Sgt Maj Robert Cleary, the 10th Sgt Maj of the Marine Corps Dies at 86
Sgt Maj Robert Cleary was the 10th Sgt Major of the Marine Corps, its highest enlisted office. He passed away on February 11, 2017 at the age of 86. He was the last Korean War veteran to serve as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, a position he took over on June 28, 1983.
Sgt Maj Cleary was of a breed of Military veterans that are rapidly leaving this earth. He enlisted in the USMC in 1951. From Korea to Vietnam, drill instructor to platoon leader, his service was exemplary, according to the Marine Corps. His awards included: a Silver Star Medal; three Air Medals; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, and gold star in lieu of a second award; Navy Achievement Medal; two Purple Hearts; and the Combat Action Ribbon. Many of those were awarded from his tour of duty in Vietnam.
You can read his full biography at this link.
The Marine Corps Facebook post of his death captured many of the sentiments of those who either knew him or knew of him:
He was my grandfather, and he played a big part in me deciding to become a Marine as well. Reading everyone’s comments is overwhelming and uplifting. He was a Marine’s Marine and even after climbing as high as he did his focus was always on the welfare of the young Marines. The PFC’s, the Lance Corporals and the junior NCO’s. Rest easy Pop- I’ll see you again someday. Semper Fi forever
I served at HQMC, Arlington, Va and saw Sgt. Maj. Cleary daily. I was honored to meet him on several occasions and a privilege to serve under him. You will be missed Sir Semper Fi.
Semper fi. You raised my nation, South Korea up.
Please rest in peace.
David: SgtMaj Cleary was my Drill Instructor. Plt. 396 K co. 1961. Our platoon was his 3rd Regimental Honor Platoon in a row. He was a great Marine and will be missed. I wish I could be at his Memorial Service. RIP SemperFi
Holding the top enlisted rank in the Marine Corps that only a few chosen ones can hold is the biggest honor a Marine can have in his career…Rest In Peace Sergeant Major…join the ranks of the Chosen Few in Heaven….OOORAAH, SEMPER FI 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Sgt Major. You are here by directed to report to USMC detachment Pearly Gates to take up post as a guardian of Heaven’s scene. Godspeed Sgt Major.