Corps Characters

Noteworthy Individuals in Marine Corps History

a. PRESLEY NEVILLE O'BANNON. First Lieutenant O'Bannon is remembered for heroism in the battle for the harbor fortress of Derna (Tripoli) in the Mediterranean. O'Bannon's Marines were the first U.S. forces to hoist the flag over territory in the Old World. The "Mameluke" sword, carried by Marines officers today, was presented to O'Bannon in 1805.

b. ARCHIBALD HENDERSON. Brevet Brigadier General Archibald Henderson became Commandant in 1820 and held his command until his death in 1859, a period of 39 years. General Henderson led the Corps through the Indian Wars, the War with Mexico, the "opening" of China, and the disorders in Central America. The "Grand Old Man of the Marine Corps," as he is often called, introduced higher standards of personal appearance, training, discipline, and strived to have the Marine Corps known as a professional military force, capable of more than just sea and guard duties.

c. JOHN H. QUICK. Sergeant Major Quick is remembered for his performance at Cuzco Well (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), where he participated in an operation to seize an advanced base for the Atlantic Fleet battalion of Marines. The Sergeant Major won the Medal of Honor for semaphoring for an emergency lift of the naval bombardment while under Spanish and American shellfire. The landing at Guantanamo demonstrated the usefulness of Marines as assault troops. When employed with the fleet, Marines gave added strength for the capture and defense of advanced bases, becoming a primary mission of the Marine Corps (1898).

d. DANIEL DALY. Sergeant Major Daly is recognized for earning two Medals of Honor: (1) Chinese Boxer Rebellion and (2) First Caco War in Haiti. When his unit had been pinned down and their attack was stalled during the Battle of Belleau Wood, then Gunnery Sergeant Daly yelled to his men, "Come on, you sons of a b-----, do you want to live forever?"

e. SMEDLEY D. BUTLER. Major Butler is recognized for earning two Medals of Honor: (1) Veracruz and (2) First Caco War in Haiti. By the end of 1916, the Marine Corps was recognized as a national force in readiness and for leadership gained from continual combat and expeditionary experience.

f. JOHN A. LEJEUNE. Major General Lejeune served as 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1920-1929. LeJeune was the first Marine officer ever to command an army division in combat, in France during World War I (1918).

g. LEWIS B. ("CHESTY") PULLER. Lieutenant General Puller served in Nicaragua through several periods of political unrest and rebellious activity. Puller and a force of about 32 Marines became famous for their ability to engage rebel groups and bandits while scouring the jungles in a wide area of Nicaragua to the Honduran border. Puller became known as the "Tiger of the Mountains" (1930). The Marine Corps' mascot, an English bulldog named "Chesty," is named for this brave and fine Marine Corps officer.

h. JOSEPH L. FOSS. Captain Foss was a Marine pilot instrumental in taking the Japanese airfield at Guadalcanal. For his participation, the Captain was awarded the Medal of Honor. By the end of World War II, Foss was the second-ranking Marine ace, with 26 victories ("kills") to his credit (1942).

i. GREGORY R. ("PAPPY") BOYINGTON. Major Boyington is recognized for Marine prowess in aerial dogfights. "Pappy" commanded VMH-214, the "Black Sheep," during World War II. By the end of the War, the Major was recognized as the Marine Corps' top ranking flying ace with 28 victories ("kills") (1945).

j. IRA H. HAYES. The Fifth Amphibious Corps of Marines, commanded by Major General Harry Schmidt, was assigned to take Iwo Jima. Corporal Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian, was one of the Marines immortalized in the now famous photograph (not shown) taken of the second flag raising incident on Mount Suribachi, shortly after the Japanese stronghold was taken on 23 February, 1945.

k. OPHA MAE JOHNSON. Private Johnson became the Marine Corps' first enlisted woman on 13 August, 1918. Her enlistment was a reflection of the dramatic changes in the status of women brought about by the entry of the United States into World War I. Marine Reserve (F) was the official title by which the Marine Corps' first enlisted women were known. They were better known as "skirt Marines" and "Marinettes."

l. ANNIE L. GRIMES. CWO Grimes was the third black woman to become a Marine and the first black woman officer to retire after her "full 20."

m. MARGARET A. BREWER. Brigadier General Brewer, then a Colonel, served as the Director of Women Marines (WM) during the period 1973-1977. She was the seventh and last Director of WMs, the only post-World War woman to hold the position. Margaret Brewer became the Marine Corps' first woman general officer on 11 May 1978.

n. MOLLY MARINE. "Molly," a monument in New Orleans to women who serve and have served as Marines, was dedicated on the Marine Corps birthday in 1943. The first statue of a woman in uniform anywhere in the world was that of Joan D'Arc, in full armor, in Orleans, France; it is only fitting that the first statue of a woman in uniform in the United States reside in New Orleans.