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In Memory of Dr. Williamson “Wick” Murray (1941-2023)


In Memory of Dr. Williamson “Wick” Murray


It is with deep sadness that MCUF announces the passing of our dear friend and the Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall Chair of Strategic Studies,  to Marine Corps University, Dr. Williamson “Wick” Murray.  He was a great historian and influenced many Marines as they passed through the University. He lectured across the schools within the Marine Corps University (MCU) such as the Marine Corps War College (MCWAR), the School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW), the Command and Staff College (CSC), and the Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS).

Dr Murray was awarded The Pritzker Military Museum & Library Founder’s Award on 23 November 2021. He was named one of the “leading present day military theorists” by General James Mattis in the Washington Post, and brought an extraordinary wealth of knowledge to the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps University.

Dr. Murray graduated from Yale University in 1963 with honors in history. He then served five years as an officer in the United States Air Force, including a tour in Southeast Asia with the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing (C-130s). He returned to Yale University where he received his Ph.D. in military-diplomatic history, working under Hans Gatzke and Donald Kagan. He taught two years in the Yale history department before moving on to Ohio State University in fall 1977 as a military and diplomatic historian. He received the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987. He took early retirement from Ohio State in 1995 as Professor Emeritus of History.

In addition to having written numerous articles and books throughout his career Dr. Murray had taught at several academic and military institutions, including the Air War College, the United States Military Academy, and the Naval War College. He also served as a Secretary of the Navy Fellow at the Navy War College, the Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, the Matthew C. Horner Professor of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, the Charles Lindbergh Chair at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, and the Harold K. Johnson Professor of Military History at the Army War College. He served as a consultant with the Institute of Defense Analyses, where he worked on the Iraqi Perspectives Project. In 2008 he completed two years as the 1957 Distinguished Visiting Professor of naval heritage and history at the U.S. Naval Academy. From 2011 through 2013, he served as a Minerva Fellow in the Strategy and Policy Department at the Naval War College.

In May 2019, the Society of Military History awarded Dr. Murray it’s Samuel E. Morrison Prize for his contributions to military history and in June 2019 he received the General Leonard F. Chapman Award for “his significant and lasting contribution to the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps University.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lesley Smith; a son and daughter from a previous marriage, and five grandchildren.

You may read more at the Washington Post’s obituary here.

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