John Hudson was born on October 12, 1932, in Louisville, Kentucky. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 23, 1952, and after completing basic training and tech school, he was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in February 1953. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps and designated a Naval Aviator on June 11, 1954, and then served as an AD-3W and AD-4N Skyraider pilot with VMC-2 at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, from July 1954 to June 1955. His next assignment was as a flight instructor at NABTC Pensacola, Florida, from June 1955 to June 1957, followed by Photo Reconnaissance School at NATTC Pensacola from June to December 1957. Lt Hudson served as an F9F-8P Cougar, EF-10B Skyknight, and AD-5W Skyraider pilot with VMCJ-2 at MCAS Cherry Point from December 1957 to January 1959, and then left active duty and served with VMF-124 in the Marine Corps Reserve at NAS Memphis, Tennessee, from January 31, 1959, until going back on active duty beginning May 21, 1962. Capt Hudson then served as an RF-8 Crusader pilot with VMCJ-2 at MCAS Cherry Point from May 1962 to June 1963, and during this time he flew reconnaissance missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His next assignment was as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division at MCB Camp Pendleton, California, from August to November 1963, followed by service as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division at Okinawa from November 1963 to November 1964. He served with VMF(AW)-312 at MCAS El Toro, California, from December 1964 to January 1965, and then completed the Naval Aviation Safety Officers' Course before serving as Safety Officer with Marine Aircraft Group 33 (MAG-33) at MCAS El Toro from April 1965 to June 1966. Maj Hudson's next assignment was as an F-4B Phantom II pilot, Executive Officer, and then Commanding Officer of VMFA-122 at MCAS El Toro from June 1966 to January 1967, followed by service as Group S-4 for MAG-33 at El Toro from January to October 1967. He served as Executive Officer of Marine Air Base Squadron 15 at Chu Lai, South Vietnam, from November 1967 to April 1968, and then as Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of VMFA-115 at Chu Lai from April to November 1968. During this time, Maj Hudson flew 308 combat missions in the F-4B. His next assignment was as G-3 for Training with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Cherry Point from January 1969 to January 1970, followed by an assignment to complete his bachelor degree at Murray State University, Kentucky, from January 1970 to June 1971. LtCol Hudson served as Head of the Enlisted Technical Manpower Requirements Branch with Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps in Arlington, Virginia, from July 1971 to June 1973, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from July 1973 to May 1974. His next assignment was as Aviation Safety Officer for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, from July 1974 to January 1975, followed by service as Executive Officer for Marine Aircraft Group 15 at Iwakuni from January to August 1975. Col Hudson served as Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of Marine Combat Crew Readiness Training Group 10 at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, from August 1975 to October 1977, and then as Base Commander for MCAS Yuma from October 1977 to May 1980. Gen Hudson next served as Assistant Wing Commander of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and as Commanding General of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade at MCAS Cherry Point from May 1980 to April 1981, followed by service as Commanding General of Landing Force Training Command Atlantic and Commanding General of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from May 1981 to June 1983. He served as Deputy for Education and Director of the Education Center at MCB Quantico, Virginia, from June 1983 to May 1985, and then completed Helicopter training at NATC Pensacola before serving as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS El Toro from June 1985 to October 1987, during which time he also served as Commander of I Marine Amphibious Force from April to August 1986. Gen Hudson's final assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower with Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps in Arlington from October 1987 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on November 1, 1989. During his career, Gen Hudson amassed 5,720 flying hours, and at the time of his retirement he was the active duty Marine Aviator holding the earliest designation date, making him the Marine Corps Silver Hawk for 1988 and 1989.
His Navy Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. from November 1987 through October 1989. With his vision, vast experience, discerning judgement, and keen foresight, Lieutenant General Hudson provided consistently wise counsel and sterling leadership to the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department. His steadfast courage and integrity set the example and provided stability in the dynamic environment of war fighting enhancements, reorganization, and constrained resources. Having commanded at the Company, Squadron, Gorup, Station, Brigade, Wing, and Expeditionary Force levels, he firmly held the combat readiness of the Corps paramount. Lieutenant General Hudson was also an articulate, compassionate advocate for the individual Marine, his expert advice avidly sought by the Department of Defense and The Congress. Lieutenant General Hudson's exemplary professional performance, inspiring dedication, and unswerving devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.