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Smedley Darlington Butler

Date of birth: July 30, 1881
Date of death: June 21, 1940
Burial location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Place of Birth: Pennsylvania, West Chester
Home of record: West Chester Pennsylvania

Butler's father was a U.S. Congressman for 31 years and was chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee during the Harding and Coolidge administrations. Smedley Butler is one of TWO Marines who received TWO Medals of Honor for SEPARATE actions, Vera Cruz, Mexico and Haiti. With his award of the Marine Corps Brevet Medal in the Boxer Rebellion, an award considered on par with the Medal of Honor, he could technically be called the only TRIPLE recipient of the Medal of Honor. During World War I he was awarded both the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals. He retired as a Major General in 1939, but failed in his subsequent efforts to be elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate. Known for indiscreet remarks on international affairs that were at odds with officials while he was in the Marine Corps, actions that netted him a reprimand from the Secretary of the Navy, Butler became a popular speaker in retirement and subsequently wrote a book titled "War is a Racket".

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Dominican Republic Occupation

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (First Award) to Major Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, for distinguished conduct in battle, in the engagement of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on 22 April 1914. Major Butler was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22d and in the final occupation of the city.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 177 (December 4, 1915)

Action Date: 22-Apr-14

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Major

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Haiti

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (Second Award) to Major Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action as Commanding Officer of detachments from the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and the Marine and Sailor Detachment from the U.S.S. CONNECTICUT, Major Butler led the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, on 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of Marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits. Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Major Butler gave the signal to attack and Marines from the 15th Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed the Caco resistance. Throughout this perilous action, Major Butler was conspicuous for his bravery and forceful leadership.

Action Date: 17-Nov-15

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Major

Company: Commanding Officer of Marines and Seamen

Regiment: 2d Marines

Division: U.S.S. Connecticut

Marine Corps Brevet Medal

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Awarded for actions during the China Relief

The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in transmitting to First Lieutenant Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, the Brevet Medal which is awarded in accordance with Marine Corps Order No. 26 (1921), for distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy while serving with the Second Battalion of Marines, near Tientsin, China, on 13 July 1900. On 28 March 1901, First Lieutenant Butler is appointed Captain by brevet, to take rank from 13 July 1900.

General Orders: Marine Corps Orders No. 26 (June 27, 1921)

Action Date: 13-Jul-00

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Battalion: 2d Battalion of Marines

Army Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. Brigadier General Butler commanded with ability and energy Pontanezen Camp at Brest during the time in which it has developed into the largest embarkation camp in the world. Confronted with problems of extraordinary magnitude in supervising the reception, entertainment and departure of the large numbers of officers and soldiers passing through this camp, he has solved all with conspicuous success, performing services of the highest character for the American Expeditionary Forces.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 95 (1919)

Action Date: World War I

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Brigadier General

Company: Commander

Division: Camp Pontanezen, Brest

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the World War I

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services in France, during World War I. Brigadier General Butler organized, trained and commanded the 13th Regiment Marines; also the 5th Brigade of Marines. He commanded with ability and energy Camp Pontanezen at Brest during the time in which it has developed into the largest embarkation camp in the world. Confronted with problems of extraordinary magnitude in supervising the reception, entertainment and departure of large numbers of officers and soldiers passing through the camp, he has solved all with conspicuous success, performing services of the highest character for the American Expeditionary Forces.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 255 (December 18, 1937)

Action Date: World War I

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Brigadier General

Company: Commanding General

Regiment: 13th Regiment (Marines) & 5th Brigades (Marines)