Wendell Cushing Neville
Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1890
Engagements: • Banana Wars (1898 - 1934)• Spanish-American War (1898)• Boxer Rebellion (1899 - 1901)• Occupation of Veracruz (1914)• World War I (1914 - 1918)
Wendell Cushing Neville
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Occupation of Veracruz
Major General Wendell Cushing Neville was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Occupation of Veracruz. He was the 14th Commandant of the Marine Corps between 1929 and 1930.
Wendell Cushing Neville was born on 12 May 1870 in Portsmouth, VA. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD in 1886, chiefly because no one else in his district desired an appointment to Annapolis that year. After graduating in 1890 and following a two-year cruise aboard a warship, as was the practice of the era, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
At the outbreak of the Spanish American War, Second Lieutenant Neville was assigned to the 1st Battalion, hurriedly organized under Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Huntington for service in Cuba. The battalion staged a daring attack under heavy gunfire at Guantanamo Bay, established a beachhead and routed enemy forces in that area. For outstanding valor and leadership in that action, Neville was awarded the Brevet Medal, highest Marine Corps decoration at that time, and was promoted to the brevet rank of Captain.
Promoted to the permanent rank of Captain a few months after the war, he was assigned to a battalion of Marines ordered to China to relieve the hard-pressed garrison at Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. He took part in four battles in that area and was again commended for his gallantry.
In the Philippine Islands not long afterwards, he was appointed Military Governor of Basilan Province. Following that assignment he served in Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama and Hawaii. While in command of Marines landing at Veracruz, Mexico, on 21 April 1914, he displayed conspicuous gallantry. In that operation, Lieutenant Colonel Neville was awarded the Medal of Honor for his distinguished conduct.
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps.
Citation: For distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz 21 and 22 April 1914. In command of the 2d Regiment Marines, Lt. Col. Neville was in both days' fighting and almost continually under fire from soon after landing, about noon on the 21st, until we were in possession of the city, about noon of the 22d. His duties required him to be at points of great danger in directing his officers and men, and he exhibited conspicuous courage, coolness, and skill in his conduct of the fighting. Upon his courage and skill depended, in great measure, success or failure. His responsibilities were great and he met them in a manner worthy of commendation.
Prior to his embarkation for France in 1917, Colonel Neville returned to China where he was chosen to command the combined Allied guard at Peking.
On 1 January 1918, he was placed in command of the 5th Regiment in France and in May moved his regiment into action at Belleau Wood, where Germany's big drive was decisively halted. In July, Brigadier General Neville's command was enlarged to include the 4th Marine Brigade, which he directed during the remaining days of the war and during its occupation service in Germany.
After service with the Army of Occupation in Germany, Brig. Gen. Neville and his brigade returned to the U.S. in July 1919. Promoted to Major General in March 1920, he served as Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and later became Commanding General, Department of the Pacific with headquarters in San Francisco, CA. He also commanded the Marine Barracks, Quantico, VA.
Neville succeeded Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune as Commandant of the Marine Corps on 5 March 1929. Maj. Gen. Neville's sudden death on 8 July 1930 at Edgewater Beach, MD, while in office as Commandant of the Marine Corps, closed one of the most brilliant military careers of his day.
Medals and Awards
Medal of Honor
USS Neville (APA-9), a Heywood-class United States Navy transport is named in honor of Major General Neville.
Death and Burial
Major General Wendell Cushing Neville died on 8 July 1930 while he was Commandant of the Marine Corps. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 6, Lot 8409.
|Honoree ID: 92||Created by: MHOH|