Marine_Corps_Brevet_Medal

Marine Corps Brevet Medal

The Marine Corps Brevet Medal was a military decoration of the United States Marine Corps which was created in 1921 per Marine Corps Order Number 26. The decoration was a one time issuance and retroactively recognized living Marine Corps officers who had received a brevet rank between the years 1861 to 1915.

Description and symbolism

Also known as the “Brevet Medal”, the decoration was considered to be the equivalent of the Navy Cross, although in precedence it ranked just behind the Medal of Honor, since those receiving the award had received field commissions as Marine Corps officers, under combat conditions, and had performed feats of distinction and gallant service. Initially however, the Brevet Medal ranked behind the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. The award was only issued to twenty Marine Corps active, retired, and discharged personnel.

This decoration was justified on the grounds that until 1915 Marine Corps officers were not eligible for the Medal of Honor. The medal was designed by Sergeant Joseph Alfred Burnett. The ribbon, in USMC scarlet, closely mirrored the blue-and-white starred motif of the Medal of Honor. No attached devices were ever authorized.

In 1940, the Marine Corps declared the Brevet Medal obsolete since all but one of the original recipients were at that time deceased. The lone survivor, Major General John Twiggs Myers, USMC, had been brevetted for valor at the siege of the U.S. embassy at Peking (Beijing, China), in 1900. He died in 1952 in Coconut Grove, Florida (Charlton Heston portrayed him under a fictitious name in the movie 55 Days at Peking). The medal was never again issued, since the concept of brevet commissions was phased out of the United States military to be replaced by temporary and field commissions which were awarded much more frequently than brevet ranks.

Only 23 men have ever earned this award, and only three men have received both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor.

Obverse

A bronze cross pattée, with the center of each arm extended in a semi-circular shape; in the center of the front is the word BREVET, encircled by the words UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS. A small five-pointed star, point-up, is at the bottom center of the circle formed by the inscription. A small Marine Corps insignia (eagle, globe and anchor) attaches the medal to its suspension ring.

Reverse

The reverse of the cross is plain except for its center, which contains the inscription FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT in a circle, and the words IN PRESENCE OF ENEMY in the center. The original medals were neither named nor numbered.

Recipients

Name Rank Date of action Place of action Notes
Philip M. Bannon brevetted to first lieutenant 1898-06-13 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct during the Spanish-American War.
Smedley D. Butler brevetted to captain 1900-07-13 Tientsin, China For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy July 13, 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion. One of only three to ever receive the Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor. Also one of only 19 to ever receive the Medal of Honor twice.
Carl Gamborg-Andresen brevetted to captain 1900-07-13 Tientsin, China For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Boxer Rebellion.
Newt H. Hall brevetted to major 1900-08-14 Peking, China For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy during the Boxer Rebellion.
James Forney brevetted to captain
brevetted to major
brevetted to lieutenant colonel
1862-04-24
1869-04-15
1870-03-15
Forts Jackson and St. Philip
Gunpowder Bridge
Formosa
for gallant and meritorious services at the attack upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip
for meritorious services in defeating a rebel raid at Gunpowder Bridge
for gallant and meritorious services in the action with the savages at Formosa.
Allan C. Kelton brevetted to major 1898-07-03 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
Charles G. Long brevetted to captain 1898-06-11 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
Lewis C. Lucas brevetted to captain 1898-06-13 Guantanamo, Cuba For conspicuous conduct in battle during the Spanish-American War.
Louis J. Magill brevetted to first lieutenant
brevetted to captain
1898-06-13 Guantanamo, Cuba for good judgment and gallantry in battle at Guantanamo, Cuba
for good judgment and gallantry in battle at Guantanamo, Cuba
James E. Mahoney brevetted to captain 1898-06-11 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
Charles L. McCawley brevetted to major 1898-06-11 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
William N. McKelvy Sr. brevetted to captain 1898-06-11 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
Albert S. McLemore brevetted to captain 1898-11-06 Guantanamo, Cuba
Paul St. Clair Murphy brevetted to major 1898-07-03 Santiago, Cuba For gallant service in the naval battle of Santiago, Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
John Twiggs Myers brevetted to major 1900-07-20 Peking, China For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy at the defense of the legations during the Boxer Rebellion.
Wendell C. Neville brevetted to captain 1898-06-13 Guantanamo, Cuba For conspicuous conduct in battle during the Spanish-American War. One of only three to ever receive the Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor.
Percival C. Pope brevetted to captain 1863-09-08 Ft. Sumter, USA For gallant and meritorious service in the night attack upon Ft. Sumter during the Civil War.
David D. Porter brevetted to captain 1899-10-08 Novaleta, Philippine Islands For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Philippine Insurrection. One of only three to ever receive the Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor.
William G. Powell brevetted to captain 1900-06-21 Tientsin, China For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Boxer Rebellion.
George Richards brevetted to lieutenant colonel 1900-07-13 Tientsin, China For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy during the Boxer Rebellion.
Melville J. Shaw brevetted to first lieutenant 1898-06-11 Guantanamo, Cuba For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Spanish-American War.
George C. Thorpe brevetted to captain 1899-10-08 Novaleta, Philippine Islands For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Philippine Insurrection.
Littleton W.T. Waller brevetted to lieutenant colonel 1900-07-13 Tientsin, China For distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy during the Boxer Rebellion. He is the only Marine to have been awarded the Brevet Medal and the Navy Specially Meritorious Service Medal

See also

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References

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