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Harry Schmidt (USMC)


Harry Schmidt (USMC)

Harry Schmidt
General Harry Schmidt, USMC
Nickname(s) The Dutchman
Born (1886-09-25)September 25, 1886
Holdrege, Nebraska
Died February 10, 1968(1968-02-10) (aged 81)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1909-1948
Rank General
Commands held 4th Marine Division (United States) 4th Marine Division
V Amphibious Corps V Amphibious Corps
Battles/wars Philippine-American War
Mexican Revolution
*Battle of Veracruz
World War I
Banana Wars
*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
Awards Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star

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."

Early career

Harry Schmidt was born in Holdrege, Nebraska, on 25 September 1886. He attended Nebraska State Normal College before entering the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant on 17 August 1909.

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.

From February 1928 to June 1929, Schmidt was with the Second Brigade of Marines in Nicaragua as Brigade Intelligence and Operations Officer.

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

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