Major General Wendell C. Neville, USMC, (1870-1930)
14th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
5 March 1929 - 8 July 1930
Wendell Cushing Neville was born on 12 May 1870 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Appointed from that same state to the U.S. Naval Academy, he graduated in 1890. For his two-year required Midshipman sea duty, he served on board USS Kearsarge then reported to USS Newark. In May 1892, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and reported to the Marine Barracks at Washington, D.C. In February 1894, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was later assigned to USS Cincinnati, then transferred to USS Texas. In June 1897, he was ordered to the Marine Barracks at New York City, New York. While at the Marine Barracks, Neville had temporary duty in August 1898 with the First Marine Battalion during the Spanish-American War and participated in battle at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In March 1899, he was promoted to Captain, with Brevet Rank from June 1898. In August, he was assigned recruiting duty in New York City. The following summer, he reported to the Marine Barracks at Cavite, Philippines, where he served as the military governor of the Basilan Province. While in the region, he also participated in the China Relief Expedition.
In July 1903, Neville returned to the Marine Barracks at Washington, D.C. The following year, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and was promoted to Major in December. In August 1905, he served on board USS Maine. Two years later, he began a series of tours commanding the Marine Barracks in succession at the Washington Navy Yard, the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, then Territory of Hawaii, and the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina. In February 1914, Neville was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and had temporary duty commanding the Second Regiment Marines during the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico. On 21 and 22 April 1914, under constant fire, he courageously led his men during the initial landing and the subsequent engagements to ensure the city's capture. For his "distinguished conduct in battle," he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
In December 1915, after briefly serving with the First Brigade Marines, Neville commanded the U.S. Marine Detachment of the Allied Guard at Peking, China. In August 1916, he was promoted to Colonel. During World War I, Neville took command of the Fifth Marine Regiment. In July 1918, he was promoted to Brigadier General and also assumed command of the Fourth Marine Brigade. In August 1919, he became the Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In March 1920, Neville was temporarily promoted to Major General. In August 1923, he became Commanding General, Department of the Pacific and was permanently promoted to Major General that December. After serving four years in that post, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia. In March 1929, he became the Fourteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps. While serving as Commandant, he suddenly died on 8 July 1930. Wendell C. Neville is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
USS Neville, (AP-16/APA-9), 1941-1946, was named in honor of Major General Neville.
This page features all the images we have concerning Wendell C. Neville.
Medal of Honor citation of Lieutenant Colonel Wendell Cushing Neville, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 101):
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