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Geiger, Roy Stanley (1885-1947)


Photograph of Roy Geiger

National Archives #80-G-235994

Cropped by author

"Rugged Roy" Geiger was born in Florida and graduated from John B. Stetson University in 1907. He was very briefly a lawyer before joining the Marines as an enlisted man in November 1907. Two years later he was commissioned. He saw service in Latin America, the Philippines, and China as well as at sea. He was the fifth Marine officer to complete flight training, in 1917. By 1918, he was leading a bomber squadron in Europe.

Between the wars Geiger was active in developing both aerial and amphibious doctrine. He was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff School (1925) and the Army War College (1929). He was selected to participate in the Grand Conference that reviewed the Tentative Manual for Landing Operations in December 1933, and he attended and the Navy War College in 1941.

The attack on Pearl Harbor found Geiger recently promoted to brigadier general and in command of 1 Marine Aircraft Wing on the East Coast. He led his wing into combat at Guadalcanal before being promoted to major general and serving for a time as director of Marine aviation in Washington. Late in 1943 he received another field command, this time with I Marine Amphibious Corps, which was later redesignated III Amphibious Corps and fought at Guam, Peleliu, and Okinawa. When 10 Army commander Simon Bucker was killed at Okinawa, Geiger was the next senior officer and thereby became the only Marine officer ever to command a field army. In July he relieved Holland Smith as Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He died shortly before he was scheduled to retire, and was posthumously awarded the rank of full general.

Spruance described Geiger as "born brave." Frank (1990) describes him as "Stern, curt, even ruthless". Smith (2000) describes him as having "the temperament and appearance of a Roman emperor". Geiger was a strong proponent of air support for ground operations and a hard driver who once shamed reluctant pilots on Guadalcanal to make greater efforts by personally piloting an SBD to dive-bomb a Japanese position. He also had no tolerance for interservice rivalry, and saw to it that his Marines worked effectively with 77 Division on Guam and 81 Division on Peleliu.

Service record

1885-1-25    

Born at Middleburg, Florida
1907

Graduates from Stetson University, Florida
1907-11-2    

Enlists in the Marine Corps
1909-2-6
Second lieutenant     
Commissioned in the Marine Corps. Assigned to Wisconsin.
1912-8

Service in Nicaragua
1913

American Legation, China
1916-3-31
First lieutenant
Flight training
1917-12-15     
Captain
Commander, Aeronatic Detachment
1918-7

1 Marine Aviation Force
1924

Command and General Staff SchoolHolland Smith
1928

Army War College
1931-11-6
Major
Director of Marine Corps Aviation
1940

Navy War College
1941-8-20
Colonel
Commander, 1 Marine Aircraft Wing
1943-5-13
Major general
Director of Marine Corps Aviation
1943-11-9     

Commander, I Marine Amphibious Corps
1944-4-15

Commander, III Amphibious Corps
1945-6-23

Interim commander, 10 Army
1945-7-3

Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
1947
General
Dies; posthumously promoted


References

Buell (1987)

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Frank (1990)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-2-28)

Rottman (2002)

Smith (2000)

Venzon (2003)



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