David Monroe Shoup
General, United States Marine Corps
David Monroe Shoup served as the twenty-second Commandant of the Marine
Corps from January 1, 1960 until his retirement from active service, December
As a colonel in World War II, General Shoup earned the Nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor, while commanding the Second Marines, 2d Marine Division, at Betio, a bitterly contested island of Tarawa Atoll. The British Distinguished Service Order was also awarded him for this action. The following citation accompanied his award of the Medal of Honor:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of all Marine Corps troops in action against enemy Japanese forces on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from November 20 to 22, 1943.
"Although severely shocked by an exploding shell soon after landing at the pier, and suffering from a serious painful leg wound which had become infected, Colonel Shoup fearlessly exposed himself to the terrific relentless artillery, and rallying his hesitant troops by his own inspiring heroism, gallantly led them across the fringing reefs to charge the heavily fortified island and reinforced our hard-pressed thinly-held lines. Upon arrival at the shore, he assumed command of all landed troops and, working without rest under constant withering enemy fire during the next two days conducted smashing attacks against unbelievably strong and fanatically defended Japanese positions despite innumerable obstacles and heavy casualties.
"By his brilliant leadership, daring tactics, and selfless devotion to duty, Colonel Shoup was largely responsible for the final, decisive defeat of the enemy and his indomitable fighting spirit reflects great credit upon the United States Naval Service."
General Shoup was the 25th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II. It was presented to him on January 22, 1945 by the late James V. Forrestal, then Secretary of the Navy.
The general was born December 30, 1904, at Battle Ground, Indiana. A 1926 graduate of DePauw University, Greecastle, Indiana, he was a member of he Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University. He served for a month as a second lieutenant in the Army Infantry Reserve before he was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant on July 20, 1926.
Ordered to Marine Officers Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Lieutenant Shoup's instruction was interrupted twice by temporary duty elsewhere in the United States, and by expeditionary duty with the Sixth Marines in Tientsin, China. After serving in China during most of 1927, he completed Basic School in 1928. He then served at Quantico, Virginia; Pensacola, Florida; and San Diego, California.
From June 1929 to September 1931, Lieutenant Shoup was assigned to the Marine detachment aboard the USS MARYLAND. By coincidence, the USS MARYLAND was the flagship for the assault on Tarawa 12 years later --providing emergency Naval gunfire support with her 16-inch guns early on D-Day. On his return from sea duty, he served as a company officer at the Marine Corps Base (later Marine Corps Recruit Depot), San Diego, until May 1932 when he was ordered to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington. He was promoted to first lieutenant in June 1932.
Lieutenant Shoup later served on temporary duty with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho and New Jersey form June 1933 to May 1934. Following duty in Seattle, Washington, he was again ordered to China in November 1934, serving briefly with the Fourth Marines in Shanghai, and, subsequently, at the American Legation in Peiping. He returned to the United States, via Japan, early in June 1936 and was again stationed at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. He was promoted to captain in October 1936.
Captain Shoup entered the Junior Course, Marine
Corps Schools, Quantico, in July 1937. On completing the course in May
1938, he served as an instructor for two years. In June 1940, he joined
the Sixth Marines in San Diego. He was promoted to major in April 1941.
One month later, Major Shoup was ordered to Iceland with the Sixth Marines and, after serving as Regimental Operations Officer, became Operations Officer of the 1st Marine Brigade in Iceland in October 1941. For his service in Iceland during the first three months after the United States entered World War II, he was awarded the Letter of Commendation with Commendation Ribbon. He assumed command of the 2d Battalion, Sixth Marines, in February 1942. On returning to the States in March, the 1st Marine Brigade was disbanded and he returned with this battalion to San Diego. In July 1942, he became Assistant Operations and Training Officer of the 2d Marine Division. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1942.
Sailing from San Diego aboard the USS MATSONIA in September 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Shoup arrived at Wellington, New Zealand, later that month. From then until November 1943, he served as G-3, Operations and Training Officer of the 2d Marine Division during its training period in New Zealand. His service in this capacity during the planning of the assault on Tarawa earned him his first Legion of Merit with Combat "V". During this period he also served briefly as an observer with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal in October 1942 and with the 43d Army Division on Rendova, New Georgia, in the summer of 1943, earning a Purple Heart in the latter operation.
Promoted to colonel November 9, 1943, Colonel Shoup was placed in command of the Second Marines (Reinforced), the spearhead of the assault on Tarawa. During this action he earned the Medal of Honor as well as a second Purple Heart. In December 1943, he became Chief of Staff of the 2d Marine Division. For outstanding service in this capacity from June to August 1944, during the battles for Saipan and Tinian, he was again awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V". He returned to the United States in October 1944.
On his return to the States Colonel Shoup served as Logistics Officer, Division of Plans and Policies, Headquarters Marine Corps. He was again ordered overseas in June 1947. Two months later he became Commanding Officer, Service Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. In June 1949, he joined the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton as Division Chief of Staff. A year later he was transferred to Quantico where he served as Commanding Officer of the Basic School from July 1950 until April 1952. He was then assigned to the Office of the Fiscal Director, Headquarters Marine Corps, serving as Assistant Fiscal Director. He was promoted brigadier general in April 1953.
In July 1953, General Shoup was named Fiscal Director of the Marine Corps. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to major general in September 1955. Subsequently, in May 1956, he began a brief assignment as Inspector General for Recruit Training. Following this, he served as Inspector General of the Marine Corps from September 1956 until May 1957. He returned to Camp Pendleton in June 1957 to become Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division.
General Shoup joined the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa in March 1958 as Commanding General. Following his return to the States, he served as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, from May to October 1959. On November 2, 1959, he was promoted to lieutenant general and assigned duties as Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps.
General Shoup was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 12, 1959 to be the 22d Commandant of the Marine Corps, and his nomination for a four-year term was confirmed by the Senate. Upon assuming his post as Commandant of the Marine Corps on January 1, 1960, he was promoted to four-star rank.
On January 21, 1964, shortly after his retirement, General Shoup was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Lyndon B. Johnson for exceptionally meritorious service as Commandant of the Marine Corps.
A complete list of the general's medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Letter of Commendation with Commendation Ribbon, the Purple Heart with Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Yangtze Service Medal, the Expeditionary Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the British Distinguished Service Order.
General Shoup died 13 January 1983, and was buried in Section 7-A of Arlington National Cemetery.
Biography courtesy of the United States Marine Corps
SHOUP, DAVID MONROE
Rank and organization: Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, commanding officer of all Marine Corps troops on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, and Gilbert Islands, from 20 to 22 November 1943. Entered service at: Indiana. Born: 30 December 1904, Tippecanoe, Indiana.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of all Marine Corps
troops in action against enemy Japanese forces on Betio Island, Tarawa
Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from 20 to 22 November 1943. Although severely
shocked by an exploding enemy shell soon after landing at the pier and
suffering from a serious, painful leg wound which had become infected,
Col. Shoup fearlessly exposed himself to the terrific and relentless artillery,
machinegun, and rifle fire from hostile shore emplacements. Rallying his
hesitant troops by his own inspiring heroism, he gallantly led them across
the fringing reefs to charge the heavily fortified island and reinforce
our hard-pressed, thinly held lines. Upon arrival on shore, he assumed
command of all landed troops and, working without rest under constant,
withering enemy fire during the next 2 days, conducted smashing attacks
against unbelievably strong and fanatically defended Japanese positions
despite innumerable obstacles and heavy casualties. By his brilliant leadership
daring tactics, and selfless devotion to duty, Col. Shoup was largely responsible
for the final decisive defeat of the enemy, and his indomitable fighting
spirit reflects great credit upon the U.S. Naval Service.
WASHINGTON, January 16, 1983 – General David M. Shoup, a retired Commandant of the Marine Corps, a World War II hero and early, outspoken critic of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, died Thursday of a heart ailment at the Circle Terrace Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. He was 78 years old and lived in Alexandria.
General Shoup, who won the Medal of Honor for gallantry at Tarawa in the Pacific, said he believed the extensive buildup of American forces in Vietnam was unjustified. He called President Johnson’s contention that the Vietnam War was vital to United States interest “pure, unadulterated poppycock.”
In 1966, three years after his retirement from the Marine Corps, General Shoup told students of Pierce College in Los Angeles that he did not think “as related to the present and future safety of this country” that “the whole of Southeast Asia was worth a single American life.”
“People keep honking about four Presidents having made commitments,” he said in an interview in 1968. “We never made commitments, legal or otherwise, to furnish combat-type forces to anyone.”
General Shoup, a short, chunky man who had a quiet, matter-of-fact way of speaking, was named Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1959 after 33 years in the service.
General Shoup’s appointment by President Eisenhower caused bitterness among ranking Corps officers. He was advanced over nine other officers, including three lieutenant generals, all of whom immediately applied for retirement.
In 1962, testifying before a special preparedness subcommittee of the Senate formed to investigate anti-Communist indoctrination in the armed forces, General Shoup criticized the panel for sending investigators to question enlisted Marines. The Marine Corps should not be teaching hate, he said; it should be teaching men how to defend themselves and their country.
Among his first actions as head of the Marine Corps was to end the use of swagger sticks “except for those who need them.” They promptly disappeared. He also ended the traditional practice of escorting Marines convicted by a court-martial off the post with drummers playing the death march.
In command of the Marines in the attack on Japanese-held Beito Island of Tarawa, November 20-22, 1943, then-Colonel Shoup earned the highest military honor for valor.
On the first night of the assault, Colonel Shoup was wounded in the leg by shrapnel, but, according to the citation be received, he “fearlessly exposed himself to the terrific and relentless artillery, machine gun and rifle fire.”
Stranded a half mile down the beach from their landing point, Colonel Shoup rallied his troops and, the citation read, “gallantly led them across the fringing reefs to charge the heavily fortified island and reinforce our hard-pressed, thinly held lines.”
After Tarawa he served through the battles of Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands.
David Monroe Shoup was born in Battle Ground, Indiana, on December 30, 1904. He graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, in 1926.
After graduation, he spent a month as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry Reserve and was then transferred to the Marine Corps on June 26, 1926. He studied at the Basic School for Marine Officers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and served several years on the battleship USS Maryland off China.
Later he served as an instructor at the Marine Corps Training and Instructional Center at Quantico, Virginia.
Colonel Shoup was commanding a Marine Detachment in Iceland at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
SHOUP, ZOLA DeHAVEN
On January 28, 2003. Preceded in death by her husband, General David Monroe Shoup, United States Marine Corps (Retired); Survived by daughter, Carolyn Lamar of North Carolina; brother, Floyd DeHaven of Indiana; granddaughters, Catherine Chase of New York, Vicky Watkins of North Carolina, Martha Shoup of Colorado; grandson, Kenneth Shoup of Virginia; and great-granddaughter, Becky Watkins of North Carolina.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday,
February 13, 9 a.m. in Fort Myer Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to National Museum
of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20005.
Photo Courtesy of Rick Malerba
Photo courtesy of Raymond L. Collins
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Updated: 3 March 2006 Updated: 17 Dececember 2007
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003