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Gen. William Oscar Brice, Jr
Birth: Dec. 10, 1898
Columbia
Richland County
South Carolina, USA
Death: Jan. 30, 1972
Columbia
Richland County
South Carolina, USA

US Marine Corps General. His military career spanned World Wars I and II, and the Korean War. After graduating from Mt. Zion Institute at Winnsboro, South Carolina in 1917, he served in the US Army in the latter part of World War I. After the war, he resumed his education, graduating from The Citadel at Charleston, South Carolina in 1921. In September of that year, he reported for active duty as a US Marine 2nd lieutenant and was assigned to the Company Officers School at Quantico, Virginia and graduating in July 1922. He was then stationed at the Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina until May 1923, when he joined the 1st Marine Brigade in Haiti. He returned from that country in February 1924, to enter flight training at Pensacola, Florida, where he was designated an aviator that August and received his wings. The following June, after further instruction at Pensacola and service with Observation Squadron 3 at Quantico, he was assigned to the Scouting Squadron 1 on Guam until April 1927, when his unit was ordered to China to help protect Americans and other foreigners during the Chinese Civil War. The following month his unit was withdrawn to the Philippines while arrangements for a flying field were made with the Chinese government, and the next month it returned to China to begin operating from Hsin Ho in support of the 3rd Marine Brigade. In December 1927 he returned to the US and was assigned the following month to Fighter Squadron 9-M at Quantico where he remained until October 1931. In November of that year, he reported aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in command of Scouting Squadron 15-M, which thus began its service as one of the first two Marine squadrons to be based on Navy carriers. In January 1933 he was assigned to San Diego, California and the following June, he returned to Quantico, where he spent the next three years on aviation duty, completed the Junior Course, and was a member of the War Plans Section. In August 1936 he entered the US Army Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field (now Maxwell Air Force Base), Alabama and upon graduation in June 1937 he returned to Quantico to serve as Executive Officer and later, Commander, of Scouting Squadron 1. From June 1939 until August 1941 he served as an instructor at Pensacola and returned to Quantico as the Operations Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 11. After the US Entered World War II in December 1941, he relocated with his unit to San Diego in March 1942, he assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 12. He led that unit until September 1942, when he rejoined Marine Aircraft Group 11 as its commander, and the following month he sailed with it for the New Hebrides Islands in the Pacific Theater, where the group participated in the Guadalcanal operations. In December 1942 he took command of Marine Aircraft Group 14 at Guadalcanal and all the search, bombing and torpedo planes based there, and in April 1943 he was reassigned with the Group to New Zealand. The following August he returned to the Solomon Islands with the Group, to support the New Georgia and Bougainville campaigns. The Group became the nucleus of the Solomons Fighter Command, and that October he was assigned additional duties as head of that organization. In January 1944 he relinquished his command of the Group, but continued to head the Fighter Command until he returned to the US the following March, to the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. In September 1944, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Headquarters at Washington DC, where he served as Executive Officer of the Division of Plans and Policies until June 1945. The same year he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general at the age of 46, which made him the youngest general officer then in the Marine Corps, and in July 1945 he was sent to Hawaii to become the Chief of Staff, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He held that post until May 1947, and the following month, returned to Marine Corps Headquarters, Washington DC, as Assistant Director of Marine Aviation. In May 1949 he became the Commander of Marine Air Reserve Training in Glenview, Illinois from that July until April 1951, when he assigned to Korea to become Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. In August 1951 he was promoted to the rank of major general and he returned to Hawaii the following October as Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, serving in that capacity until March 1952, when he returned to the US to become became Director of Aviation the following month. In August 1953, when that post was elevated to a lieutenant general's billet, he was promoted to that rank. In September 1955 he returned to Hawaii to became Commander of Fleet Marine Force Pacific at Camp H.M. Smith and retired in this position in 1956, with 39 years of continuous military service. Among his military and foreign decorations and awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with combat "V" valor device, the Bronze Star with combat V" valor device, the Air Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with 1 service star, the World War I Victory Medal, the Yangtze Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 service stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with 2 service stars, the Commander, Order of the British Empire, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the United Nations Korea Medal. He was then promoted to the rank of general on the retired list for having been especially commended in combat in accordance with an Act of Congress passed on March 4, 1925 and February 23, 1942 (colloquially known as a "tombstone promotion"). He died at the age of 73. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William Oscar Brice (1866 - 1909)
  Rachel Buchanan Thompson Brice (1868 - 1941)
 
 Spouse:
  Rebekah Jennings Brice (1899 - 1983)
 
 Sibling:
  Palmer Matthews Brice (1894 - 1978)*
  William Oscar Brice (1898 - 1972)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Sion Presbyterian Cemetery
Winnsboro
Fairfield County
South Carolina, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Herman Ruple Durr
Record added: Feb 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47477007
Gen. William Oscar Brice, Jr
Added by: Charles A. Lewis
 
Gen. William Oscar Brice, Jr
Added by: Herman Ruple Durr
 
Gen. William Oscar Brice, Jr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Wes Phinney
 
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- Lazer
 Added: Dec. 10, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Dec. 10, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Jan. 30, 2016
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