Monday, October 22, 2012

Bruno Arthur Hochmuth

Major General  - USMC

Bruno Arthur Hochmuth (May 10, 1911 - November 14, 1967) was a Major General in the United States Marine Corps who was killed during the Vietnam War. He would be the first and only Marine division commander to be killed in any war. He was also the first American general to be killed in Vietnam, although Air Force Major General William Crumm had been killed in a B-52 collision over the South China Sea. He was killed when a UH-1E Huey from VMO-3 exploded and crashed 5 miles northwest of Hu?. Four others also died in this crash.


Bruno Arthur Hochmuth was born on May 10, 1911 in Houston, Texas. He graduated from high school in 1930 and then graduated in 1935 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education from Texas A&M. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in July 1935, upon resigning a U.S. Army Reserve commission.

After completing The Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, he joined the Marine Detachment at the Texas Centennial in Dallas, Texas in June 1936. In December 1936, he was transferred to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines in San Diego, California. Departing for Shanghai, China, in August 1937, he served briefly with the 6th Marines, then served two and a half years duty with the 4th Marines. While overseas, he was promoted to first lieutenant in July 1938. He remained with the 4th Marines in China until 1940.

Upon his return to the United States, Lieutenant Hochmuth was attached to the 7th Defense Battalion in September 1940. In February 1941, he embarked with the 7th Defense Battalion to American and British Samoa. He was promoted to major in May 1942. He remained in the Pacific Theater for two years, returning to the United States in March 1943, where he was assigned to the Antiaircraft Artillery School at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina until June 1943. From June until May 1944, Hochmuth served as Assistant Director, Command and Staff School, Quantico, Virginia, prior to embarking again for the Pacific area.

In May 1944, Major Hochmuth deployed again as Assistant Operations Officer for the III Marine Amphibious Corps and participated in the Battle of Saipan and Battle of Tinian. He then commanded 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines during the Battle of Okinawa. Following the surrender of Japan he was the executive officer of the 4th Marine Regiment when they landed in Japan on August 29, 1945. As Executive Officer of the 4th Marines, he made the initial landing on Japan August 29, 1945, and on September 2 of the same year attended the formal surrender ceremony at Yokosuka. He then commanded the Marine Barracks at Yokosuka for almost two years. For his service there, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.

Returning to the United States in August 1947, he served at Headquarters Marine Corps for three years, then entered the Industrial College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. He graduated in June 1951, and returned to Camp Lejeune as Commanding Officer, 2nd Marines. In July 1952, he was named G-1 Officer, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1947 with rank from October 1942, and to colonel in January 1951.

Ordered to Kingston, Ontario, in September 1953, he served as Instructor, Canadian Army Staff College, for two years. He again went to the Far East in August 1955 and served as G-4 Officer, 3rd Marine Division, Japan and Okinawa. In August 1956, Colonel Hochmuth was assigned to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, as a member of the Advanced Research Group, Marine Corps Educational Center.

In July 1957, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and served as Chief of Staff through October 1959. While stationed in San Diego, he was promoted to brigadier gneral in November 1959 and served briefly thereafter as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and, later, as Commanding General of the Recruit Training Command.

In January 1960, General Hochmuth reported to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff (Research and Development). While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to major general in August 1963. That November, he returned to the West Coast and assumed duty as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. For meritorious achievement from November 1963 to February 1967, General Hochmuth was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Commendation Medal.

From March 19 to November 14, 1967, Hochmuth served as Commanding General, 3rd Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam. While involved in an inspection tour on November 14 he was killed when the helicopter, in which he was riding, exploded in mid-air and crashed. At the time of his death, Major General Hochmuth was the most senior U.S. military officer to be killed in the war. For service during this period, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

General Hochmuth was buried with full military honors at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California, on November 18, 1967.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller(1898-1970)

(Chesty was the Commanding Officer of NOAH H. BELEW during World War II and the Korean War)

Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, whose barrel chest and blunt manner inspired his nickname, was a thirty-seven-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps who rose to the rank of lieutenant general. The most-decorated Marine in history, he earned five Navy Crosses, the U.S. Navy's second-highest decoration, for fighting in Nicaragua, at Guadalcanal and in New Guinea during World War II (1939-1945), and at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War (1950-1953).

Lewis Burwell Puller was born in West Point, Virginia, on June 26, 1898. A second cousin of General George S. Patton and the grandson of a Confederate veteran, Puller came from a military family and idolized the likes of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee while growing up. He enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute in 1917 but left after a year with hopes of fighting in World War I (1914-1918). He was assigned, instead, to train recruits in South Carolina. In 1919, he graduated from Officer Training School as a second lieutenant but was immediately placed on the inactive list because of postwar troop reductions. Puller reenlisted as a corporal and was deployed to Haiti for five years to train the newly formed Gendarmerie d'Haiti, a constabulary force of Haitian enlisted personnel and Marine officers. He returned to the United States in 1924 and received his commission again as a second lieutenant.

After a two-year tour at Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Puller was assigned to Nicaragua, where he earned the first of his five Navy Crosses while fighting rebels led by Augusto Sandino. On his second tour in Nicaragua, Puller earned another Navy Cross for his gallantry in fighting local rebel forces during a daring ten-day march. He then traveled to China to take command of the famous "Horse Marines" guarding American settlements around Beijing, but was recalled to the United States to teach at the Marine Officers Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1936. In 1940, he returned to China as the executive officer of the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment in Shanghai.

When World War II began, Puller was commanding the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment at New River (later renamed Camp Lejeune), North Carolina, and was sent with his unit to Guadalcanal in the summer of 1942. He won his third Navy Cross leading his battalion in defense of the island's Henderson Airfield against an overwhelming force of seasoned Japanese troops. Promoted to executive officer of the 7th Marine Regiment, Puller earned his fourth Navy Cross in January 1944 at Cape Gloucester in New Guinea, when he braved enemy fire to inspire his men during a Japanese counterattack. He was then given command of the 1st Marine Regiment, which he led at the Battle of Peleliu in the Palau Islands in September and October 1944. He returned to the United States the following month to train recruits at Camp Lejeune, where he remained for the rest of the war.

At the outbreak of the Korean War, Puller received command of his old unit, the 1st Marine Regiment, and led them during the landing at Inchon in September 1950. He then earned his fifth Navy Cross at the Chosin Reservoir later that year by "attacking in a different direction" against ten Chinese divisions. The action also earned him a promotion to brigadier general in 1951 and major general in 1953. In 1954, he assumed command of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune but was forced to retire a year later because of ill health. He requested a return to service in 1966 to fight in Vietnam but was refused because of his age. His son, Lewis Burwell Puller Jr., also served as a Marine officer, losing both legs and parts of his hands in action in South Vietnam in 1968. His autobiography, Fortunate Son, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. The younger Puller killed himself two years later.

Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller died on October 11, 1971, at the age of seventy-three. He was buried in Saluda, in Middlesex County, where he spent his retirement. A Virginia Historical Highway Marker honoring him is located nearby on State Route 33, the "General Puller Highway."