Wilson Jr., Louis H.


1978 TLS from the WW II Medal of Honor recipient as US Marine Corps Commandant, 1st Commandant on Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Commandant, Army War College


Autograph ID: 6901
Condition: Very good, very faint clip indent top left, inked dockets top right (by Smith).
Description:“(1920-2005) Marine Corps Commandant, received Medal of Honor in WW II at Battle of Guam. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines Nov. 1941, assigned to the 9th Marine Regt. He deployed to the Pacific in Feb. 1943, making stops at Guadalcanal, Efate, and Bougainville, promoted to Captain April 1943. During the 1944 assault on Guam, while commanding Co. F, 2nd Btn, he earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in combat when he and his company repelled and destroyed a numerically superior enemy force. Wounded 3 times, he was evacuated to the San Diego Naval Hospital to Oct. 16, 1944, returning to duty at Camp Pendleton, Cal., then transferring to Washington Dec. 1944 as Detachment Commander, Marine Barracks. He was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Truman and promoted to Major March 1945. He was promoted Lt. Col. Nov. 1951, stationed at Quantico. In Aug. 1955, he returned to the US with the 1st Division, appointed CO, 2nd Btn, 5th Marines. He transferred to the 1st Marine Div. and deployed with it in Aug. 1965 to Vietnam. As Asst. Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Marines, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star. Upon his return home in Aug. 1966, Col. Wilson took command of the 6th Marine Corps District. Promoted to Brigadier General Nov. 1966, he was assigned to HQMC Jan. 1967, then was Chief of Staff, HQ, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific to March 1970, earning a 2nd Legion of Merit. Promoted to Major General March 1970, he assumed command of I Marine Amphibious Force, 3rd Marine Div. on Okinawa, awarded a 3rd Legion of Merit. He was promoted to Lieut. General and on Sept. 1, 1972 assumed command of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Wilson was promoted to General July 1, 1975 on becoming Commandant of the Marine Corps. As Commandant, General Wilson stressed modernization of the post-Vietnam Marine Corps. He insisted on force readiness, responsiveness, and mobility by maintaining fast-moving, hard-hitting expeditionary units, each consisting of a single integrated system of modern ground- and air-delivered firepower, tactical mobility, and electronic countermeasures. He was the 1st Marine Corps Commandant to serve full-time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired on June 30, 1979.

TLS “Lou” on 8 ½ x 7 4-star Marine Corps flag letterhead as USMC Commandant, Washington, December 1 1978, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Army War College Commandant. Wilson accepts General Smith’s invitation to address the Army War College’s faculty and students on April 18 (1979). With envelope.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the Army, commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, he was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged 1946, he returned to active duty in Korea and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion XO and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”
Type: Letter

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