1st Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (1957-1959)
November 27, 1911|
|Died||July 10, 1972
Palo Alto, California
|Place of burial||Skylawn Memorial Park|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1934-1959|
|Unit||3rd Marine Division
Mare Island Shipyard
Marine Corps Depot of Supplies
MCRD Parris Island
1st Marine Division
1st Air Delivery Company
|Commands held||Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps|
|Awards||Navy Commendation Medal|
Bestwick was born on November 27, 1911, in Sabetha, Kansas, and graduated from high school there in 1932. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1934 and received his basic training at San Diego, California.
Bestwick saw pre-World War II duty at sea aboard the USS Louisville, and served at Marine posts in Bremerton, Washington; San Diego, and Camp Elliott, California. Appointed a Sergeant Major in 1943, he saw World War II combat while serving in this capacity with the 3rd Marine Division in the Bougainville and Guam campaigns.
On his return to the States, in December 1944, Bestwick served as Sergeant Major of the Mare Island (California) Shipyard. He was transferred to San Francisco in 1945, and completed a four-year tour of duty there as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies. In 1949, he became Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
During the Korean War, he joined the 1st Marine Division in Korea in October 1952 as Division Sergeant Major, and after a year overseas returned to the States. For excellent service in Korea he was awarded the Navy Commendation Ribbon with Combat "V". In 1954, he began a two-year assignment as Sergeant Major, Inspector and Instructor Staff, 1st Air Delivery Company, San Jose, California.
Transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., in June 1956, Sergeant Major Bestwick served as Sergeant Major to the Secretary of the General Staff until May 23, 1957, when he assumed the newly established post of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
Retirement & death
Bestwick served as the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps until he retired from active duty on September 1, 1959. He died July 10, 1972, at Stanford University Hospital and according to official records, was interred at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto, California. However, this was later revealed to be a mistake, and was found to be buried at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo, California.
His personal decorations include:
- Zimmerman, Gunnery Sgt. F.B. (3/10/2009). "Marines use resources to locate, properly honor first sergeant major of the Marine Corps". Headquarters Marine Corps (United States Marine Corps). Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- FindAGrave, Wilbur Bestwick - with headstone photo
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- Official Marine Corps biography
- "Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
|Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Francis D. Rauber