George Barnett – Major General, United States Marine Corps


Major General George Barnett was born December 9, 1859, in Wisconsin, and was appointed a Cadet at the U. S. Naval Academy from that state on June 27, 1877, and graduated in June 1881. He was transferred to the Marine Corps and appointed a second lieutenant on July 1, 1883. He was promoted to first lieutenant on September 1, 1890; captain, August 11, 1898; major, March 3, 1901; lieutenant colonel, February 28, 1905; colonel, October 11, 1910; brigadier general, August 29, 1916; and major general, March 4, 1921. He was retired on December 9, 1923, having on that date attained the age of sixty-four years, and died on April 27, 1930.

General Barnett served aboard many vessels of the Navy and at many shore stations in the United States. During the Spanish-American War he served aboard the USS SAN FRANCISCO and the USS NEW ORLEANS and while serving on the latter vessel participated in the engagements incident to the capture of Santiago, Cuba. In September 1902 he commanded a battalion of Marines on the USS PANTHER sent for duty on the Isthmus of Panama. In January 1903 he was placed in command of another battalion of Marines being transferred to join the First Brigade of Marines in the Philippine Islands. Shortly after his arrival in the Philippines he was transferred to duty as Fleet Marine Officer of the Asiatic Fleet and served in that position until December 1904 when he rejoined the First Brigade.

In 1905 General Barnett served with the Cuban Army of Pacification; in 1907 he commanded the Marine Detachment, American Legation, Peking, China; and then served again in Cuba from 1908 to 1911. He was appointed Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps on February 25, 1914 and served in that position, as the twelfth Commandant of the Marine Corps, until June 30, 1920. He commanded the Corps during its preparation for and active participation in the World War, for which service France conferred upon him the Legion of Honor, and the United States the Distinguished Service Medal.

In addition to the above medals, General Barnett was
awarded the Cuban Campaign Medal, the Spanish Campaign Medal, the West Indian Campaign Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Biography courtesy of the United States Marine Corps


Twelfth Commandant from
23 February 1914 – 30 June 1920

George Barnett was born on 9 December 1859 in Lancaster, Wisconsin. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1881 with the first academy class to provide officers to the Corps.

After two years at sea as a cadet midshipman, Barnett was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Until 1902, he served both at sea and ashore in the customary assignments and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In September 1902, he received his first expeditionary command, a battalion charged with keeping the Panama railroad open during a Panamanian bid for freedom from Colombia. During the succeeding years, Barnett commanded expeditionary units in the Philippines and Cuba.

He was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps on 25 February 1914, in time to send Marine forces to help occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico, that year, to settle domestic disturbances in Haiti in 1915, and in the Dominican Republic in 1916. As Commandant, Barnett commanded the Marine Corps during its rapid expansion in the First World War and successfully pressed to ensure that a Marine regiment was on board the first convoy to leave for France, living up to the Corps' tradition of being the “first to fight.”

General Barnett retired from the Marine Corps on 9 December 1923. He died in Washington, D.C., on 27 April 1930 and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a section reserved for members of the Naval Academy Class of 1881.


USMC Photo



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