Randolph Carter Berkeley
Major General, United States Marine Corps
|Retired Major General
Randolph Carter Berkeley, who earned the Medal of Honor at Vera Cruz, Mexico,
in 1914, died January 31, 1960 in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Commissioned a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant during the Spanish-American War, he completed over 40 years of active service in the Corps, including service at sea and in the Philippines, Cuba, Panama, China, Haiti, Nicaragua and Guam. In addition to theMedal of Honorhe was awarded the Navy Cross as commander of the 11th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua in 1927 and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal as Chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Brigade in that country in 1928-29.
Berkeley, then a Major, was commanding the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment when he took part in the action which earned him the nation's highest decoration on April 21-22, 1914. Relations between the United States and the Huerta government of Mexico had been strained for some time, and a landing force of Marines and Sailors was ordered ashore at Vera Cruz after a Huerta officer had arrested several U.S. Navy personnel at Tampico. The 2nd Regiment was the first ashore, meeting resistance from Mexican troops about noon on April 21. The citation for his Medal of Honor describes his part in the actions:
"For distinguished conduct in battle, the engagement of Vera Cruz, April 21st and 22nd, 1914, eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion; he was in the fighting of both days and exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action. His cool judgment and courage and his skill in handling his men in encountering and overwhelming the machinegun and rifle fire from Cinco de Mayo and parallel streets accounts for the small percentage of the losses of Marines under his command."
He was born January 9, 1875 at Staunton, Virginia, where he attended grade and high school. He graduated from the Potomac Academy at Alexandria, Virginia, in 1891 and was appointed a Second Lieutenant of Marines on August 8, 1898, for service during the Spanish-American War. He was stationed at the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., until he was honorably discharged on January 9, 1899.
He returned to the Corps in April 1899, when he was appointed a First Lieutenant. His subsequent promotions include Captain, July 1900, Major, October 1910, Lieutenant Colonel, August 1916, Colonel, July 1918, Brigadier General, July 1930 and Major General on his retirement, February 1939. In addition to his service at posts in the U.S., he served on a variety of assignments at sea and abroad before the action at Vera Cruz. He served aboard USS Oregon from October 1899 to March 1901; aboard USS Helena from July 1901 to August 1902; on expeditionary duty in Panama from December 1904 to August 1906; on expeditionary duty in Cuba from September to October 1906; aboard USS Kentucky as commander of its Marine Detachment, from December 1907 to November 1909; in the Philippines and China from December 1908 to October 1910. He took command of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Advanced Base Regiment in December 1913 at Pensacola, Florida, and sailed with it for Vera Cruz in March 1914. He returned to the U.S. in December 1914 and was stationed at Philadelphia until June 1915 when he sailed to Guam to command the Marine Barracks on that Island. Returning from Guam in November 1917, he served at the Marine Barracks, New York and Charleston, South Carolina, during the next two years.
He was again ordered to expeditionary duty in October 1919, serving for two years with the 1st Provisional Brigade of Marines in Haiti. He returned from that country in November 1921 and served at New York, Norfolk and Quantico. He completed the Field Officer's Course in August 1925 and completed a year of study at the Army War College in June 1926, returning from there to Quantico as commander of the 1st Marine Regiment. He served in that capacity for the next two years, except for the period from May to August 1927, when he was commanding the 11th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua.
He was ordered again to Nicaragua in May 1928, serving there for a year as Chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Brigade. After his return to the U.S. in April 1929, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Norfolk Navy Yard. He served there until August 1930 when he was ordered to Quantico, Virginia. There he commanded the Marine Corps Schools until November 1931, when he was again ordered to Nicaragua, this time as commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade.
He returned to the U.S. in January 1933 and commanded the Marine Barracks at Parris Island, South Carolina. He was then ordered to Marine Headquarters, Washington, D.C., where he was the President of the Marine Examining and Retiring Boards until December 1938. He reached the statuary age in January 1939 and was placed on the retired list the following month as a Major General.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, his medals and decorations include: Spanish Campaign Medal; Philippines Campaign Medal; Mexican Campaign Medal; Haitian Campaign Medal; World War I Victory Medal; the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal; the Presidential Medal of Merit. Following his retirement, he lived in Beaufort and Port Royal, South Carolina, until his death at the Naval Hospital at Beaufort, January 31, 1960.
He was survived by two sons, both Marine officers, Major General James Philipps and Colonel Randolph Carter, Jr. He was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery on February 4, 1960.
His first wife, Carrie Anna Berkeley (October 1, 1884-July 1, 1907) died while giving birth to James Philipps Berkeley. She is buried in a site adjacent to that of her husband and his second wife.
His second wife, Bessye Bancroft Berkeley (March 2, 1878-August 23,
1959), is buried with him. She was the wife of a U.S. Naval Officer.
BERKELEY, RANDOLPH CARTER
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 9 January 1875, Staunton, Virginia. Appointed from: Washington, D.C. G.O. No.: 177 4 December 1915. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal.
Citation: For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Maj. Berkeley was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion; was in the fighting of both days, and exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through action. His cool judgment and courage, and his skill in handling his men in encountering and overcoming the machinegun and rifle fire down Cinco de Mayo and parallel streets account for the small percentage of the losses of marines under his command.
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006
BERKELEY, BESSYE BANCROFT W/O RANDOLPH CARTER
BERKELEY, CARRIE A P W/O RAND C
BERKELEY, RANDOLPH CARTER
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