HomeA Research Project by 150 Palo Alto High School JuniorsThe SignaturesList of the Generals1st Period Activities2nd Period Activities4th Period Activities5th Period Activities6th Period ActivitiesPhoto GalleryLinksResponsesContact Us

Julian C. Smith


Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith commanded the 2nd Marine Division in the Battle for Tarawa in World War II. 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 for a second Distinguished Service Medal for his performance as Commanding General,.

            General Smith, born in Elkton, Maryland, on September 11, 1885, was one of the Marine Corps' outstanding leaders in the field of amphibious warfare, he was and was a graduate of the University of Delaware. He received his appointment as a second lieutenant in January, 1909, and trained 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. He remained there until January, 1914. As a member of an expeditionary force, he departed from Panama to take part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, from April to December, 1914.

When Smith returned to the United States, he 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, he was transferred to Santo Domingo with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Brigade. In December of 1915, he was ordered back to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to serve with the Advance Base Force there.

In August, 1920, General Smith assumed duties at Quantico, and in July of the year before, he was ordered to sea duty on the staff of the Commander, Scouting Fleet. After two years, he again returned to Washington, this time to serve in the office of the Chief Coordinator. He left Washington to enter the Army Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and after graduation in 1928, he returned 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, where he served with the Naval Attache at the American Embassy, as a Naval Observer. He returned to the United States in August, 1941, and again reported to Quantico. When he was promoted to major general in October, 1942, he assumed command of the Fleet Marine Force Training Schools in 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 of the 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. His wife, Mary Lee Smith (1886-1928), is buried with him.