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New three-star general in U.S. Marine Corps graduated from SEMO
If the United States invades Iraq, a Southeast Missouri State University graduate could play a major role, says a proud relative.
The graduate, Jim Conway, 54, currently holds the rank of major general in the Marine Corps. On Friday, he will be promoted to three-star general in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton in California.
Conway, who was born in Walnut Ridge, Ark., graduated from Southeast in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
He married Annette Drury of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., who also graduated from Southeast. The couple now lives in California. The couple still has relatives in Ste. Genevieve, including Larry Marler, a cousin.
Marler will be among those attending the ceremony on Friday. Conway has been a two-star general and saw combat during the Gulf War with Iraq in 1991, Marler said.
A retired businessman and 1957 graduate of Southeast, Marler is thrilled that Conway is being promoted to such a high rank. He said Conway's success in the military also reflects well on the university.
"What excites me is that our students can compete with the finest in the nation," Marler said.
Conway has served in the Marines since 1970. He currently is the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. He assumed his current role in 2000.
He has held several top posts in the Marines over his military career, including president of the Marine Corps University from September 1998 to June 2000.
Conway has received a number of military awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
The Marine general is not the highest ranking serviceman in Southeast's history. Seth J. McKee, 86, is a retired four-star general from the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Central High School and attended Southeast.