Henry L. Hulbert

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Henry Lewis Hulbert
Hulbert HL.jpg US Navy Medal of Honor (1862 original).png
then-Sergeant Major Henry Lewis Hulbert, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1867-01-12)January 12, 1867
Kingston upon Hull, England
Died October 4, 1918(1918-10-04) (aged 51)
KIA at Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, France
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1898–1918
Rank First Lieutenant
Captain (approved before death)
Unit USS Philadelphia (C-4)
5th Marines

Second Samoan Civil War

World War I

Awards Medal of Honor
Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart
Croix de guerre

Henry Lewis Hulbert (January 12, 1867 – October 4, 1918) was a United States Marine who served during the Second Samoan Civil War and World War I. As a private, he received the Medal of Honor for distinguished service in Samoa on April 1, 1899.

Hulbert was buried in Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia.[1] His grave can be found in Section 3 Lot 4309.[1]

Early years[edit]

Henry Lewis Hulbert was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England on January 12, 1867. He was the first born into a prosperous family. He attended Felsted School in Essex, and entered the British Colonial Civil Service, with his first appointment in Malaya. While in Malaya, he married Anne Rose Hewitt. A subsequent personal scandal and divorce resulted in Hulbert leaving Malaysia and arriving in the United States.

Second Samoan Civil War[edit]

At age 31, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 28, 1898. He completed his boot camp training at Mare Island, California. His first military action was the British and American expedition of intervention in Samoa. He was part of a 200-man force of Americans, Britons and Samoans which was defeated at the Second Battle of Vailele in 1899 during the Second Samoan Civil War. After the battle the soldierly qualities of Hulbert are best illustrated by the following quotation from a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy dated May 22, 1899:

"The gallantry of Private Henry L. Hulbert, who remained behind at the fence till the last and who was with Lansdale and Monaghan when they were killed, I desire especially to mention."[2]

For this gallantry he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

World War I[edit]

By the time the United States entered World War I, in 1917, Hulbert had reached the highest enlisted rank of sergeant major and was on the staff of Major General George Barnett, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Immediately prior to the U.S. entry into World War I, Hulbert was appointed a Marine Gunner (believed to be the first) with the Fifth Regiment on March 27, 1917. He was some five months over the 50 years prescribed in the Annual Report by the Secretary of the Navy (1917):

"Also, the provision that in making the temporary appointments as ensigns the maximum age limit shall be 50 years for commissioned warrant officers and warrant officers has prevented such appointments in the cases of a number of very deserving officers of those classes, and it is hoped that this restriction will be removed."[3]

alt text
Photo of newly appointed Marine Gunner Henry L. Hulbert, USMC, Sixty-sixth Company, 1st Battalion, Fifth Regiment (Colonel Wendell C. Neville, USMC, commanding officer; Lieutenant Colonel Logan Feland, USMC, executive officer)

Upon the formation of the Fifth Regiment for service in France, Hulbert immediately volunteered for foreign service and the character of his service with the American Expeditionary Forces is best indicated by the following extracts from the endorsements of his commanding officers recommending him for promotion to commissioned rank:[4]

  • Commanding officer, Sixty-sixth Company: "I can not too strongly support Gunner Hulbert's request...If the young lieutenants recently appointed had half of Mr. Hulbert's energy, professional knowledge, physical ability, or manner of handling men under him, the arduous duties which now devolve upon the average company commander would be materially simplified."
  • Battalion commander, First Battalion, Fifth Regiment: "Gunner Hulbert has proven conclusively, while attached to this battalion, that he is physically and professionally qualified to perform the duties of a commissioned officer. Nervously active, ambitious, zealous, always ready to help with valuable advice and original ideas, he is undoubtedly one of the most efficient officers in the service to-day."
  • Adjutant, First Battalion, Fifth Regiment: "As a young officer new to the service, I wish to state that Mr. Hulbert has helped me a great deal...I served in the same company with Mr. Hulbert and will not hesitate to say that he can hold his own with the younger officers from a physical standpoint...If the Fifth Regiment ever goes over the top I want to go over with Mr. Hulbert."
  • Regimental commander: "Marine Gunner Hulbert, United States Marine Corps, has given excellent service since I assumed command of this regiment. His energy, ability, and length of service merits his promotion to the rank of second lieutenant."

Battle of Belleau Wood[edit]

Hulbert was recognized for multiple acts of bravery during the Battle of Belleau Wood. For one such action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was recommended by General John J. Pershing for immediate commission as a Captain.

Soissons and Mont Blanc Ridge[edit]

He distinguished himself at Soisson, was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and received an immediate promotion to First Lieutenant. He was killed in action at Mont Blanc Ridge in France on October 4, 1918. At the time of his death, his promotion to Captain had been approved by the Secretary of the Navy. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre Order of the Army.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Hulbert received the following medals for his distinguished military service:

Medal of Honor
Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart
Croix de guerre (France)

Hulbert was also eligible for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Spanish Campaign Medal, and the World War I Victory Medal.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hulbert (DD-342), named in Hulbert's honor, was christened on June 28, 1919, and commissioned and put into service in 1920. The destroyer was moored in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and brought down a Japanese torpedo bomber. The Hulbert was decommissioned in 1945.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Henry L. Hulbert". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  2. ^ Letter of Commendation references Lieutenant F.V. Lansdale, USN, and Ensign Monaghan, USN. Letter to Secretary of the Navy, April 5, 1899, Apia, Samoa. Action Report, Captain Edwin White, USN, commanding flagship USS Philadelphia. Enclosure: reports of Lieutenant C.M. Perkins, USMC, and P.A. Surgeon G.A. Lung, USN, in relation to the reconnaissance made by a combined force of British and Americans on the afternoon of the April 1, 1899.
  3. ^ Hearings Before Committee of Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives On Estimates Submitted By the Secretary of the Navy: 1918, Sixty-Fifth Congress. "Statement of Maj. Gen. George Barnett, Commandant Marine Corps". p 238 (Government Printing Office: Washington, 1918). p 238.
  4. ^ Hearings Before Committee of Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives On Estimates Submitted By the Secretary of the Navy: 1918, Sixty-Fifth Congress. "Statement of Maj. Gen. George Barnett, Commandant Marine Corps". p 238 (Government Printing Office: Washington, 1918). p 239.
  5. ^ Awarding of Medals in the Naval Service. Hearing Before A Subcommittee On Naval Affairs United States Senate. Sixty-sixth Congress, Second Session On S. Res. 285. Government Printing Office: Washington, 1920. "Headquarters United States Marine Corps, Washington, January 20, 1920. Pages 265, 266. Marine Officers serving with American Expeditionary Forces awarded the Navy Cross". p 441.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[edit]