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Gen David M. Shoup
Birth: Dec. 30, 1904
Battle Ground
Tippecanoe County
Indiana, USA
Death: Jan. 13, 1983
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA

US Marine Corps General and World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He is remembered as the 22nd Commandant of the US Marine Corps from 1960 to 1963 and for his staunch criticism of the Vietnam War after his military retirement. Born David Monroe Shoup, his parents were impoverished farmers. In 1916 his family moved to Covington, Indiana to live on a new farm. At the age of 12 he was enrolled in Covington High School, a competitive high school with an advanced curriculum, where he excelled academically and was involved in several extracurricular activities, including basketball, and became the class president in his senior year. After graduating from high school in 1921, he attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana where he was one of 100 awarded the Edward Rector Scholarship, giving him full tuition. He majored in mathematics and participated in sports, including wrestling, football, track and field, and rifle teams. In 1925 he won the Indiana and Kentucky Amateur Athletic Union marathon. He worked as a waiter, washed dishes and worked in a cement factory to help pay his expenses. He had to take a year off after his junior year to teach school, and his expenses were further strained when he contracted a severe case of pneumonia and incurred hospital bills. He opted to enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to offset his living expenses. He graduated from DePauw in 1926 and in May of that year, he applied, and was offered a commission in the Marine Corps. Three months later he resigned his commission in the Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, and began his Marine Officers Basic School training. On April 1927 he and nine other officers were pulled from training to accompany a detachment of Marines sent to China to protect American interests during the instability of the Chinese Civil War. While there, he became seriously ill and remained hospitalized until it was announced U.S. troops would leave. He briefly returned to Shanghai to oversee foreign troop departures with the 4th Marines, before he departed from China to the US in December 1928 to complete his officer's training. He then spent short stints at Marine bases in Quantico, Virginia, Pensacola, Florida, and San Francisco, California. From June 1929 to September 1931 he served with the Marine detachment aboard USS Maryland, where he coached the boxing and wrestling squads. Following this duty he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and in May 1932 he was ordered to Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington, where he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant one month later. He served on temporary duty with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho and New Jersey from June 1933 to May 1934, after which he returned to Bremerton. In November 1934 he returned to China, again serving briefly with the 4th Marines in Shanghai. He was soon reassigned as a legation guard in Peking (now Beijing) where he taught the post's pistol and rifle teams to shoot competitively. They won at least one major competition. He also had the opportunity to observe the troops of the Empire of Japan, gaining great respect for their military. In 1936, he came down with a serious case of pneumonia and had to be evacuated from China. His next duty was at Puget Sound Navy Yard and in October 1936, he was promoted to the rank of captain. In July 1937 he entered Junior Course, Marine Corps Schools in Quantico which he completed in May 1938. He then served as an instructor at Quantico for the next two years. In June 1940 he joined the 6th Marines in San Diego, California and was promoted to the rank of major in April 1941. In may 1941 he was assigned to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade with duty in Iceland, supporting an occupation there to prevent Nazi German forces from threatening it. Replacing the outgoing British 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division, the brigade continued to garrison the country for several months, and he was there with the Headquarters Company at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In February 1942 he was given command of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines. With the US at war, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade moved to New York City, New York, in March, and was disbanded. He then moved with his battalion to Camp Elliott in San Diego. In July 1942 he was named as operations and training officer of the 2nd Marine Division, and promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in August 1942. The following month he accompanied the division to Wellington, New Zealand, aboard SS Matsonia and oversaw much of its training there. He was also briefly attached to the 1st Marine Division in October 1942 as an observer during the Guadalcanal campaign, then to the 43rd Infantry Division on Rendova Island during New Georgia Campaign in June 1943. During the latter assignment, he was wounded in action and evacuated. In mid-1943 he was transferred to the staff of Major General Julian C. Smith, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, and tasked to help plan the invasion of Betio on Tarawa Atoll. However, after Colonel William W. Marshall, commander of the 2nd Marines, suffered a nervous breakdown before invasion, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and gave him command of the regiment, in spite of his lack of combat experience. The invasion commenced on 20 November 1943, with his disembarking from Maryland, the flagship for the invasion. His force met heavy resistance on the beaches. His amphibious landing vehicle tractor was destroyed by shore fire, and he had to proceed without transportation. As he was wading ashore, he was struck by shrapnel in the legs and received a grazing wound from a bullet in the neck. In spite of these wounds, he rallied the Marines and led them ashore, and was able to coordinate the troops on the beaches and organize them as they began to push inland against an anticipated Japanese counterattack. He continuously organized aggressive attacks on the defenders, and was noted for his bravery and intensity during the conflict. On the second day of the attack, he organized an advance inland, despite heavy casualties among the American troops. By the afternoon, they were winning the battle, and reinforcements began to arrive in force. That night, he was relieved by Colonel Merritt A. Edson, the division's Chief of Staff, who commanded the 2nd Marines for the remainder of the campaign. For his leadership during the assault, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the British Distinguished Service Order. In December 1943, he became Chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Division, which was then refitting and training in Hawaii for the upcoming invasion of the Marianas the following June. He assisting in the planning for the battles for Saipan and Tinian. Though a divisional staff officer, he still managed to find occasion to be forward in the fighting. At the end of operations on the Mariana Islands, he returned to the US in October 1944 and served as a logistics officer in the Division of Plans and Policies at Marine Headquarters in Washington, DC, remaining at this post for the rest of the war. In August 1947 he became Commanding Officer, Service Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific and two years later, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California as its chief of staff. In July 1950, he was then transferred back to Quantico where he served as Commanding Officer of the Basic School. In April 1952 he became Assistant Fiscal Director in the Office of the Fiscal Director, Headquarters Marine Corps under Major General William P. T. Hill, the Quartermaster General. He was ordered by the Marine Corps Commandant General Lemuel C. Shepherd to establish a new fiscal office independent of Hill's authority. While he Hill clashed frequently, he was able to establish a new, independent Fiscal Division. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in April 1953, and in July he became Fiscal Director of the Marine Corps. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to the rank of major general in September 1955. In May 1956 he was briefly assigned as Inspector General for Recruit Training after being ordered to do so by US Marine Commandant Randolph M. Pate following the Ribbon Creek incident, which involved the accidental drowning of six Marine recruits during a training march. After the investigation was completed, He supported an overhaul of recruit training for the Marine Corps in response to the incident. He then served as Inspector General of the Marine Corps from September 1956 until May 1957. In June 1957 he returned to Camp Pendleton to become commanding general of the 1st Marine Division. In March 1958 he was assigned to Okinawa to serve as the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division. He returned to the US the following year and became the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, until October 1959. During this time, he also served as president of the 2nd Marine Division Association. While still a major general, he was unexpectedly nominated to become Commandant of the Marine Corps by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the request of Secretary of Defense Thomas S. Gates, Jr. To prepare for this duty, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general on 2 November 1959, and briefly assigned duties as Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps. He was elevated to the rank of general on 1 January 1960, upon assuming the post as the 22nd Commandant of the Marine Corps. When Fidel Castro became the communist ruler of Cuba, he opposed any military action to overthrow him. He later warned against an armed response during the Cuban missile crisis, noting how difficult it would be to invade the country. In spite of that, he prepared a team of Marines to invade Cuba should it be necessary. President John F. Kennedy subsequently sought his advice in evaluating the implications of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. While his position in the Joint Chiefs of Staff was intended to be limited, he had gained Kennedy's confidence and was often called on for private consultations. He supported the test ban, seeing it as a deterrent to nuclear war. He was strongly opposed to military intervention in Indochina from the beginning. In 1961, when the Pathet Lao threatened the American-backed government of Laos, he rejected calls for armed intervention. He deployed Task Unit Shufly to Saigon, South Vietnam in 1962 only because he was ordered to, and cautioned against further involvement there. He opposed the Strategic Hamlet program, as well as efforts to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. His staunch opposition to involvement there had a great impact on Kennedy who, before his assassination on 22 November 1963, indicated that he wanted to end U.S. involvement in South Vietnam, seeing it as an internal struggle. He retired as Commandant of the US Marine Corps in December 1963, with 37 years of continued military service. Aside from the Medal of Honor and the British Distinguished Service Order, his military awards and decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one star and valor device, the Purple Heart with one star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy Presidential Unit Citation Medal with one star, the Yangtze Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal with one star. After his retirement, he took a job with a life insurance company and became one of the most prominent critics of the Vietnam War. His opposition to the war created resentment from many of the other officers in the Marine Corps, and was met with criticism that he was becoming mentally unfit or was treasonous in his actions. By December 1967, he had lost favor with the Johnson administration, his activities were monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and his patriotism was called into question in the media. He joined the Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace and by 1971, he publicly endorsed the anti-war veteran group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. After 1971 his speaking and writing diminished, and he faded from the public eye after the US military withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. He suffered from illness late in life, and he died at the age of 78. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of all Marine Corps troops in action against enemy Japanese forces on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from 20 to 22 November 1943. Although severely shocked by an exploding enemy shell soon after landing at the pier and suffering from a serious, painful leg wound which had become infected, Col. Shoup fearlessly exposed himself to the terrific and relentless artillery, machinegun, and rifle fire from hostile shore emplacements. Rallying his hesitant troops by his own inspiring heroism, he gallantly led them across the fringing reefs to charge the heavily fortified island and reinforce our hard-pressed, thinly held lines. Upon arrival on shore, he assumed command of all landed troops and, working without rest under constant, withering enemy fire during the next 2 days, conducted smashing attacks against unbelievably strong and fanatically defended Japanese positions despite innumerable obstacles and heavy casualties. By his brilliant leadership daring tactics, and selfless devotion to duty, Col. Shoup was largely responsible for the final decisive defeat of the enemy, and his indomitable fighting spirit reflects great credit upon the U.S. Naval Service." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Zola Margaret Dehaven Shoup (1904 - 2003)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 7A, Lot 189, Map grid T/U 23.5
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jun 08, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9892
Gen David M. Shoup
Added by: Garver Graver
 
Gen David M. Shoup
Added by: Ron Williams
 
Gen David M. Shoup
Cemetery Photo
Added by: James Seidelman
 
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-Anonymous
 Added: Mar. 20, 2014
Semper Fi General. I remember meeting you in Japan about 1961. You were the greatest.
- Ernest Edmonston
 Added: Feb. 5, 2014

- Lazer
 Added: Jan. 29, 2014
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