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Barrett, Charles Dodson (1885-1943)


Photograph of Charles D. Barrett

USMC

Barrett was one of three Marine majors (the others being Lyle Miller and Pedro Del Valle) who began drafting the Tentative Manual for Landing Operations in 1931. This document laid the foundation for Marine amphibious operations during the Pacific War.

Barrett commanded 3 Marine Division from its activation on 16 September 1942 to September 1943, but never led the division in combat. He commanded I Marine Amphibious Corps from 15 September 1943, but died on 8 October 1943 while training his troops on New Caledonia under circumstances strongly suggesting suicide: He fell from an upper window to his death, the window sill was four feet off the floor, and a chair was found by the window. Halsey had apparently told Barrett that he intended to relieve him of his command the previous day. However, the inquest ruled the death an accident, likely because of the strong Western stigma against suicide. 

Barrett had a keen intellect and broad experience in the Corps, but he also had a tendency to "step out of character and endeavor to run . . . whatever higher echelon to which he was assigned" (Rems 2008) and a "humanitarian" character that made him so averse to casualties that he had difficulty accepting the necessary risks of war.

Service record

1885-8-16     

Born at Henderson, Kentucky
1909-8-11
Second lieutenant     
Commissioned in the Marine Corps and assigned to Marine Officers' School.
1911-1

Marine Barracks, Boston
1911-5-23

BB Indiana
1911-9-3

BB New Jersey
1914-4

Participates in Vera Cruz Expedition
1914-12-13     

Marine Barracks, Norfolk
1918-9-25

Detached duty with U.S. Army, France
1919
Major
Commander, 2 Battalion, 367 Infantry Regiment
1919-4

4 Marine Regiment
1921

Dominican Republic
1924

American Battle Monuments Commission
1927

Ecole de Guerre, Paris
1929

Instructor, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico
1933

Division of Operations and Training, Headquarters Marine Corps
1935

Division Marine officer, Battleship Division 4
1936

War Plans Section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
1939-8
Colonel
Commander, 5 Marine Regiment
1940-7

Director, Division of Plans and Policies
1941-11

Assistant to the Commandant of the Corps
1942-3-21
Brigadier general      Commander, 3 Marine Brigade, Samoa
1942-8-23
Major general
Commander, 3 Marine Division
1943-9-15

Commander, I Marine Amphibious Corps
1943-10-8

Probable suicide

References

Rems (2008-8; accessed 2015-1-1)

Rottman (2002)

United States Marine Corps History Division (accessed 2008-9-27)

Venzon (2003)



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