Johnnie L. Newton, of Fallbrook, California, died Nov. 25, 2023, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Diego after a brief hospitalization. He was 76 years old.
Johnnie was a career Judge Advocate, retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1995 after serving as a Trial Counsel (prosecutor), Defense Counsel and later Military Judge at Camp Pendleton, as a staff officer at Headquarters USMC and in several positions during multiple tours in Okinawa, Japan, including a period as Staff Judge Advocate.
Among Colonel Newton’s roles at HQMC was as the Commandant’s representative in the highly classified security investigations arising from Clayton Lonetree’s compromise by the KGB while a member of the Marine Security Guard Detachment at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Prior to joining the Marine Corps, Johnnie served in the U.S. coast Guard during the Vietnam War, on icebreakers in the North Atlantic and as a machine gunner on river patrol craft, part of the “Brown Water Navy” in South Vietnam. He was involved in riverine operations from “Breezy Cove,” an advanced tactical support base on the Ong Doc River.
Following a discharge from the Coast Guard, Johnnie completed college and then graduated law school (with honors) at the University of San Diego, during which he joined the Marine Corps and was commissioned, and was sworn in by his father, Col George l. Newton (USMC Retired.)
Following retirement from the Marines, Johnnie returned to Fallbrook, building a home near his parents and pursuing scholarly and philanthropic interests as (in his words) a “gentleman farmer.” He possessed an incredible intellectual curiosity, studying and debating subjects from quantum physics to pharmacological science to epistemology and monetary theory.
Johnnie diligently cared for his mother (the recently departed Eva Rose Newton) during her battle with Alzheimer’s disease and assisted his father, George Newton, also a retired Marine Colonel who still resides in Fallbrook. Johnnie was preceded in death by his brother, Barrie, a Marine Lance Corporal killed in action in Vietnam.
Johnnie will be interred at Miramar National Cemetery.