Harry Schmidt (USMC)
General Harry Schmidt, USMC
September 25, 1886|
|Died||February 10, 1968(aged 81)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1909-1948|
|Commands held|| 4th Marine Division
V Amphibious Corps
*Battle of Veracruz
World War I
*United States occupation of Nicaragua
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
*Battle of Kwajalein
*Battle of Saipan
*Battle of Tinian
*Battle of Iwo Jima
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
General Harry Schmidt (25 September 1886 – 10 February 1968) served as Commanding General of the Fourth Marine Division during the Marshall Islands campaign and the Battle of Saipan, and as Commanding General of the Fifth Amphibious Corps during the battles of Tinian and Iwo Jima, during World War II. A contemporary described him as "a Buddha, a typical old-time Marine: he had been in China; he was regulation Old Establishment; a regular Marine."
During the battle for Iwo Jima, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the third Distinguished Service Medal for his part in this operation. His citation reads in part, "Against determined enemy resistance and incomparable natural defenses, Major General Schmidt skillfully directed the attack of his troops to capture and occupy this strategic island. He handled the various units under his command with brilliant tactical skill. His sound judgment, distinctive administrative ability and unfailing devotion to duty were vital factors in the success of the entire operation."
Following instruction at the Marine Officers' School at Port Royal, South Carolina, he reported in January 1911, at the Marine Barracks, Guam, Mariana Islands. While attached to this station, he accompanied an expeditionary force to Chefoo, China. In October 1912, he was ordered to duty in the Philippines where he remained until detached to the United States in April 1913.
Following an assignment with the Recruiting Service in Minnesota, a tour of duty at the Marine Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana, and temporary duty at Veracruz aboard USS Kearsarge (BB-5) in 1915, he was ordered to sea duty aboard USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in May 1916. In January 1917, he went aboard USS Montana (ACR-13) and from 25 February to 22 March 1917, was ashore with the ship's landing force at Guantanamo, Cuba.
Leaving USS Montana in September 1918, he spent most of the next two years at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia. He again went to sea in June 1920, as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard USS Tennessee (BB-43).
From August 1922 to May 1926, Schmidt was a member of the Marine Corps Schools, first as a student, then as an instructor. Then followed a year in recruiting at St. Paul, Minnesota, and a six-month tour of foreign service with the Sixth Regiment in China.
He returned to the United States to attend the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and graduated on 18 June 1932. In addition to Command and General Staff School, he is a graduate of the Field Officers' Course, Marine Corps Schools, MCB Quantico, Virginia.
Following graduation, he was assigned to duty with the Paymaster Department and served variously at Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.; with the Department of the Pacific, San Francisco; the Fourth Marine Regiment, Shanghai, China; and again with the Department of the Pacific.
In June 1937, he was assigned to the Second Marine Brigade. He sailed for Shanghai, China, in August with the Brigade as Chief of Staff and served in that capacity until detached to the United States in February 1938.
Schmidt was assigned to Headquarters, Marine Corps as Executive and Personnel Officer of the Paymaster Department in July 1938, in which capacity he was found upon the country's entry into World War II.
World War II
In January 1942, he was appointed Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, where he served until ordered to the Fourth Marine Division as Commanding General, which command he assumed on 18 August 1943.
He commanded the Fourth Division in the seizure of Roi-Namur in the Battle of Kwajalein and in the battle for Saipan. On 12 July 1944, he assumed command of the Fifth Amphibious Corps and led that command in the assault and capture of Tinian Island. For exceptional meritorious service in the seizure and occupation of the Marshall Islands and in the assault and capture of Saipan and Tinian, General Schmidt was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal.
Continuing in command of the Fifth Amphibious Corps, the General led it through the Iwo Jima operation.
Following the conclusion of hostilities, the General led the Fifth Corps in the occupation of the Japanese homeland. On 15 February 1946, he was ordered back to the United States to assume command of the Marine Training and Replacement Command, San Diego Area, California.
He served in that capacity until he concluded his 39-year career as a Marine on 1 July 1948, when he was advanced to the four-star rank of General upon retirement at the age of 61.
General Schmidt died 10 February 1968.
Schmidt's military decorations and awards include:
|1st Row||Navy Cross||Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ two 5⁄16" gold stars|
|2nd Row||Legion of Merit||Bronze Star Medal||Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ one 3⁄16" bronze star||Navy Unit Commendation|
|3rd Row||Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal w/ two 3⁄16" bronze stars||Mexican Service Medal||Yangtze Service Medal||World War I Victory Medal w/ Convoy & Escort clasps (two 3⁄16" bronze stars)|
|4th Row||Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)||China Service Medal||American Defense Service Medal||American Campaign Medal|
|5th Row||Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ three 3⁄16" bronze stars||World War II Victory Medal||Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction w/ Diploma||Nicaraguan Medal of Merit w/ silver star|
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- "General Harry Schmidt, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2005-03-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harry Schmidt (U.S. Marine).|
- Captain John C. Chapin, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Ret.) (1994). "Breaking the Outer Ring: Marine Landings in the Marshall Islands ". World War II Commemorative Series, Washington, D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center, United States Marine Corps.
- Colonel Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret.) (1994). "Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima". World War II Commemorative Series, Washington, D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
|Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division
18 August 1943 – 11 July 1944
Clifton B. Cates
|Commanding General of the V Amphibious Corps
12 July 1944 – 15 February 1946