Harry Bluett Liversedge
Brigadier General, United States Marine Corps
Brigadier General Harry Bluett Liversedge, whose regiment figured in the historic Iwo Jima flag raising, died in 1951 after almost 25 years of Marine Corps service. His last assignment was as Director of the Marine Corps Reserve.
The former Olympic track star was awarded his second Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism as commander of the 28th Marines at Iwo Jima. He had won his first while leading the crack 1st Marine Raider Regiment in the tough jungle fighting on New Georgia. The citation for the second Navy Cross states in part:
"Landing on the fire-swept beaches 22 minutes after H-Hour, (the then) Colonel Liversedge gallantly led his men in the advance inland, executing a difficult turning maneuver to the south, preparatory to launching the assault on Mount Suribachi.."
Two decades ago, the name of Liversedge was familiar one in sports page headlines, when as a member of the Navy track squads, he participated in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games. He also figured prominently in football as a member of the championship Marine football teams of the early '20's.
Born in Volcano, California, on September 21, 1894, he attended the University of California at Berkeley. While a student at that school from 1914-17, he set an inter-collegiate mark with the 16-pound shot. It was in that event that he participated in the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp, winning third place in the international competition.
General Liversedge began his career in May, 1917, when he enlisted as a private, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in September, 1918. He was promoted to first lieutenant in July, 1919 while serving with the Fifth Brigade in France.
Following his return to the United States in August, 1919, he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, but shortly thereafter was assigned to the Second Provisional Marine Brigade at Santo Domingo, arriving in October of that year. In April of the following year he was returned to the United States and played football in the Army-Marine Corps game at Baltimore, Maryland.
Upon return from the Olympic Games in 1920 and after a tour at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, he was ordered to Marine Barracks, Quantico in March 1922. As aide to Brigadier General John H. Russell, he later sailed to Port au Prince, Haiti, but was ordered back to Quantico in August of the same year. He returned to Haiti in December of that year for duty as aide to the American High Commissioner.
In July, 1923, he reported for duty again at Quantico, and in the early part of the following year was transferred to the Naval Academy for participation in the 1924 Olympics. He returned to Quantico in August of that year, this time to attend the Company Officers' Course at the Marine Corps Schools. Upon completion of his course he was transferred to Mare Island, California.
He served at Quantico from September, 1926 to February, 1927 when he was detached for duty in China. Following his arrival in the Orient he was temporarily detached to the Third Brigade at Tientsin to act as boxing coach, and while in Shanghai, participated in the International Track and Field Meets.
In August, 1929, he was transferred to Quantico and in November of the same year was ordered to the Marine Corps Base at San Diego, California. Following his promotion to the rank of captain in January, 1930, he was ordered to Headquarters, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, in May, 1932. There he served as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General.
He served aboard the USS California, from June, 1933 to June, 1935, when he returned to Quantico. He completed the Senior Course at the Marine Corps Schools and in June, 1936, was transferred to serve on the Staff of the Basic School, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia. He was appointed a major in July of that year.
Early in 1938 he was again ordered to Quantico, this time to serve with the First Marine Brigade. In May, 1940 another transfer saw the General on the West Coast. There he was assigned duty as the Inspector-Instructor, Fourteenth Battalion, Marine Corps Reserve at Spokane, Washington.
Following his promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel in August, 1940, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, and was subsequently assigned to the Eighth Marines, Second Marine Division.
In January, 1942, General Liversedge departed from the United States for American Samoa, in command of the Second Battalion, Eighth Marines. He was promoted to colonel in May of that same year and in August he assumed command of the Third Marine Raider Battalion. He led this unit ashore at Pavuvu in the unopposed occupation of the Russell Island. He commanded the battalion until March, 1943 when he was given command of the newly-organized First Marine Raider Regiment.
In January, 1944, he was transferred to the Fifth Marine Division and assumed command of the Twenty-eighth Marines. He gallantly led the "twenty-eighth" ashore in the Iwo Jima campaign, for which he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of his Second Navy Cross. Following a brief tour of duty with the occupation forces in Japan, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base in San Diego in March, 1946. In July, 1946 he was assigned duties as Director of the Twelfth Marine Reserve District and District Marine Officer, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco.
He served in that capacity until he was named assistant commander of the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, in February, 1948. In May of that year, he was promoted to brigadier general, and the following May, he took command of Fleet Marine Force, Guam, where he remained until April, 1950. He then served briefly as Deputy Commander, Marine Barracks, Camp Pendleton, before becoming Director of the Marine Corps Reserve in June, 1950. He died at the Navy Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, on November 25, 1951.
In addition to the Navy Cross with Gold Star
in lieu of a Second Navy Cross, his decorations and medals included: Bronze
Star Medal (Army); Presidential Unit Citation; Victory Medal with France
clasp and Maltese Cross; Expeditionary Medal with Bronze star; Yangtze
Service Medal; American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific
Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars; American Campaign Medal; World
War II Victory Medal; and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Looking for info on Kate Bluett who married Mr. Liversedge. They had at least one child, Harry Bluett Liversedge. Harry was a Brigadier General for the USMC, won a medal in the 1920 Olympics. Harry was born Sept 24, 1894 in Volcano,Amador Co, California, and died 1953 in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery but the Stockton Marine Corps Club honors Harry annually with a memorial at his gravesite in Pine Grove, California.
Added: 28 December 2002
Updated: 20 July 2003
Navy Cross (2)