PEOPLE -- UNITED STATES
General Louis H. Wilson, Jr., USMC, (1920-2005)
Louis Hugh Wilson, Jr. was born on 11 February 1920 in Brandon, Mississippi. He graduated from Millsaps College at Jackson, Mississippi and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from that state in May 1941. Commissioned a Second Lieutenant in November, he was assigned to the Ninth Marine Regiment. Sent to the Pacific war zone in February 1943, Wilson was promoted to Captain a short time later. In July 1944 he participated in the campaign to recapture Guam. On 25-26 July, while serving as Commanding Officer of a Rifle Company of the Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, he led his unit in a furious engagement with Japanese troops at Fonte Hill, Guam. Captain Wilson's courageous leadership and individual heroism, despite several wounds, greatly contributed to the accomplishment of his regiment's mission. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Following hospitalization, he commanded Company D, Marine Barracks, Camp Pendleton, California and was later transferred to the Marine Barracks at Washington D.C. In March 1945, he was promoted to Major.
In June 1946, Wilson became the Dean and Assistant Director of the Marine Corps Institute, transferring as Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Following this tour, he became the Officer in Charge of District Headquarters Recruiting Station at New York City. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in November 1951, while serving at the Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, where he commanded a training battalion, Camp Barrett and the school's Executive Office. Completing the Officer's Senior Course in August 1954, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson briefly served as a Senior Instructor at Quantico before becoming Assistant G-3 with the First Marine Division in Korea. He later commanded that Division's Second Battalion, Fifth Marines. In March 1956, he was ordered to Headquarters Marine Corps, with subsquent tours seeing him return to Quantico as Commanding Officer of the Test and Training Regiment and of the Basic School. In June 1960, Wilson was promoted to Colonel.
Following graduation from the National War College, in June 1962 Wilson was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps and, in August 1965, deployed to Vietnam with the First Marine Division. The next summer, Colonel Wilson took command of the Sixth Marine Corps District at Atlanta, Georgia. Promoted to Brigadier General in November 1966, he returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Legislative Assistant to the Commandant. In July 1968, he became Chief of Staff at Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Attaining the rank of Major General in March 1970, Wilson commanded I Marine Amphibious Force, Third Marine Division, at Okinawa. In April 1971 he returned to Quantico for service at the Marine Corps Development and Education Command. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in August 1972 and soon took command of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. In July 1975, with the rank of General, Wilson became the the Twenty-Sixth Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving in that post until his retirement at the end of June 1979. General Louis H. Wilson Jr. died at Birmingham, Alabama on 21 June 2005 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
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