TRIANGLE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation announced today that retired Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, Jr., USMC, has been selected to serve as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation. Blackman, known to most as “Rusty,” will replace current President and CEO, Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas.
“I have no doubt that I am leaving my post in good hands,” said Christmas. “Rusty has the leadership skills, talent and passion for our Marine Corps and will continue to grow the finest military museum and heritage center in the world. He will also remain committed to cultivating the National Museum of the Marine Corps’ outreach, particularly our ever improving Education Program.”
Blackman and Christmas will begin transition in April; Christmas is expected to retire mid-year.
“I am honored to be a part of the effort to share the Marine Corps story with all citizens: current service members, veterans and civilians alike, who seek to learn more about one of the most storied military organizations in the world,” shared Blackman.
Blackman’s 37 year career included command of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan. He retired from active duty in 2007 as Commander, Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.
Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Marine Corps history, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation was established in 1979 as a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The Foundation supports the historical programs of the Marine Corps in ways not possible through government funds. The Foundation provides grants and scholarships for research and the renovation, restoration, and commissioning of historical Marine Corps artifacts and landmarks. Securing the necessary funding for the complete construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center, located in Triangle, Virginia, is the Foundation’s current primary mission while continuing to provide program support for the Corps’ historical, museum, and educational activities.
Christmas has served as President and CEO of the Foundation since 1997. Through his leadership, the Foundation raised $60 million for the vertical construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Christmas has also led the Foundation in raising $54.2 million as part of Phase II fundraising efforts, and has encouraged tremendous progress in the development of Museum programming and education initiatives.
In electing Marines like Blackman, and Christmas before him, to lead the Foundation, the Foundation’s Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that the contributions of all Marines are never forgotten.