Wendell Cushing Neville

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Wendell Cushing Neville
Wendell C. Neville.jpg
14th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1929–1930)
Born(1870-05-12)May 12, 1870
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
DiedJuly 8, 1930(1930-07-08) (aged 60)
Edgewater Beach, Maryland, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Marine Corps
Years of service1890–1930
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major general
Commands heldCommandant of the Marine Corps
Department of the Pacific
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

Boxer Rebellion

Mexican Revolution

Banana Wars

World War I

AwardsMedal of Honor
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Brevet Medal
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre

Wendell Cushing Neville (May 12, 1870 – July 8, 1930) was a major general of the United States Marine Corps. He was a Medal of Honor recipient and 14th Commandant of the Marine Corps between 1929 and 1930.


Midshipman Wendell C. Neville, U.S. Naval Academy

Neville was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and later entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, 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, which was the practice of the era, was commissioned a Marine Corps second lieutenant.

At the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, 2nd Lt. 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, Lt. Neville was brevetted a captain in the Marine Corps on June 13, 1898.[1] He was later awarded the Brevet Medal, following its creation in 1921.

Promoted to the permanent rank of captain a few months after the war, Neville 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.

During the United States occupation of Veracruz, he was in command of the 2nd Advance Base Regiment. While in command of Marines landing at Veracruz, Mexico, on April 21, 1914, he displayed conspicuous gallantry. Lieutenant Colonel Neville was awarded the Medal of Honor for his distinguished conduct during the Vera Cruz intervention. He, Major General Smedley D. Butler and Major General David Dixon Porter were the only individuals to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Brevet Medal.

In 1915, Neville returned to China where he was chosen to command the combined Allied guard at Peking, serving in that position until 1917. He was promoted to colonel in August 1916.

On the cover of Time in 1929

On January 1, 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, 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. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1919.

The senior officers of the 1st Marine Brigade photographed at Veracruz in 1914. Front row, left to right: Lt. Col. Wendell C. Neville; Col. John A. Lejeune; Col. Littleton W. T. Waller, Commanding; and Maj. Smedley Butler.

After service with the Army of Occupation in Germany, Brig. Gen. Neville and his brigade returned to the United States in July 1919. Promoted to major general in August 1920, he served as assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps and later became commanding general, Fleet Marine Force with headquarters in San Francisco. He also commanded the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia.

Maj. Gen. Neville succeeded Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune as Commandant of the Marine Corps on March 5, 1929. Maj. Gen. Neville's sudden death on July 8, 1930, at Edgewater Beach, Maryland, while in office as commandant, closed one of the most brilliant military careers of his day.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

During the 38 years he spent as a U.S. Marine, Major General Neville received five citations, as well as:

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars Fourragère CG.png
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Medal of Honor Marine Corps Brevet Medal French Fourragère
Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal China Relief Expedition Medal Spanish Campaign Medal
Spanish War Service Medal[citation needed] Philippine Campaign Medal Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1912) Mexican Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal w/ 5 stars Army of Occupation of Germany Medal Légion d'honneur, Grand Cross Croix de guerre w/ 3 palms and 2 stars

USS Neville (APA-9), a Heywood-class United States Navy transport, is named in honor of Major General Neville.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

NEVILLE, Wendell Cushing
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
G.O. Navy Department, No. 177
December 4, 1915


For distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz 21 and April 22, 1914. In command of the Second Regiment Marines, Lieutenant Colonel 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.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ Callahan, Edward L., ed. (1901). List of officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps, from 1775 to 1900 : comprising a complete register of all present and former commissioned, warranted, and appointed officers of the United States Navy, and of the Marine Corps, regular and volunteer. New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co. p. 719.
  2. ^ "Burial Detail: Neville, Wendell C. (Section 6, Grave 8409)". ANC Explorer. Arlington National Cemetery. (Official website).

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune
Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Maj. Gen. Ben H. Fuller