General David Monroe Shoup
Monroe Shoup served as the twenty-second Commandant of the Marine Corps
from January 1, 1960 until his retirement from active service, December
31, 1963. The General was born December 30, 1904, at Battle Ground,
Indiana. A 1926 graduate of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, he
was a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps at the University.
He served for a month as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Infantry
Reserve before he was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant on July
20, 1926. Ordered to Marine Officers' Basic School at the Philadelphia
Navy Yard, Lieutenant Shoup's instruction was interrupted twice by
temporary duty elsewhere in the United States and by expeditionary duty
with the Sixth Marines in Tientsin, China. After serving in China
during most of 1927, he completed Basic School in 1928. He then served
at Quantico, Virginia; Pensacola, Florida; and San Diego, California.
From June 1929 to September 1931, Lieutenant Shoup was assigned to the
Marine detachment aboard the USS MARYLAND. By coincidence, the USS
MARYLAND was the flagship for the assault on Tarawa 12 years later
--providing emergency Naval gunfire support with her 16-inch guns early
On his return from sea duty, he served as a company officer at the
Marine Corps Base (later Marine Corps Recruit Depot), San Diego, until
May 1932 when he was ordered to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton,
Washington. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in June 1932.
Lieutenant Shoup served on temporary duty with the Civilian
Conservation Corps in Idaho and New Jersey form June 1933 to May 1934.
Following duty in Seattle, Washington, he was again ordered to China in
November 1934, serving briefly with the Fourth Marines in Shanghai,
and, subsequently, at the American Legation in Peiping.
He returned to the United States, via Japan, early in June 1936 and was
again stationed at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. He was promoted to
Captain in October 1936. Captain Shoup entered the Junior Course,
Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, in July 1937. Upon completing the
course in May 1938, he served as an instructor for two years. In June
1940, he joined the Sixth Marines in San Diego. He was promoted to
Major in April 1941. One month later, Major Shoup was ordered to
Iceland with the Sixth Marines and, after serving as Regimental
Operations Officer, became Operations Officer of the 1st Marine Brigade
in Iceland in October 1941. For his service in Iceland during the first
three months after the United States entered World War II, he was
awarded the Letter of Commendation with Commendation Ribbon. He assumed
command of the 2d Battalion, Sixth Marines, in February 1942.
Upon returning to the United States in March, the 1st Marine Brigade
was disbanded and Major Shoup returned with this battalion to San
Diego. In July 1942, he became Assistant Operations and Training
Officer of the 2d Marine Division. He was promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel in August 1942. As a Colonel, Shoup earned the nation's highest
award, the Medal of Honor, while commanding the Second Marines, 2d
Marine Division, at Betio, a bitterly contested island of Tarawa Atoll.
The British Distinguished Service Order was also awarded to him for
this action. The following citation accompanied his award of the Medal
of Honor: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his
own life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of all
Marine Corps troops in action against enemy Japanese forces on Betio
Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from November 20 to 22, 1943.
Although severely shocked by an exploding shell soon after landing at
the pier, and suffering from a serious painful leg wound which had
become infected, Colonel Shoup fearlessly exposed himself to the
terrific relentless artillery, and rallying his hesitant troops by his
own inspiring heroism, gallantly led them across the fringing reefs to
charge the heavily fortified island and reinforced our hard-pressed
thinly-held lines. Upon arrival at the shore, he assumed command of all
landed troops and, working without rest under constant withering enemy
fire during the next two days conducted smashing attacks against
unbelievably strong and fanatically defended Japanese positions despite
innumerable obstacles and heavy casualties. Colonel Shoup’s
battle report from Tarawa stated simply: "Casualties many; Percentage
of dead not known; Combat efficiency; we are winning." (Colonel David
M. Shoup, USMC, Tarawa, 21 November 1943.)
By his brilliant leadership, daring tactics, and selfless devotion to
duty, Colonel Shoup was largely responsible for the final, decisive
defeat of the enemy and his indomitable fighting spirit reflects great
credit upon the United States Naval Service." General Shoup was the
25th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II. The late
James V. Forrestal, then Secretary of the Navy, presented it to him on
January 22, 1945. Sailing from San Diego aboard the USS MATSONIA in
September 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Shoup arrived later that month at
Wellington, New Zealand. From then until November 1943, he served as
G-3, Operations and Training Officer of the 2d Marine Division during
its training period in New Zealand. His service in this capacity during
the planning of the assault on Tarawa earned him his first Legion of
Merit with Combat "V". During this period he briefly served as an
observer with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal in October 1942
and with the 43d Army Division on Rendova, New Georgia, in the summer
of 1943, earning a Purple Heart in the latter operation. Promoted to
Colonel November 9, 1943, Colonel Shoup was placed in command of the
Second Marines (Reinforced), the spearhead of the assault on Tarawa.
During this action he earned the Medal of Honor as well as a second
Purple Heart. In December 1943, he became Chief of Staff of the 2d
Marine Division. For outstanding service in this capacity from June to
August 1944, during the battles for Saipan and Tinian, he was again
awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V".
He returned to the United States in October 1944. Upon his return to
the United States, Colonel Shoup served as Logistics Officer, Division
of Plans and Policies, Headquarters Marine Corps. He was again ordered
overseas in June 1947. Two months later he became Commanding Officer,
Service Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. In June 1949, he joined
the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton as Division Chief of Staff. A
year later, Colonel Shoup was transferred to Quantico where he served
as Commanding Officer of the Basic School from July 1950 until April
1952. He was then assigned to the Office of the Fiscal Director,
Headquarters Marine Corps, and served as Assistant Fiscal Director.
He was promoted Brigadier General in April 1953. In July 1953, General
Shoup was named Fiscal Director of the Marine Corps. While serving in
this capacity, he was promoted to Major General in September 1955.
Subsequently, in May 1956, he began a brief assignment as Inspector
General for Recruit Training. Following this assignment, he served as
Inspector General of the Marine Corps from September 1956 until May
1957. He returned to Camp Pendleton in June 1957 to become Commanding
General of the 1st Marine Division. General Shoup joined the 3d Marine
Division on Okinawa in March 1958 as Commanding General. Following his
return to the United States, he served as Commanding General of the
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, from May to October 1959.
On November 2, 1959, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned
duties as Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps. General Shoup was
nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 12, 1959 to be
the 22d Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Senate confirmed his
nomination for a four-year term. Upon assuming his post as Commandant
of the Marine Corps on January 1, 1960, he was promoted to four-star
rank. On January 21, 1964, shortly after his retirement, General Shoup
was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Lyndon B.
Johnson for exceptionally meritorious service as Commandant of the
The complete list of the General's medals and decorations includes: the
Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit
with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Letter of
Commendation with Commendation Ribbon, the Purple Heart with Gold Star
in lieu of a second award, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Yangtze
Service Medal, the Expeditionary Medal, the American Defense Service
Medal with Base clasp, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, the
American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National
Defense Service Medal, and the British Distinguished Service Order.
General David Monroe Shoup died 13 January 1983, and was buried in
Section 7-A of Arlington National Cemetery.