PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, (Retired), (1881-1940)

Smedley Darlington Butler was born on 30 July 1881 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Appointed from that same state in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant in May 1898, he was assigned to USS New York and participated in the Spanish-American War. After briefly discharged, he returned to the Marines as a First Lieutenant in April 1899 and received orders to the Marine Battalion at Manila, Philippine Islands. In June 1900, during the China Relief Expedition, he participated in the Battle of Tientsin and was wounded. In July, Butler was promoted to Captain by Brevet Rank for his distinguished conduct in that battle. Returning to the U.S. in April 1901, he served at Marine Barracks, League Island, Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After duty with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, he reported in April 1904 on board USS Lancaster. For his next two tours, he served in the Philippines, first at the Marine Barracks, then with the First Brigade Marines. In November 1907, he had recruiting duty at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was promoted to Major in May 1908.

In December 1909, Butler commanded the Third Marine Battalion at Camp Elliott, Panama Canal. After temporary duty in Nicaragua, he returned to Camp Elliott. On 22 April 1914, he participated as a Battalion Commander in the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, leading his men with skill and courage. For his "distinguished conduct in battle" on this occasion, Butler was awarded the Medal of Honor. In December 1914, he reported to the First Brigade Marines at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but departed to participate in the Haitian Campaign. On 17 November 1915, he led Marines and sailors from USS Connecticut in a concentrated attack at Fort Riviere on the Caco bandits. Leading his men through a small opening on the fort's southern side, he organized an attack that eventually resulted in hand-to-hand combat to crush the resistance. For his "bravery and forceful leadership," Butler was awarded his second Medal of Honor. In August 1916, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became the Commandant of the Gendarmerie d' Haiti.

During World War I, Butler returned to the U.S and was promoted to Colonel in the Summer of 1918. He then commanded the Tenth and the Thirteenth Marine Regiments in France. In October, he was promoted to Brigadier General. In November 1919, he became Commanding General of the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia. From January 1924, he was on a leave of absence, serving as Director of Public Safety for the City of Philadelphia. In February 1926, Butler returned to the U.S. Marine Corps and commanded U.S. Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California. Reporting overseas in March 1927 to China, he commanded Third Marine Brigade. In January 1929, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia. In November, Butler was promoted to Major General. After two years at Quantico, he retired in October 1931 and was placed on the retired list. Smedley D. Butler died on 21 June 1940 and is buried at Oakland Cemetery, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

USS Butler (DD-636, later DMS-29), 1942-1948, and Camp Smedley Butler Marine Corps Base at Okinawa, Japan were named in honor of Major General Butler.

This page features all the images we have concerning Smedley D. Butler.

Photo #: NH 64355

Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, USMC


He was twice awarded the Medal of Honor. His first award was for his actions in the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico and his second award was for his actions during the Haitian Campaign on 17 November 1915. The photograph is undated.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 41KB; 505 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 52761

U.S. Marine Officers of the First Marine Battalion


The battalion is pictured at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, Scavey's Island. They guarded Spanish Prisoners of War in 1898.

Seated left to right:
First Lieutenant James E. Mahoney, USMC;
Captain Herbert L. Draper, USMC;
Colonel Robert W. Hunnington, USMC;
Major Charles L. McCauley, USMC;
Lieutenant Colonel Francis H. Harrington, USMC;
Major William F. Spicer, USMC; and
Captain Wendell C. Neville, USMC

Standing left to right:
First Lieutenant George C. Reid, USMC;
Captain Charles G. Long, USMC;
First Lieutenant Edwin A. Jonas, USMC;
Lieutenant John M. Edgar, M.C., USN;
Second Lieutenant Newt H. Hall, USMC;
Captain Clarence L. A. Ingate, USMC;
Captain William N. McKelvy, USMC;
Major George F. Elliott, USMC;
First Lieutenant Smedley D. Butler, USMC;
Captain Philip M. Bannon, USMC;
Captain Melville J. Shaw, USMC

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 89KB; 740 x 580 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 68840

USS California
(BB-44)

The U.S. Battle Fleet steamed into San Francisco Bay, California on 18 June 1926, where all 68 warships dropped anchor. This was the greatest number of warships that had steamed through the Gold Gate since the entire U.S. Fleet of 144 ships was there in April 1925. Photograph shows, left to right, in foreground, Captain William H. Standley of USS California exchanging salutes with Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, USMC.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 62KB; 740 x 600 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 50744

Admiral Clarence S. Williams, USN


View taken at Tientsin, China, on 9 July 1927 during the Commander-in-Chief's inspection of the Marine Units. Those present, numbered, (left to right):

Commander William R. Purnell, USN;
Brigadier General Smedley. D. Butler, USMC;
Admiral Clarence S. Williams, USN;
Colonel Harry R. Lay, USMC;
Lieutenant Colonel E. B. Hiller, USMC, and;
Mrs. Clarence S. Williams on Butler's right.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 71KB; 740 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 50773

Admiral Clarence S. Williams, USN


View taken at Tientsin, China, on 9 July 1927 during the Commander-in-Chief's inspection of the Marine Units. Williams is in the center, (in whites), with Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, to Williams' left.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 94KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 50775

Admiral C. S. Williams, USN


View taken at Tientsin, China, on 9 July 1927 during the Commander-in-Chief's inspection of the Marine Units. Personnel left to right are:
Major Chester S. Gawne, USMC;
Lieutenant Commander Howard A. Tribou, MC, USN;
Unidentified Marine Officer;
Colonel Harry R. Lay, USMC;
Commander William R. Purnell, USN;
Admiral Clarence W. Williams, USN; and
Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, USMC

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 575 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 45030

United States Marine Band at White House, 12 May 1930


Present are:
Standing
Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador;
President Herbert Hoover; and
John Philip Sousa, Marine Corps Bandmaster
Second row:
Mr. Charles S. Groves;
Mr. Ernest L. Jahncke, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and
Mr. Robert Barry
Third row:
Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC;
Brigadier General Benjamin H. Fuller, USMC;
Brigadier General George Richards, USMC; and
Brigadier General John T. Myers, USMC
Fourth row:
Colonel Louis McCarthy Little, USMC;
Colonel Edward A. Greene, USMC;
Major Henry Leonard, USMC; and
Major Sydney D. Sugar, USMC

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 76KB; 740 x 600 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 49072

President of the United States Herbert C. Hoover


During a White House reception, 12 May 1930.

Present are:
Standing
Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador;
President Herbert Hoover; and
John Philip Sousa, Marine Corps Bandmaster
Second row:
Mr. Charles S. Groves;
Mr. Ernest L. Jahncke, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and
Mr. Robert Barry
Third row:
Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC;
Brigadier General Benjamin H. Fuller, USMC;
Brigadier General George Richards, USMC; and
Brigadier General John T. Myers, USMC
Fourth row:
Colonel Louis McCarthy Little, USMC;
Colonel Edward A. Greene, USMC;
Major Henry Leonard, USMC; and
Major Sydney D. Sugar, USMC

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 80KB; 625 x 765 pixels

 


Medal of Honor citation of Major Smedley D. Butler, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 97):

"For distinguished conduct in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, 22 April 1914. Major Butler was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22nd and in the final occupation of the city."

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Medal of Honor citation of Major Smedley D. Butler, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 104):

"As Commanding Officer of detachments from the Fifth, Thirteenth, Twenty-third Companies and the marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. Connecticut, Major Butler led the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits. Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Major Butler gave the signal to attack and marines from the Fifteenth Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed the Caco resistence. Throughout this perilous action, Major Butler was conspicuous for his bravery and forceful leadership."


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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