General Richard I. Neal, USMC
Hall of Fame, Class of 2023
General Richard I. “Butch” Neal
U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
Richard I. ‘Butch’ Neal was born on 20 June 1942 in Hull, Massachusetts. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963 upon graduation from Northeastern University, where he received a B.S. degree in History and Education. In 1973 he earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from Tulane University. Following completion of The Basic School and subsequently the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Neal was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division in Republic of Vietnam, where he was with the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. He returned to Vietnam in January 1970, where he was assigned as an Infantry Battalion Advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. In 1973, he served as the Commanding Officer of the 2d 155 Howitzer Battery, 2d Field Artillery Group at Camp Lejeune, NC. Following a tour as head of the Company Grade Assignment Section at Headquarters Marine Corps, he attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He served on the Air-Ground Exchange Program as S-3, Marine Aircraft Group 36, on Okinawa. Upon return from overseas, General Neal was assigned as the Head, Operations Division, Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1981. In 1982, he was selected to attend the National War College in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of school, he returned to Camp Lejeune to command the 5th Battalion, 10th Marines. Neal was promoted to Colonel in 1985 and was assigned to the United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as the Chief of Policy/Strategy Division and later as the Chief of the Special Projects Division in the J-5 Directorate. Neal was assigned duty as Director, Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico in August 1988. While serving in this capacity he was selected for promotion to Brigadier General in December 1989. In July 1990, Neal was advanced to brigadier general and assigned duty as the Director, Manpower Plans and Policy Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department. He served in this capacity until May 1992. From September 1990 to April 1991, he was assigned temporary duty as the Deputy for Operations at U.S. Central Command for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Neal was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, II MEF in June 1992. From June 1992 - August 1992, he served as Commanding General, Joint Task Force for Operations GITMO, a humanitarian relief effort for Haitian migrants at Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba. He was advanced to Major General in April 1993, and assigned as the Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division. In August 1994, he was assigned as the Deputy Commander in Chief/Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, and advanced to Lieutenant General in October 1994. Neal was promoted to four-star rank on September 19, 1996 and assumed duties as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on September 27, 1996. He retired on November 1, 1998 after completing 35 years of active service to the United States of America. After retirement, Neal served on various corporate boards and as president of Audio MPEG. He also volunteered as a MOAA Board member. He was always in great demand, traveling around the country for dedications and speeches, but he always found time in early May to volunteer for the Literary Hill BookFest. Anytime he met young Marines he made sure to shake each one's hand and thank them for their service. In 2017, Butch wrote a book chronicling his military experiences. “What Now, Lieutenant?: Leadership Forged from Events in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Beyond”.