The Honorable John O. Marsh, Jr.
John O. Marsh, Jr., was born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1926 and attended the public schools in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He entered the U.S. Army in 1944 and was commissioned through the Officer Candidate Course at the Infantry School in 1945. Mr. Marsh served with the occupation forces in Germany during 1945–1947 and was a member of the United States Army Reserve from 1947–1951. He married Glenn Ann Patterson in 1950 and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1951.
He was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1952 and entered the practice of law in Strasburg, Virginia, where he was town judge of Strasburg and town attorney of New Market, Virginia from 1954–1962. He served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s Seventh District during 1963–1971 and resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C.
He entered the Virginia Army National Guard in Virginia in 1951. In 1964 he graduated from the Army’s Airborne Infantry School with a senior parachutist rating and retired from Guard service as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1976.
Marsh was a member of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission from 1966–1970 and served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs from 1973–1974. He was a counselor to President Gerald R. Ford from 1974–1977; and resumed the practice of law with the firm of Mays, Valentine, Davenport, and Moore. He is currently a member of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute.
Mr. Marsh served as Secretary of the Army from 1981 to 1989, holding the office longer than any previous Secretary. During his tenure, the Army observed the Bicentennial of the founding of the United States, implemented the provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, making their services more oriented to joint operations, and reorganized the Army Staff to eliminate duplication of functions. He is chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board.
In addition to leadership positions in national foundations, John Marsh has taught in the areas of cyber-law and national security in various arenas, including The College of William and Mary, George Mason University and the Virginia Military Institute. He has served as a member of the Steering Committee of the University of Virginia’s Critical Incident Analysis Group since its founding in 1997.