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Before World War I, the U.S. Marines had no general officer corps. From 1899 to 1914, three Marines served in the office of commandant as generals, but none was permanently promoted above colonel. With the Naval Personnel Act of 1916, the rank of brigadier general was established and 39 Marines were promoted from 1916 through 1936. Among them, five received the Navy Medal of Honor, nine received the Marine Corps Brevet Medal, 14 were awarded the Navy Cross, seven were suspended from duty as non-judicial punishment and three were found guilty of an offense by courts-martial.
In the years just prior to the mobilization against Japan in World War II, 14 of these generals were still on active duty and headed the Corps' expansion from its peacetime strength of 17,248 to a wartime strength of 474,680.
This is the story of the generals who served during the modern Marines' formative period (1899-1936), who gave the Corps its vision, molded its forces, capabilities and culture, and commanded its Marines in combat, at sea and in garrison.
About the Author
Colonel Glenn M. Harned is a retired Army Infantry and Special Forces officer now working as a defense consultant. A student of Marine Corps history for fifty years and a distinguished graduate of the Marine Corps War College, he has written military doctrinal publications and articles in military journals. He lives in Woodbridge, Virginia.
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