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  Friday, March 27, 2015
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September 11, 2013
Lt. General R. E. Milstead, Jr., Keynote Speaker at 32nd Annual Vietnam Memorial

Assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39 at Camp Pendleton, Second Lieutenant Milstead joined HMA-169 flying the AH-1 Cobra helicopter. In June 1981, Captain Milstead was transferred to Separate Brigade Platoon, 2nd ANGLICO at Camp Pendleton where he served two years as the S-3 Officer. While assigned to 2nd ANGLICO, he attended both the U.S. Army Pathfinder School and U.S. Army Airborne Course. 

In July 1986, Major Milstead was transferred to Quantico, Virginia, to attend the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Graduating with honors, he was reassigned to The Basic School. In September 1990, he reported to MAG-36 on Okinawa as the S-3A/Plans Officer. During this tour, he deployed to Turkey and Northern Iraq as the Executive Officer of SPMAGTF 1-91 during Operation Provide Comfort.

Transferred to 3d MAW (FWD) at El Toro in June 1992, Lieutenant Colonel Milstead served as the Plans Officer and later as the 3d MAW Liaison Officer to MARFOR Somalia during Operation Restore Hope. He returned to MAG-39 in May 1993 and was assigned to HMLA-169 as the Executive Officer. He became the Commanding Officer of the HMLA-169 Vipers on 22 November 1994.

Relinquishing command in June 1996, he was transferred to Washington, DC to attend the National War College. Graduating with a Master of Science in National Security Strategy, Colonel Milstead was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, as the Head of the Aviation Weapons Systems Requirements Branch (APW) in the Department of Aviation. In July 1999, he was reassigned within the Pentagon for joint duty in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Strategic and Tactical Systems, Land Warfare. 

In May 2001, Colonel Milstead assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 29 at New River, North Carolina. During this command tour, the MAG-29 War Eagles deployed and participated in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He relinquished command in August 2003, and was reassigned to Camp Lejeune as Chief of Staff, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism). In September, 2004 Colonel Milstead was reassigned to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point as Commander, 2d MAW (Fwd) for deployment to Iraq. He was promoted to Brigadier General in Iraq on 17 February, 2005. 2d MAW (Fwd) returned to Cherry Point in February 2006. From March until June 2006, he served as the Commanding General, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, prior to transferring to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps for assignment as the Director, Marine Corps Public Affairs. In May 2008, he was transferred to Quantico, Virginia and served as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. In December 2010, Lieutenant General Milstead was appointed to his present grade and assumed the duties as Deputy Commandant, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Quantico, VA.

Lieutenant General Milstead’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two gold stars in lieu of second and third awards with the Combat V, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 6 Strike/Flight Awards, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Lieutenant General Milstead is happily married. He and his wife have four children and two grandchildren.

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