The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Archives #80-G-423190. Cropped by author.
A native of Texas, Oliver Smith was a Berkeley
commissioned into the Army
during the First World War. He transferred to the Marines in 1919. He attended the
Infantry School in 1931-1932 and was an instructor at Quantico in
1932-1933. As assistant naval attaché in Paris,
he completed the course at the Ecole
Superieur de Guerre, and in 1941-1942 he served as commander of
6 Marine Regiment in the American
occupation of Iceland.
A talented planner, Smith was transferred to Marine Corps headquarters in 1942 and did not return to combat until January 1944, when he led 5 Marine Regiment on New Britain. He was promoted to brigadier general in time to serve as assistant division commander of 1 Marine Division at Peleliu. He was on the staff of Simon Buckner at Okinawa but returned to the United States to command Marine training schools.
Smith's finest moment came in the Korean War, when he led 1 Marine Division at the Chosin Reservoir. His superior had ordered him to march into the mountains from the east coast to seize a road junction needed by the then-retreating North Korean army. His division was strung out along several miles of road when the massive Chinese intervention in that war took place. Smith was able to gather his division and retreat to the coast for evacuation, a considerable feat of arms.
Retreat, hell. We're just attacking in another direction.
Smith subsequently was promoted to lieutenant general, commanded Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, and retired in 1955.
||Born in Menard, Texas
||Graduates from University of
||Marine Barracks, Guam
||Marine Barracks, Mare Island
||Personnel section, Marine Corps
||Field Officers' Course, Army Infantry School
||Staff, 7 Marine Regiment
||Resident officer, France
||Student, Ecole Superieture de
||Instructor, Marine Corps School
||Staff, Marine Corps Base, San Diego
||Commander, 6 Marine Regiment,
||Executive officer, Division of
Plans and Policies, Marine Corps
||Commander, 5 Marine Regiment
||Assistant division commander, 1
||Deputy chief of staff, 10 Army
||Commandant, Marine Corps Schools
||Commander, Marine Barracks,
||Assistant Commandant of the Corps
||Commander, 1 Marine Division,
||Commander, Marine Corps Base,
||Commander, Fleet Marine Force,
Dupuy et al. (1992)
Naval Historical Center (accessed 2008-7-2)
Corps Historical Division (accessed 2008-7.2)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2011 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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