The Board of Directors of Carolina Museum of the Marine | Al Gray Civic Institute announces with sadness the passing of our friend and colleague Brigadier General Richard F. Vercauteren, USMC, Ret., on Thursday, 16 June 2022.
BGen Vercauteren was born 9 February 1945 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island in June of 1967 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in November of that year. After graduating from The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, 2ndLt Vercauteren was assigned to 2d Battalion, 9th Marines in Vietnam where he served with distinction as a platoon commander.
Among his many assignments, BGen Vercauteren was a United Nations Military Observer and operations officer in Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, Commanding Officer of 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, Commanding Officer of Company F, Marine Security Guard Battalion in Nairobi, Kenya commanding Marine guards at 33 embassies in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
BGen Vercauteren is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, and the Combat Action Ribbon. He also received the Navy League’s General Holland M. Smith Award for operational proficiency.
In addition to a B.A. degree from Providence College, BGen Vercauteren held an M.A. in International Affairs from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. He was a Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow in Foreign Politics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fellow in National Security Affairs at Harvard University.
BGen Vercauteren is survived by Gail, his wife of 50 years.
In June 2020, BGen Vercauteren was elected Chair of the Board of Directors, Carolina Museum of the Marine ǀ Al Gray Civic Institute where he performed his duties with customary energy, collegiality, and sound judgment. As Chair, BGen Vercauteren led the successful multi-year effort working with local members of the North Carolina General Assembly to secure a State Capital Infrastructure Fund grant in the amount of $26 million to construct the Museum ǀ Institute. He also initiated a significant restructuring of the organization, began a nation-wide search for a CEO and launched the successful first pilot programs of the Institute. For decades to come, all who walk through the doors of the Museum or participate in the programs of the Institute will benefit from BGen Vercauteren’s determination to make the Carolina Museum of the Marine ǀ Al Gray Civic Institute a reality.
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