MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
Former 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, Maj. Gen. Samuel T. Helland, has earned a nomination for his third star.
The Department of Defense announced Sept. 19 that Helland, who currently commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and serves as the deputy commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., has received the president’s nomination for appointment to lieutenant general.
If approved, Helland will take over as commanding general of I MEF, replacing Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis. Mattis, nominated for his fourth star, moves to U.S. Joint Forces Command.
The promotion would also allow Helland to take command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, which is responsible for overseeing all Marines deployed to areas in the Middle East.
Helland became commander of 3rd MAW in August of 2005. He served for two years on the air station before turning over to the current commanding general, Maj. Gen. Terry G. Robling.
Helland began his military career with the Army, enlisting in 1968. A Vietnam veteran, he left the Army and graduated from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in 1973.
After OCS graduation, Helland was designated as a Naval Aviator in 1974 and became a qualified CH-53E Super Stallion pilot.
During his career in the Marine Corps, Helland has been part of combat tours in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
He has served as a logistics officer, operations officer and commanding officer for heavy helicopter squadrons, and been assigned as the commanding general for Fleet Marine Forces South and for the Combined Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa.
His personal decorations include a Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon with one star and various service and unit awards.