Julian Constable Smith
United States Marine Corps
Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith, who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in the Tarawa
fighting of World War II, and who was placed on the retired list December 1, 1946, after 38 years
as a Marine Corps officer, died November 5, 1975. Promoted to his present rank upon
retirement, for having been specially commended in combat, he holds the Navy Cross for
heroism in Nicaragua, the Distinguished Service Medal for his part in the Tarawa campaign and
a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal for his performance as Commanding
General, Expeditionary Troops, Third Fleet, in the capture of the Southern Palaus and Ulithi
General Smith, one of the Marine Corps' outstanding leaders in the field of amphibious warfare,
was born in Elkton, Maryland, on September 11, 1885, and was a graduate of the University of
Delaware. He received his appointment as a second lieutenant in January, 1909, and underwent
his basic training as a Marine officer at the Marine Barracks, Port Royal, South Carolina.
Following his promotion to first lieutenant in September, 1912, he was ordered to the Marine
Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and in December of the following year, he was
transferred to Panama, remaining there until January, 1914. As a member of an expeditionary
force, he departed from Panama to take part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico, from April
to December, 1914.
Upon returning to the United States, he again was ordered to Philadelphia, this time as a
member of the 1st Brigade of Marines. In August, 1915, he began a tour of expeditionary duty in
Haiti, and in April, 1916, was transferred to Santo Domingo with the 2nd Battalion, 1st
Regiment, 1st Brigade. In December of the same year, he was ordered back to the Philadelphia
Navy Yard, this time, to serve with the Advance Base Force there.
Following his promotion to captain in March, 1917, the general was ordered to a course of
instruction at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and several months later he
was assigned to Quantico, Virginia, as an instructor in the Marine Officers' Training Camps. In
the early part of 1919, he sailed for Cuba in command of a machine gun battalion. After his
service there he returned to the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, and a short time later was
transferred to Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.
In August, 1920, General Smith again assumed duties at Quantico, and in July of the following
year, he was ordered to sea duty on the staff of the Commander, Scouting Fleet. Two years later,
he again returned to Washington, this time to serve in the office of the Chief Coordinator,
Bureau of the Budget. He left Washington to enter the Army Command and General Staff
School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and after graduation in 1928, was again ordered to Marine
Corps Headquarters. He captained the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Team Squad, for the year of
1928, while detached to temporary duty at Quantico, and also headed the 1930 squad.
The general's next assignment was with the Marines at Corinto, Nicaragua, where he began a
three-year tour of expeditionary duty in August, 1930. Following that, he returned to Quantico,
where he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, after another short tour of
duty in Philadelphia, he returned to Marine Corps Headquarters for duty with the Division of
Operations and Training. With his promotion to colonel, he was named Director of Personnel.
In June, 1938, General Smith became Commanding Officer, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, at
Quantico, where he remained until his promotion to brigadier general. He was then ordered to
London, England, where he served with the Naval Attache, American Embassy, as a Naval
Observer. He returned to the United States in August, 1941, and again reported to Quantico.
Upon appointment to major general in October, 1942, he assumed command of the Fleet Marine
Force Training Schools at New River, North Carolina. He took command of the 2nd Marine
Division in May, 1943, and served in that capacity until April of the following year, when he
was named Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops, Third Fleet.
In December, 1944, General Smith took command of the Department of the Pacific, with
headquarters in San Francisco, California. From there, he was ordered to Parris Island, South
Carolina, where he commanded the Marine Corps Recruit Depot from February, 1946, until his
retirement. After his death in November 1975, General Smith was buried in Arlington National
In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of a second and the Navy
Cross, the general's decorations and medals include the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon; the
Expeditionary Medal with two bronze stars (Cuba, 1912, Haiti, 1916, and Santo Domingo,
1916); the Mexican Service Medal (1914); the Haitian Campaign Medal (1915); the Dominican
Campaign Medal (Santo Domingo, 1916); the Victory Medal (1917-18); the Second Nicaraguan
Campaign Medal (1930-33); the American Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the American Campaign Medal; the
World War II Victory Medal; the Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction with Diploma (Nicaragua,
1930-33); the Dominican Order of Military Merit, First Class with White Insignia (Santo
Domingo, 1916); and the British Distinguished Service Order.
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