Julian Constable Smith – Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps

Courtesy of the United States Marine Corps:

Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith, who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in the Tarawa fighting of World War II, and who was placed on the retired list December 1, 1946, after 38 years as a Marine Corps officer, died November 5, 1975. Promoted to his present rank upon retirement, for having been specially commended in combat, he holds the Navy Cross for heroism in Nicaragua, the Distinguished Service Medal for his part in the Tarawa campaign and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal for his performance as Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops, Third Fleet, in the capture of the Southern Palaus and Ulithi Atoll.

General Smith, one of the Marine Corps’ outstanding leaders in the field of amphibious warfare, was born in Elkton, Maryland, on September 11, 1885, and was a graduate of the University of Delaware. He received his appointment as a second lieutenant in January, 1909, and underwent his basic training as a Marine officer at the Marine Barracks, Port Royal, South Carolina. Following his promotion to first lieutenant in September, 1912, he was ordered to the Marine Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and in December of the following year, he was transferred to Panama, remaining there until January, 1914. As a member of an expeditionary force, he departed from Panama to take part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico, from April to December, 1914.

Upon returning to the United States, he again was ordered to Philadelphia, this time as a member of the 1st Brigade of Marines. In August, 1915, he began a tour of expeditionary duty in Haiti, and in April, 1916, was transferred to Santo Domingo with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Brigade. In December of the same year, he was ordered back to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, this time, to serve with the Advance Base Force there.

Following his promotion to captain in March, 1917, the general was ordered to a course of instruction at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and several months later he was assigned to Quantico, Virginia, as an instructor in the Marine Officers’ Training Camps. In the early part of 1919, he sailed for Cuba in command of a machine gun battalion. After his service there he returned to the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, and a short time later was transferred to Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.

In August, 1920, General Smith again assumed duties at Quantico, and in July of the following year, he was ordered to sea duty on the staff of the Commander, Scouting Fleet. Two years later, he again returned to Washington, this time to serve in the office of the Chief Coordinator, Bureau of the Budget. He left Washington to enter the Army Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and after graduation in 1928, was again ordered to Marine Corps Headquarters. He captained the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Team Squad, for the year of 1928, while detached to temporary duty at Quantico, and also headed the 1930 squad.

The general’s next assignment was with the Marines at Corinto, Nicaragua, where he began a three-year tour of expeditionary duty in August, 1930. Following that, he returned to Quantico, where he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Then, after another short tour of duty in Philadelphia, he returned to Marine Corps Headquarters for duty with the Division of Operations and Training. With his promotion to colonel, he was named Director of Personnel.

In June, 1938, General Smith became Commanding Officer, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, at Quantico, where he remained until his promotion to brigadier general. He was then ordered to London, England, where he served with the Naval Attache, American Embassy, as a Naval Observer. He returned to the United States in August, 1941, and again reported to Quantico. Upon appointment to major general in October, 1942, he assumed command of the Fleet Marine Force Training Schools at New River, North Carolina. He took command of the 2nd Marine Division in May, 1943, and served in that capacity until April of the following year, when he was named Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops, Third Fleet.

In December, 1944, General Smith took command of the Department of the Pacific, with headquarters in San Francisco, California. From there, he was ordered to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he commanded the Marine Corps Recruit Depot from February, 1946, until his retirement. After his death in November 1975, General Smith was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of a second and the Navy Cross, the general’s decorations and medals include the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon; the Expeditionary Medal with two bronze stars (Cuba, 1912, Haiti, 1916, and Santo Domingo, 1916); the Mexican Service Medal (1914); the Haitian Campaign Medal (1915); the Dominican Campaign Medal (Santo Domingo, 1916); the Victory Medal (1917-18); the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1930-33); the American Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction with Diploma (Nicaragua, 1930-33); the Dominican Order of Military Merit, First Class with White Insignia (Santo Domingo, 1916); and the British Distinguished Service Order.

jcsmith-usmcphotoBorn at Elkton, Maryland, September 11, 1885, he graduated from the University of Delaware and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1909. He took part in the occupation of Vera Cruz in 1909.

Subsequently he saw service in both overseas and U.S. posts. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff School in 1928 and served in Nicaragua in 1930-33.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1936 and served in London as a Naval Observer in 1938-41. He returned to the U.S. and was promoted to Major General in 1942. He then commanded the Marine Corps Training Schools in North Carolina.

He commanded the 2nd Marine Division and the 3rd Amphibious Force during the assault on Betio Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and exercised tactical control of the battle for Tarawa, Novemebr 20-23, 1943. He was Commander of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in 1944 and returned to the U.S. where he assumed command of Parris Island Marine Base in South Carolina.

He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1946.

He died on November 6, 1975 and was buried in Section 6 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Mary Lee Smith (1886-1928), is buried with him.



On May 10, 1998, HARRIOTTE ”HAPPY” BYRD SMITH, 540 Village Pl., Longwood, Florida.

Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mrs. Smith moved to Longwood in 1986 from Alexandria, Virgiania, where she enjoyed a long and distinguished career as the wife of the late Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith, USMC.

During WWII, she held a high position with The American Red Cross. She was also known as ”The First Lady” of The 2nd Marine Division Association. Upon retirement in Alexandria, she held positions of honor with the The Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames of America and served as Chairman of the Women’s Committee of The National Rifle Association. Also, a member National League of American Pen Women as a craftsman.

While having many interests, her primary focus was love of country and service to others. She worked tirelessly to defeat the Equal Right Amendment and was called upon to testify before Congress calling for the total disarmament of America. An accomplished author, she had several books and articles published, including the highly acclaimed, ”The Constitution is Your Business.” In 1992 she completed her heartwarming autobiography, ”But, That’s Another Story.”

Mrs. Smith is survived by three nieces, Jocelyn Butler of Whiteford, MD, Mary Sims-Gressett of Orangeburg, SC and Cynthia Riddick of Norfolk, VA. She is also her survived by her long-time friend, Mary Lou Driggers-Feck of Orlando. Friends will be received from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday at CAREY HAND COX-PARKER FUNERAL HOME, Winter Park, FL, (407-647-1942). Graveside services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, 1998 at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to 2nd Marine Divison Association Scholarship Fund, PO Box 8180, Camp Lejeune, NC 28547.


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