force Bush into deep hole: Strategy pushing US into 'abyss', The Guardian, May 20, 2004
  7. ^ "Open letter to President Bush" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 1, 2005. Retrieved 2005-08-01.,Human Rights First, September 7, 2004
  8. ^ "Generals Zinni, Newbold, Petersen and Rep. Murtha Endorse Jim Webb for Senate" (Press release). Jim Webb for U.S. Senate. May 3, 2006. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Board". Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Retrieved 22 September 2016.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command
Succeeded by
J. H. Binford Peay III