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Above: Lieutenant Colonel John Carey (left) shakes hands with Colonel Keith McCutcheon (right) while relieving McCutcheon as commanding officer of HMR-161 in Korea in August of 1952. McCutcheon had previously relieved Carey as the Commanding Officer of HMX-1 in July of 1950. Photos: Official Marine Corps Photograph


group and Colonel McCutcheon con- tinued to develop new tactics and tech- niques for helicopter operations along with reorganizing the units and equip- ment within Marine helicopter groups to take greater advantage of the heli- copter’s unique capabilities (Stuyvesant, B., 1987).


McCutcheon continued to be trans-


ferred to high profile assignments within the Marine Corps, especially within Marine Corps aviation. He used these positions to further develop the helicop- ter program and integrate it into the overall Marine Corps strategic plan. In 1960, McCutcheon was assigned to Marine Corps Headquarters as the Director of Aviation. Following his pro- motion to brigadier general, he assumed command of the First Marine Brigade in Hawaii. In 1965, and by this time a major general, McCutcheon took com- mand of the First Marine Aircraft Wing in Vietnam. After returning to the U.S., Major General McCutcheon served one of the longest tours of his career as the Deputy Chief of Staff (Air). This posi- tion is the most senior aviation position at Marine Corps Headquarters. McCutcheon was promoted to lieutenant general in 1970 and returned to Vietnam as the Commanding General of the


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Third Marine Amphibious Force. While in Vietnam, Lieutenant General McCutcheon was nominated by President Nixon for promotion to four star gener- al and assignment as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. Unfortunately, McCutcheon was never able to assume his duties as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. He was forced to retire from the Marine Corps in July of 1971 because of illness. Due to his significant contribu- tions to both his service and his country, Congress passed special legislation that allowed him to be promoted to four star general and also be retired on the same day. This made him the first Marine Corps aviator to attain the rank of gen- eral while on active duty (Stuyvesant, B., 1987). General McCutcheon passed away just thirteen days after he retired. He died from cancer at the age of 55. McCutcheon compiled an impressive resume which included both fixed wing and rotary accomplishments. Among his many honors and awards were three Distinguished Service Medals, three Legions of Merit, ten Air Medals and a Distinguished Flying Cross (Official Marine Corps Press Release 05-135-72, 1972). Prior to his death, General McCutcheon was the President of the


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