PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

General Graves B. Erskine, USMC (Retired), (1897-1973)

Graves Blanchard Erskine was born on 28 June 1897 in Columbia, Louisiana. Appointed from the same state in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in July 1917, which was followed by a promotion to First Lieutenant in August. During World War I, he served with Sixth Marine Regiment in France, where he was wounded. In July 1920, he was promoted to Captain and received orders to Kansas City, Missouri, for recruiting duty. During the fall of 1921, he reported on board USS Olympia, then transferred to the Second Marine Brigade in Santo Domingo. In September 1924, he was assigned to become the Depot Quartermaster at the Marine Barracks located at Quantico, Virginia. Completing the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he instructed at the Marine Corps School at Quantico, beginning a period instructing at the facility and at The Basic School located at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between positions, beginning in 1928, he served two years with the Nicaragua National Guard Detachment. In March 1934, he was promoted to Major.

In January 1935, Erskine received orders to the U.S. Embassy in Peiping, China, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in March 1936. The following summer, he returned to the Marine Corps School at Quantico, and later transferred to the Fifth Marine Regiment. In March 1941, he was promoted to Colonel. While serving as the Chief of Staff, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, the United States entered World War II. In September 1942, he became the Chief of Staff of Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet. The following summer, he helped plan assaults on the Aleutian Islands. In November 1943, he was promoted to Brigadier General, which was backdated to September 1942, and became the Chief of Staff, Fifth Amphibious Corps, while also serving as its Deputy Commander. With the Fifth Amphibious Corps, he helped to plan and direct the assaults at the Marshall and Mariana Islands Campaigns. In September 1944, he was promoted to Major General and commanded the Third Marine Division, participating in the Battle for Iwo Jima in February-March 1945.

Following the war, Congress appointed Erskine as the Administrator of Retraining and Reemployment Administration. Returning to the Marine Corps in the summer of 1947, he became the Commanding General of Camp Pendleton, California, while also serving as Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. During this period, he also advised on Southeast Asia policies. In December 1950, he became Commanding General, Department of the Pacific. In February 1951, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and later that year became the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. In July 1953, he retired from the Marine Corps to serve as the Director of Special Operations to the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, where he was promoted a month later to General on the retired list. In October 1961, he retired as Director of Special Operations. Graves B. Erskine died on 21 May 1973 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

This page features, and provides links to, selected views concerning Graves B. Erskine.

Additional images related to Graves B. Erskine

Photo #: NH 104682

Major General Graves B. Erskine, USMC


Undated photograph taken after early 1944.

Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 88KB; 590 x 765 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 104258

Staff Critique on Saipan, Summer 1944


U.S. Marine Corps Officers in the midst of a critique on Saipan, circa July 1944, before the Guam Invasion.

Present and seated: (left to right):
Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC;
Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC; and
Brigadier General Graves B. Erskine, USMC
Photo was filed 11 December 1944

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Online Image: 100KB; 725 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-284245

Tinian Flag Raising Ceremony, August 1944


U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Officers at the flag raising.

Present: (left to right)
Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN;
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN;
Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN;
Brigadier General Merrit A. Edson, USMC; and
Brigadier Graves B. Erskine, USMC

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 67KB; 740 x 600 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.

Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 75KB; 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions may be available at National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 104133

Iwo Jima Operation, 1945


Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith (right), who commanded Marine Corps forces during the operation, congratulates Major Graves B. Erskine, USMC, (Commander, Third Marine Division), on the fine work of his division, during flag raising ceremonies at Marine Headquarters on the island, March 1945.
Photographed by TSgt. J.A. Mundell, USMC.

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

Online Image: 70KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 92016

"Operation Remember" Luncheon


Honoring Navy and Marine Corps Leaders of World War II. Photographed in the Hunt Room, Club "21", New York City, New York, 2 May 1957.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 90KB; 740 x 530 pixels

 

Additional images related to Graves B. Erskine


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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