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Anthony Zinni

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Anthony Zinni

Anthony Zinni
General Anthony Charles Zinni, United States Marine Corps
Birth name Anthony Charles Zinni
Nickname(s) "The Godfather"
Born (1943-09-17) September 17, 1943
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1965–2000
Rank General
Commands held  • 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines
 • 9th Marine Regiment
 • I Marine Expeditionary Force
Battles/wars  • Vietnam War
 • Operation Restore Hope
Awards  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
 • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
 • Defense Superior Service Medal (3)
 • Bronze Star with Combat V (2)
 • Purple Heart
Other work U.S. Special Envoy (Israel/Palestinian Authority)
President, International Operations, M.I.C. Industries

Anthony Charles Zinni (born September 17, 1943) is a retired United States Marine Corps general and a former Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM). In 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

While serving as special envoy, Zinni was also an instructor in the Department of International Studies at the Virginia Military Institute. Currently, he is an instructor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, a public speaker, and an author of best-selling books on his military career and foreign affairs, including Battle for Peace. As of 2005, he was involved in the corporate world, joining M.I.C. Industries[1] as its president for International Operations in 2005.

Zinni also serves or has served on the advisory boards of a number of companies, including the security testing firm, Mu Dynamics, based in Sunnyvale, California. He joined Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy in Spring 2008 as the Sanford Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and taught a new course in the Hart Leadership Program.[2][3]

As of 2014, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute.[4] He has been named Honorary Chairman of that institution.[5]

He has been credited for foresight in predicting the dangers of terrorism coming out of Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks of 2001 and supporting the Iraq War troop surge of 2007. In October 2009 he came out firmly in support of General Stanley McChrystal's request for up to 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

Early life and education

Zinni was born in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, the son of Lilla (Disabatino), a seamstress and homemaker, and Antonio Zinni, a chauffeur.[6][7] His parents were of Italian descent.

In 1965, Zinni graduated from Villanova University with a degree in economics, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After completion of the Basic School, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a platoon commander, company executive officer, and company commander in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. He also served as a company commander in the 1st Infantry Training Regiment during this tour.


U.S. Marine Corps

Zinni in January 1993.
Zinni in February 1995.

In 1967, Zinni was assigned as an infantry battalion advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Following the Vietnam War, he was ordered to the Basic School where he served as a tactics instructor, platoon commander, and company executive officer. In 1970, he returned to Vietnam as a company commander in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines where he was wounded, evacuated, and subsequently assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group on Okinawa. There he served as a company commander and guard officer. In 1971, Zinni returned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Aide de Camp to the Commanding General, and Officer in Charge of the Infantry Training Center. In 1974, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he was assigned as the Retention and Release Officer and Plans Officer in the Officer Assignment Branch of the Manpower Department.

Zinni again served in the 2nd Marine Division in 1978, as the Operations Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Executive Officer of the 8th Marine Regiment and Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. In 1981, he was assigned as an operations and tactics instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia. He was next assigned to the Operations Division at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps where he served as the Head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction Section and as the Head, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Concepts and Capabilities Branch. In 1984, he earned his master's degree from Central Michigan University.[8] In 1986, he was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. From 1987 to 1989, Zinni served on Okinawa as the regimental commander of the 9th Marine Regiment and the Commanding Officer of the 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was twice deployed to the Philippines to conduct emergency security operations and disaster relief operations. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

His initial general officer assignment was as the Deputy Director of Operations at the U.S. European Command. In 1991, he served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding General of Combined Task Force Operation Provide Comfort during the Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq. He also served as the Military Coordinator for Operation Provide Hope, the relief effort for the former Soviet Union. In 1992-93, he served as the Director for Operations for the Unified Task Force in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. Also in 1993, he served as the Assistant to the U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia during Operation Continued Hope. Zinni was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, from 1992 to 1994.

From 1994 to 1996, he served as the Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. During early 1995, Zinni served as Commander of the Combined Task Force for Operation United Shield, protecting the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Somalia.

Zinni briefs reporters as to the results of Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.

From September 1996 until August 1997, Zinni served as the Deputy Commander in Chief, Operation Desert Fox, a series of airstrikes against Iraq during December 1998, with the stated purpose of degrading Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. Following this, he retired in autumn 2000.

Zinni has attended the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics and two Master of Arts degrees, one in international relations and another in management and supervision.

His son, Anthony Zinni, serves in the Marine Corps, and was promoted to the rank of major effective September 1, 2010.[9]

Testimony before Congress

On March 15, 2000, Zinni testified before Congress: Zinni also warned about terrorism:

Personal life

Zinni orating in January 2009.

Zinni holds positions on several boards of directors of major U.S. corporations. In addition, he has held academic positions that include the Stanley Chair in Ethics at the Virginia Military Institute, the Nimitz Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, the Hofheimer Chair at the Joint Forces Staff College, and the Harriman Professorship of Government and membership on the board of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. He has worked as Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Institute, with the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and the Henry Dunant Centre for humanitarian dialogue in Geneva. He is also a Distinguished Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the Executive Vice President for Dyncorp International from July 18, 2007 to the end of 2008. He served on the Board of Directors of Dyncorp International prior to that position.

He serves or has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.[11]

In April 2004, Zinni gave a lecture entitled "From the Battlefield to the Negotiating Table: Preventing Deadly Conflict" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.

In 2004, Zinni was singled out by [13] The SEC and NASD concluded that First Command willfully violated the Securities Act of 1933 Section 17(a)(2) dealing with inter-state fraud. First Command settled without admitting guilt.

In 2006, Zinni argued that more troops were needed in Iraq in the context of preventing the then-budding civil war.[14]

In 2007, he worked on a report entitled "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change" with 11 other retired military commanders. The report stated that global warming would act as a threat multiplier to global conflict.

General Zinni is also a "Distinguished Military Fellow" for the Center for Defense Information, a part of the World Security Institute.

In 2009, Zinni reported that he had been offered and accepted the post of United States Ambassador to Iraq for the Barack Obama administration, but that the appointment had been subsequently withdrawn without explanation.[15] The administration's final choice for the ambassadorship was Christopher R. Hill.

On June 26, 2009, General Anthony (Tony) Zinni (USMC ret.), then a member of the BAE Systems, Inc. Board, has been appointed Chairman of the BAE Systems, Inc. Board and, pending appointment of a permanent successor to Walt Havenstein, Acting President and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc. Tony will also join the BAE Systems Executive Committee in his capacity as Acting President and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc.

General Zinni also serves or has served on the board of Kaseman which has teamed up with Blackwater to pursue security work for the State Department.[16]

Since 2011, Anthony Zinni is a member of the board of the Peace Research Endowment.

Political involvement

An effort to get him to run for the [18] However, on March 3, 2006, Zinni joined fellow former United States Marines General Joseph P. Hoar, Lt. General Greg Newbold, Lt. General Frank 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.[19] Zinni had been floated as a possible Vice Presidential running mate of Barack Obama, the 2008 Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.[20]

Awards and decorations

Zinni's decorations include the following:[21][22]
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 oak leaf cluster Navy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Defense Superior Service Medal w/ 2 oak leaf clusters Bronze Star w/ 1 award star & valor device Purple Heart Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 award star
3rd Row Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 award star & valor device Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ 1 award star Combat Action Ribbon Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 4 oak leaf clusters
4th Row Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 3 service stars National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 service star
5th Row Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 service stars Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Humanitarian Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 6 service stars
6th Row Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ 1 service star Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal First Class National Order of Merit, Commander Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Commander
7th Row Order of Merit (Egypt) National Reunification Medal of Yemen The Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain, 1st class[23] Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation
8th Row Vietnam Civil Actions unit citation United Nations Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

In addition to his U.S. military decorations, Zinni holds decorations from France, Italy, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Vietnam, and Kuwait.

His civilian awards include the U.S. Department of State, and UNICO National's Grand Patriot Award.


See also


  1. ^ M.I.C. Industries
  2. ^ Retired Marine General Anthony Zinni to teach for Hart Leadership Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, October 11, 2007
  3. ^ Moroney, Sean (October 11, 2007). "General will teach at Sanford". The Chronicle (Duke University). 
  4. ^ Board of Governors, Middle East Institute, Retrieved on June 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Anthony C. Zinni, Middle East Institute, Retrieved on June 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 2001-2002 - Marquis Who's Who - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  7. ^ "Newsmakers - Laura Avery - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  8. ^ "Who will be Obama's running mate?". CNN. June 4, 2008. 
  9. ^ OFFICER PROMOTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2010 AND PROJECTED OFFICER PROMOTIONS FOR OCTOBER 2010 > The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website > Messages Display
  10. ^ "Statement of General Anthony C. Zinni - Commander in Chief US Central Command before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Armed Servcies" (PDF). Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate. February 29, 2000. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  11. ^ "National Constitution Center, Board of Trustees". National Constitution Center Web Site. National Constitution Center. 2010-07-26. Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  12. ^ Henrique, Diana (June 20, 2004). "Basic Training Doesn't Guard Against Insurance Pitch to G.I.'s". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  13. ^ Smith, Lamar (September 9, 2004). "Written Statement of Lamar Smith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Command Financial planning Inc on GI Finances: Protecting those who Protect Us before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises of the Committee on Financial Services" (PDF). U.S. House of Representatives. p. 4. Archived from the original on 26 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  14. ^ Gordon, Michael R. (November 15, 2006). "Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say". New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  15. ^ Slavin, Barbara (2009-02-04). "EXCLUSIVE: Obama backs out on Iraq appointment". Washington Times. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  16. ^ "Blackwater firm partners with State Dept., CIA insiders". Spy Talk. The Washington Post. January 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Draft Zinni - It's Security Stupid". Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  18. ^  
  19. ^ "Generals endorse Webb". Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  20. ^ Wilson, Reid (2007-08-14). 08 Notes: Vice Squad"'". Real Clear Politics. Time, Inc. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  21. ^ "Gen Anthony C. Zinni". 1943-09-17. Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  22. ^ "2001 General Zinni". Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  23. ^ The Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain on Medals of the World website
  24. ^


  •  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Text of Zinni's farewell speech upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, March 2000
  • Text of Zinni's May 12, 2004 speech
  • San Diego Union TribuneInterview by the in which Zinni is very critical of the War in Iraq
  • Questions and Answers with Anthony Zinni in
  • Lecture transcript and video of Zinni's speech at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego, April 2004
  • Zinni's Statement Before U.S. Senate Committee on the Armed Forces February 29, 2000.
  • Interview at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library

External links

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