General Anthony C. Zinni who served from August 1997 to September 2000 as the Commander in Chief, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, retired at the conclusion of his tour of duty.
Born on 17 September 1943, General Zinni was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. After completion of The Basic School he was assigned to the 2d 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.
In 1967, General Zinni was assigned as an Infantry Battalion Advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Following Vietnam, 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 3d Force Service Regiment on Okinawa. There he served as a company commander and guard officer. General Zinni returned to the 2d Marine Division in 1971 where he served as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Aide to the Commanding General, and Officer in Charge of the Infantry Training Center. In 1974, he was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, where he was assigned as the Retention and Release Officer and Plans Officer in the Officer Assignment Branch of the Manpower Department.
General Zinni again served in the 2d Marine Division in 1978, as the Operations Officer of the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Executive Officer of the 8th Marines and Commanding Officer of the 2d 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. During 1986, he was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. From 1987 to 1989, General Zinni served on Okinawa as the Regimental Commander of the 9th Marines 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 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 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. During 1992-93, he served as the Director for Operations for the Unified Task Force Somalia for Operation RESTORE HOPE. Also in 1993, he served as the Assistant to the U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia during Operation CONTINUE HOPE. General 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, I Marine Expeditionary Force. During early 1995, General Zinni served as Commander of the Combined Task Force for Operation UNITED SHIELD, protecting the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Somalia.
From September, 1996 until August, 1997, General Zinni served as the Deputy Commander in Chief, United States Central Command.
He attended The Basic School, Army Special Warfare School, Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. He holds a bachelors degree in Economics, a master of arts degree in International Relations, and a master of arts degree in Management and Supervision.
General Zinnis decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V and gold star in lieu of a second award; the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V and gold star in lieu of second award; Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Combat Action Ribbon; the Vietnamese Honor Medal; the French National Order of Merit; and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.