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Encyclopedia > Merritt A. Edson
Major General Merritt Austin Edson
Major General Merritt Austin Edson

Major General Merritt Austin Edson (April 25, 1897August 14, 1955), known as "Red Mike", was a general in the United States Marine Corps. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1600x2000, 1262 KB) Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1600x2000, 1262 KB) Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... April 25 is the 115th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (116th in leap years). ... 1897 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... August 14 is the 226th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (227th in leap years), with 139 days remaining. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... United States Marine Corps Emblem The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the U.S. military. ...


Born in Rutland, Vermont and reared in Chester, Vermont, he attended the University of Vermont for two years. Military service interrupted, however, and on June 27, 1916, Pvt Edson of the First Vermont National Guard Regiment was sent to Eagle Pass, Texas, for duty on the Mexican border. He returned to the University in September 1916, but joined the Marine Corps Reserve on June 26 the following year. Rutland, Vermont Rutland is a town located in Rutland County, Vermont. ... Chester, Vermont Chester is a town located in Windsor County, Vermont. ... The University of Vermont The University of Vermont is a university in Burlington, Vermont. ... June 27 is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 187 days remaining. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... Eagle Pass is a city located in Maverick County, Texas, United States. ... The international border between Mexico and the United States runs a total of 3,141 km (1,951 miles) from San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Baja California, in the west to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and Brownsville, Texas, in the east. ... June 26 is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 188 days remaining. ...


Thus began a career which was to be characterized by its diversity and distinguished even by the high standards of the Marine Corps. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Marine Corps on October 9, 1917. In September of the next year he sailed for France with the 11th Marines. This regiment saw no combat, but during the last six months of his European tour, 2dLt Edson commanded Company D, 15th Separate Marine Battalion, which had been organized for the express purpose of assisting in the holding of a plebiscite in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Owing to the failure of the United States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, this mission, however, was never carried out. Second Lieutenant is the lowest commissioned rank in many armed forces. ... October 9 is the 282nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (283rd in Leap years). ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the 16 Bundesländer in Germany. ... The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allies and Germany. ...


Following the end of World War I, he began a diversified series of assignments that were to qualify him for the high commands he was to hold in later years. Promoted to first lieutenant on June 4, 1920, he spent the two years at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, as the Adjutant-Registrar of the fledgling Marine Corps Institute. His efforts greatly contributed to the organization and establishment of this "University for Marines". This was followed by a short tour in Louisiana guarding the mail. Combatants Entente Powers Central Powers Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties > 5 million military deaths > 3 million military deaths World War I, also known as the First World War and (before 1939) the Great War, the War of the Nations, War to End All Wars was a world conflict... First Lieutenant is a military rank. ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... 1920 (MCMXX) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January January 7 - Forces of Russian White admiral Kolchak surrender in Krasnoyarsk. ... The Marine Corps Base Quantico, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, is one of the largest United States Marine Corps bases in the world. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... State nickname: Pelican State Official languages English and French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans at last official government census, but probably Baton Rouge since Hurricane Katrina Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) Senators Mary Landrieu (D) David Vitter (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 31st 134,382 km² 16 Population  - Total...


His interest in military aviation then prompted him to apply for flight training in Pensacola, Florida. He earned his gold wings in 1922. Soon after, he was ordered to the Marine Air Station at Guam. Here he had his introduction to the semitropical islands of the Marianas with which his name was later to become so closely linked. Naval Air Station Pensacola, The Cradle of Naval Aviation, is a United States Navy base located in Warrington, Florida, a community southwest of the Pensacola city limits. ... Official language(s) English Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 22nd 170,451 km² 260 km 800 km 17. ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Mariana Islands (sometimes called The Marianas; up to the early 20th century sometimes called the Ladrone Islands) are a group of islands made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the Pacific Ocean. ...


Upon his return to the United States in 1925, 1st Lt Edson first took an extensive course in advanced aviation tactics at Kelly Field, Texas, and then attended the Company Officers' Course at Quantico, Virginia. He graduated with the highest grades ever attained by any student up to that time. For physical reasons, however, 1stLt Edson had to give up his flying status in 1927 and revert to ground. He was then assigned to duty as Ordnance Officer at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) None. ... 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, formerly Navy Yard, was the first naval shipyard of the United States. ...


Late in the same year, he was ordered to sea duty as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment on the Denver (CL-16) and was promoted to captain on December 21, 1927. During her service in Central American waters, Capt Edson's detachment was ashore in Nicaragua during the period February 1928 to 1929. In command of 160 picked and specially trained Marines, he fought twelve separate engagements with the Sandino-led bandits and denied them the use of the Poteca and Coco River valleys. Here he received his first Navy Cross for actions in which "his exhibition of coolness, intrepidity, and dash so inspired his men that superior forces of bandits were driven from their prepared positions and severe losses inflicted upon them." From a grateful Nicaraguan government, Capt Edson was also awarded the Nicaraguan Medal of Merit with Silver Star. The first USS Denver (C-14) was launched 21 June 1902 by Neafie and Levy Ship and Engine Building Co. ... Captain is both a nautical term and a military rank. ... December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Commonly, Central America is the region of North America located between the southern border of Mexico and the northwest border of Colombia, in South America. ... Sandino (centre) en route to Mexico. ... The Coco River, formerly known as the Segovia River, is a river in southern Honduras and northern Nicaragua. ... The Navy Cross The Navy Cross is the second highest medal that can be awarded by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. ...


In September 1929, Capt Edson returned to the United States and was assigned as tactics instructor to fledgling Marine lieutenants at the Basic School in Philadelphia. Upon detachment from that duty he became Ordnance and War Plans Officer at the Philadelphia Depot of Supplies for the next four years.-1...


This ordnance duty was not new to Capt Edson who was closely associated with the development of small arms marksmanship within the Marine Corps. In 1921, he had been a firing member of the winning Marine Corps Team at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. In 1927, 1930, and 1931, he served with the rifle and pistol teams as assistant coach. During the regional matches of 1932 and 1933, he acted as team coach and captain, respectively. Upon the resumption of the National Matches in 1935, he was captain of the Marine Corps national rifle and pistol teams of 1935 and 1936, winning the national trophies in both years. Camp Perry is a National Guard training facility located on the shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. ... Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus (largest metropolitan area is Cleveland) Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 34th 116,096 km² 355 km 355 km 8. ...


After short tours at Parris Island and Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C., he was enrolled in the Senior Officers' Course at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia in 1936. He was promoted to major on February 9, 1936. Foreign duty as operations officer with the 4th Marines in Shanghai, China from 1937 to 1939, enabled Maj Edson to observe closely Japanese military operations. The knowledge thus gained stood him in good stead during the Pacific war. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is an 8,095 acre (32. ... Location in the United States of America Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Major is a military rank denoting an officer of mid-level command status. ... February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The 4th Marine Regiment was formerly an organic part of the United States Marine Corps 3rd Division; currently each of the Regiments three separate battalions is attached as a fourth battalion to the Marine infantry brigades of the 1st Marine Division. ... Shanghai (Chinese: 上海 pinyin: ▶ (help· info); Shanghainese IPA: ; Lumazi: Zanhe) , situated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta, is Chinas largest city. ... US landings in the Pacific, 1942–1945 The Pacific War occurred in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in Asia. ...


His second tour of duty at Marine Corps Headquarters began in May 1939 when, as Inspector of Target Practice, he was in a position to stress the importance of every Marine being highly skilled with his own individual arm. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on April 1, 1940. In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 274 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In June 1941, he was again transferred to Quantico, to command the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, which was redesignated the 1st Separate Battalion in January 1942. The training exercises which he conducted in the succeeding months with Navy high speed transports (APDs) led to the organization of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion in early 1942. This unit was the prototype of every Marine Raider battalion formed throughout the war. He was promoted to colonel on May 21, 1942. The 5th Marine regiment is usually an integral part of the U.S. First Marine Division. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Colonel is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with the corresponding ranks existing in nearly every country in the world. ... May 21 is the 141st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (142nd in leap years). ... This article is about the year. ...


Colonel Edson's introduction to the Pacific theater of operations began with the overseas training of his raider command in American Samoa. On August 7, 1942, the Free World was thrilled by the news that his raiders, together with the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, had landed on Tulagi, British Solomon Islands. Two days of severe fighting secured this strategic island. This action was followed by raids on Savo Island and at Tasimboko, on Guadalcanal. Col Edson was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for his successful conduct of the Tulagi operation. The Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) is the term used in the United States for all military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, during World War II. Pacific War is a more common name, around the world, for the broader conflict between the Allies and Japan... August 7 is the 219th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (220th in leap years), with 146 days remaining. ... This article is about the year. ... Tulagi, less commonly Tulaghi, is a small island (5. ... Savo Island is a minor island in the Solomon Islands group in the South Pacific ocean. ... Guadalcanal, a 2,510 square mile (6,500 km²) island in the Pacific Ocean and a province of the Solomon Islands, is largely a jungle. ...


His crowning glory and the battle for which he will be long rememberd by Marines and a grateful American people was the defense of Lunga Ridge on Guadalcanal on the night of September 13–14, 1942. His Raider Battalion, with two companies of the 1st Parachute Battalion attached, had been sent to a ridge line a short distance south of Henderson Field. Here they were supposed to get a short rest. When the Japanese forces unexpectedly and viciously attacked the position on the first evening, they penetrated the left center of Col Edson's line of resistance, thus forcing a withdrawal to a reserve position. September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years). ... Several airports have been named Henderson Field, most famously on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where control of the airstrip was the focus of months of fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. It was renamed to Honiara International Airport in 2003, but the name lives on...


Here approximately 800 Marines withstood the repeated assaults of more than 2,500 Japanese on the "Bloody Ridge", as it became known to the world. To the men of the 1st Raider Battalion, however, who sustained 256 casualties, it became "Edson's Ridge", in high honor of the officer who "was all over the place, encouraging, cajoling, and correcting as he continually exposed himself to enemy fire." His nickname, "Red Mike", originating from his red beard worn in Nicaragua days, was also his code name during this battle. From then on Col Edson was known by all as "Red Mike". It was for this action that he received the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ...


A brother officer said of him shortly thereafter that officers and men would willingly follow him anywhere—the only problem was to keep up with him. A combat correspondent testified that "he is not a fierce Marine. In fact he appears almost shy. Yet Colonel Edson is probably among the five finest combat commanders in all the United States armed forces."


It was also said that he was not readily given to a show of emotion. Nevertheless, when his personal runner of several months' service was killed at the second battle of the Matanikau River on Guadalcanal, witnesses said he "cried like a baby," and later stated that the man could never be replaced.


In August 1943, he was named Chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Division, which was then preparing for the invasion of Tarawa. He prepared an estimate of the situation for this operation which proved to be surprisingly accurate and has since become a classic in Marine Corps military literature. For this action he received the Legion of Merit and was promoted to brigadier general (1 December 1943). Later, he was appointed Assistant Division Commander of the 2d Marine Division and participated in this capacity in the capture of Saipan and Tinian. The Silver Star was awarded him for these operations. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division is a division of the United States Marine Corps, which forms the ground-force component of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. ... The Battle of Tarawa was a battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, largely fought from November 20-23, 1943. ... The Legion of Merit is an awesome award which only the bravest of Americans will ever win. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... December 1 is the 335th (in leap years the 336th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... The battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June 1944 to 9 July 1944. ... The battle of Tinian was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Tinian in the Mariana Islands from 24 July 1944 to 1 August 1944. ... The Silver Star is a United States military decoration and is the third highest medal for valor. ...


Brigadier General Edson became Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in October 1944, and for his services during the ensuing year was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. Duty as Commanding General, Service Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, rounded out 44 months of continuous service in the war zone. When a young officer once asked him when he might expect to be rotated back to the United States, BGen Edson replied, "When the war's over; when the job's done." 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In December 1945, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and, in February 1947, to Marine Corps Headquarters. Retirement from active duty came at the age of 50 years and after more than 30 years in the military service of his country. He was promoted to major general at the time of his retirement on August 1, 1947. 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the senior military officer in the United States Navy. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... August 1 is the 213th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (214th in leap years), with 152 days remaining. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Following his retirement, MajGen Edson's civilian service was equally distinguished. He became the first Commissioner of the Vermont State Police, organizing the force partially from an older organization of motor vehicle officers. He set up an efficient organization on a semi-military basis, a system which has since been adopted by other states.


Returning to Washington, D.C., in July 1951, MajGen Edson became Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. His major efforts in that post were directed in stimulating the interest of Americans in rifle marksmanship. Concurrently, he campaigned vigorously for a Marine Corps adequate both in size and strength for its many commitments. 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... This article concerns the National Rifle Association of the USA. For the UK organisation, see National Rifle Association, UK The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is a 501(c)(4) group for the protection of gun rights in the United States. ...


Major General Edson died on August 14, 1955 in Washington, D.C. At the time of his death, in addition to his duties at the Rifle Association, he was the Navy representative on the Defense Advisory Committee on Prisoner of War Problems. This group formulated recommended standards of conduct for American prisoners of war. These were later adopted and promulgated as the Code of Conduct for all American servicemen. August 14 is the 226th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (227th in leap years), with 139 days remaining. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ...


To those who knew him personally, MajGen Edson would be best remembered for his keen professionalism, his magnificent personal leadership in battle, and his sympathetic understanding of the soul of a Marine.


MajGen Edson's numerous decorations included:

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... The Navy Cross The Navy Cross is the second highest medal that can be awarded by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. ... The Silver Star is a United States military decoration and is the third highest medal for valor. ... The Legion of Merit is an awesome award which only the bravest of Americans will ever win. ... USA and USAF Presidential Unit Citation Please see Presidential Unit Citation for other versions of this award The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action on or after 7 December 1941 against an armed enemy. ... Army & Navy Mexican Service Medals The Mexican Service Medal is an award of the United States military which was established by General Orders of the United States War Department on December 12, 1917. ... The World War I Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was first created in 1919. ... First and Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medals The Nicaraguan Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States Navy which was authorized by Presidential Order of Woodrow Wilson on September 22, 1913. ... The China Service Medal was a military medal awarded to U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel. ... The American Defense Service Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created in 1941 by Executive Order of President Franklin Roosevelt. ... American Campaign Medal The American Campaign Medal was a decoration of the United States military which was first created in 1942 by order of President Franklin Roosevelt. ... The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal is a service decoration of the Second World War which was awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. ... WWII Victory Medal The World War II Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. ... Source: Veterans Affairs Canada The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and other formerly Commonwealth countries, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. ...

Source

  • USMC.mil: biography of MajGen Merritt Edson

 
 

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