PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

General Clifton B. Cates, USMC (Retired), (1893-1970)
19th Commandant of the Marine Corps
1 January 1948-31 December 1951

Clifton Bledsoe Cates was born on 31 August 1893 in Tiptonville, Tennessee. Appointed from that same state in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in August 1917. During World War I, he served with the Sixth Marine Regiment in France, where he was promoted to First Lieutenant. Following the war, he was assigned as a White House aide and Aide-de-Camp to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. A year later, he was promoted to Captain and ordered as Aide to Commanding General, Department of the Pacific located at San Francisco, California. In June 1923, he received orders to USS California, serving on board until transferred to the Fourth Marine Regiment at San Diego, California. Reporting for recruiting duty in March 1928, he served at Spokane, Washington, followed with duty at Omaha, Nebraska. In April 1929, he rejoined the Fourth Marines at Shanghai, China. In October 1931, he was promoted to Major and later reported to the War Plans Division at Headquarters, Marine Corps. In July 1935, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

In August 1937, Cates returned to Shanghai, China, as a battalion commander with the Sixth Marine Regiment, later transferring to Fourth Marines. While attending the U.S. Army War College in April 1940, he was promoted to Colonel and later reported as the Director of The Basic School at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In May 1942, he commanded the First Marine Division, leading them at the Guadalcanal Campaign. In September, he was promoted to Brigadier General. Returning to the U.S., he became Commandant of the Marine Corps School at Quantico, Virginia. In February 1944, he was promoted to Major General. During that Summer, he led the Fourth Marine Division, participating in the Mariana and Tinian Island campaigns. In February-March 1945, he the Fourth Marine Division during the Battle for Iwo Jima.

In December 1945, Cates briefly served as the President of the Marine Corps Equipment Board at Quantico, Virginia, then was assigned as the Commanding General of the Marine Barracks at that location. In January 1948, he was promoted to General and became the Commandant of the Marine Corps leading the Marines during the Korean War. In 1952, he was reverted to the rank of Lieutenant General and returned as Commandant of the Marine Corps School at Quantico. In June 1954, he retired and was promoted to General on the retired list. Clifton B. Cates died on 4 June 1970 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

This page features, and provides links to, selected views concerning Clifton B. Cates.

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Photo #: NH 104707

Major General Clifton B. Cates, USMC


Undated photograph taken after 1942.

Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Naval History & Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 52KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 104708

General Clifton B. Cates, USMC


Photograph taken while Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1948-1952.

Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Naval History and Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 89KB; 600 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 104709

General Clifton B. Cates, USMC


Photograph taken while Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1948-1952.

Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Naval History and Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 103KB; 705 x 925 pixels

 
Photo #: USMC 7938

Belleau Wood Sector Survivors, 18 June 1918


Among the surviving U.S. Marines Officers pictured with the 2nd Battalion, Sixth Regiment are:

Major Thomas Holcomb, USMC;
First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, USMC; and
First Lieutenant Graves B. Erskine, USMC

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 113KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 92757

Brigadier General Clifton B. Cates, USMC, (left)
and
Major General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC

The Marine Corps officers are scanning the horizon on Guadalcanal, 1943.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland

Online Image: 113KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-284248

Tinian Flag Raising Ceremonies, August 1944


The Navy and Marine Corps leaders present: (left to right)

Vice Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN;
Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC;
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN;
Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC;
Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN;
Major General Thomas E. Watson, USMC;
Major General Clifton B. Cates, USMC

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives colleciton

Online Image: 81KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-284249

Tinian Flag Raising Ceremonies, August 1944.


The Navy and Marine Corps leaders present: (left to right)

Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC;
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN;
Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN;
Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC;
Major General Clifton B. Cates, USMC; and
Commander Frederic S. Withington, USN

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: USMC 116318

Iwo Jima Campaign, 1945


Marine Division Commanders at the official flag raising ceremonies on Iwo Jima, 14 March 1945.

Present: (left to right)
Major General Keller E. Rockey, USMC,
(Commanding General, Fifth Marine Division);
Major General Graves B. Erskine, USMC,
(Commanding General, Third Marine Division; and
Major General Clifton B. Cates, USMC,
(Commanding General, Fourth Marine Division)
Photographed by Obie Newcomb.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 75KB; 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 

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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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