Charles Harold Hayes – Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps

Courtesy of the United States Marine Corps

Lieutenant General Charles Harold Hayes, who served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from April 1963 till June 1965, died on April 3, 1995 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Born September 18, 1906, at San Marcial, New Mexico, the general graduated from high school at Albuquerque in 1924 then worked a year in the engineering department of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway at San Marcial. He attended Colorado A&M College, Fort Collins, Colorado, for one year before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1926. Graduating from the Academy on June 5, 1930, he was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant. The following June, he completed Marine Officers' Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

In July 1931, Lieutenant Hayes reported to the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, where, during the next three years, he served with the Barracks Detachment and the First and Tenth Marines. In addition, he served with the 1st Battalion, First Marines, aboard the battleships Wyoming and Arkansas from January to May 1932, and with the United States Electoral Mission in Nicaragua from July to December of that year. He also completed the Battalion Officers Artillery School at Quantico before leaving in June 1934 to join the Marine Detachment aboard the aircraft carrier Lexington.

Returning from sea duty in November 1934, he was promoted to first lieutenant and entered aviation training at Pensacola, Florida, the following month. He was designated a Naval aviator in April 1936. That June he returned to Quantico to serve with Scouting Squadron 7-M, Bombing Squadron 1-M, and Utility Squadron 1-M. He was promoted to captain in July 1937.

Leaving Quantico in June 1940, Captain Hayes reported the following month to the Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, where he was assigned to Marine Utility Squadron 2 (later redesignated Utility Squadron 252). He departed for Pearl Harbor in January 1941, and with the squadron helped set up a new Marine Corps Air Station at Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii. Just four days before the Pearl Harbor attack, he sailed for San Diego to become Executive Officer of Marine Fighter Squadron 251. He was promoted to major in January 1942.

In June 1942, Major Hayes sailed with the squadron for Noumea, New Caledonia, and several weeks later moved to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides Islands. He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for his accomplishments in the crucial early days of the Guadalcanal campaign when he was sent to that island by Vice Admiral John S. McCain, Commander, Aircraft, South Pacific, to expedite the completion of vital Henderson Field. Then a major, he landed there on August 15, 1942, with a Navy construction unit and four shiploads of hard-to-get aviation supplies, and despite daily Japanese air raids, had the field ready for operation within four days. The first badly-needed planes arrived on August 20 and he remained on the island as operations officer of the airstrip until September 5, 1942, shortly after his promotion to lieutenant colonel. Later in the campaign he served as Assistant Operations Officer of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Returning to the United States in March 1943, Lieutenant Colonel Hayes saw duty as Executive Officer of Air Operational Training Squadron 8 at Cherry Point, North Carolina. In December 1943, he returned to the Pacific area to become Air Officer on the Staff of the Commander, 3d Amphibious Corps. He was promoted to colonel in January 1944.

Awarded the Legion of Merit in that assignment, Colonel Hayes took part in the planning and execution of the Green Island, Emirau, Leyte and Luzon invasions and the planning phase of the Palau operation. He arrived in Toyko Bay with the initial occupation forces on the day of the surrender, and in October 1945 returned to the United States.

Ordered to Cherry Point, Colonel Hayes served as Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps Air Station until December 1947, and as commander of Marine Aircraft Group 11 for the next six months. He left Cherry Point in June 1948, to enter the Senior Course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Completing the course in May 1949, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington as Assistant Head of the Aviation Liaison and Special Projects Section, Strategic Plans Division. He became head of the section in October 1950, and held that post until he was ordered to Korea in August 1952.

For outstanding service in the Korean Conflict from September 1952 to June 1953, as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Colonel Hayes was awarded a second Legion of Merit with Combat “V”. He left Korea for Hawaii in June 1953 to become Deputy Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. In August 1954, he was named Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. He was promoted to brigadier general in October 1955 following his return to Washington, D.C., and assumed duty that month as Marine Corps Liaison Officer to the Office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

In July 1956, General Hayes was appointed a member of the Cordiner Advisory Committee on Professional and Technical Compensation in the Armed Forces by the then Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson. On completing his assignment in Washington, he was transferred to Japan where he assumed command of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in December 1957.

Following his return from the Far East in May 1959, General Hayes was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, as Commanding General of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing. He was promoted to major general in June 1959.

In January 1960, General Hayes became Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, at Camp H.M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii, and served there until September 1961. Assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps the following month, he assumed the post of Deputy Chief of Staff (Plans), later redesignated Deputy Chief of Staff (Plans and Programs), and served in this capacity through March 1963. On April 9, 1963, he was promoted to lieutenant general on assuming his final assignment as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.

A complete list of the general's medals and decorations includes: the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Navy Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V”, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Commendation, the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars.


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment