Born at Hightstown, New Jersey, August 22, 1878, he entered West Point on June 19, 1897 and was honorably discharged on June 19, 1899. He was appointed Second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps, March 21, 1900 and promoted to First Lieutenant, March 3, 1903; to Captain, May 13, 1908; to Major, August 29, 1916; to Lieutenant Colonel (temporary), July 1, 1918; to Lieutenant Colonel (permanent), June 4, 1920; and to Colonel, August 27, 1928.
After a course of instruction at Marine Barracks, New York, he served at Marine Barracks, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1901-June 1903, except for a period of detached duty with the Marine Battalion in Panama, September 13-December 8, 1902. From June 5, 1903 to March 14, 1905, he served with the Marine Expeditionary Battalion aboard the USS Panther and at Camp Roosevelt, Culebra, Puerto Rico, and commanded Marines at Dry Tortugas, Florida.
Following a one-year tour of duty at Marine Barracks, New York, he joined a battalion organized for service in the Philippines. From April 1906 to November 1908, he served at Olongapo, Polloc, Philippine Islands and as Adjutant of the 2nd Regiment of Marines at Cavite.
During the next five years, he served as Post Quartermaster for Marine Barracks, School of Application, Annapolis, Maryland, and commanding Marine Detachments in the USS Louisiana, USS New Hampshire and USS Alabama. Assigned to the 2nd Advance Base Regiment in 1913, he served at Pensacola, Florida, Culebra and Vera Cruz.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for “distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, Mexico, April 21-22, 1914. He was imminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.”
He returned with the 2nd Regiment to the U.S. in November 1914 and was assigned duty as Regimental Adjutant. Shortly after arrival in Haiti, August 4, 1915, he was relieved of duty as assigned to command the 20th Company of Marines. One year later, he was detached from Haiti and assigned to Marine Barracks, New Orleans, as Assistant Quartermaster and with additional duty as Inspector-Instructor of the Marine Company there.
From June 1918-November 19, 1919, he served on USS Brooklyn as Fleet Marine Officer and as Aide to the Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet. As a result of Allied intervention in Siberia, USS Brooklyn remained in the vicinity of Vladivostok during most of his period. After World War I, he served at Charleston, South Carolina, Quantico, Virginia, with the Marine Expeditionary Force in Panama and on Culebra.
In August 1925, he again joined the Marine Brigade in Haiti, serving as Chief-of-Staff and Officer in Charge of Operations and Training until July 26, 1927 when he was detached to Quantico, Virginia, as a student in the Field Officer's Course. After completing this course, he was assigned to duty as Chief of Staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, and commanding officer of the 1st Marine Regiment. In July 1929 he joined the Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina, where he served as Post Commander until October 1 when he assumed command of the U.S. Navy Prison.
Detached from Parris Island in September 1933, he served 2 months as commander of the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy Yard, before he assumed command of the 2nd Marine Regiment in Haiti. He continued in command of the 2nd Regiment until July 1934 when he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, New York, to await retirement. He was placed on the retired list from February 23, 1942.
He died on June 6, 1963 and was buried in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery.
FRYER, ELI THOMPSON
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 22 August 1878, Hightstown, New Jersey. Appointed from: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 177, 4 December 1915.
For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. In both days' fighting at the head of his company, Captain Fryer was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.
FRYER, ELI THOMPSON
BRIG GEN US MARINE CORPS
MEXICAN BORDER, WORLD WAR I
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/22/1878
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/06/1963
- BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 120-A
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard