Cates, Clifton Bledsoe, born on 31-08-1893 in Tiptonville, Tennessee, in 1916 was commissioned as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves. During World War I, Cates served with the 6th Marine Regiment , fighting in France. For his heroism in the Aisne defensive at Boursches and Belleau Wood and Verdun,
he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross and Oak Leaf Cluster, in addition to the Purple Heart . He was awarded a Silver Star for his gallantry at Soissons. In World War II, after commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, he succeeding General Alexander Archer Vandegrift in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings and the capture and defence of Guadalcanal, the General fought as commander of the 4th Marine Division, nickname “Fighting Fourth” in the Marines operation, the Tinian campaign and the seizure of Iwo Jima.
The famous picture of the Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi was taken on Iwo Jima. The island was declared secure at 1800 hours on 16-03-1945, after 26 days of combat. The 4th Marine Division’s casualties numbered 1.462 killed in action and 7.636 wounded, which was almost half the Division’s strength. An estimated 22.000 Japanese had been killed by the three Marine Divisions, 8.982 were counted in the 4th Division’s area of operations. The Fighting Fourth took only 44 Japanese soldiers prisoner. He won the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” at Guadalcanal, the Distinguished Service Medal at Tinian and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal at Iwo Jima. His Iwo Jima citation states in part. “A bold tactician, he landed his force on the southeast shore of the island against heavy enemy resistance and, defying the terrific, continuous bombardment laid down by enemy guns located strategically on high ground which afforded direct observation and complete coverage of his entire zone of action, pushed his relentless advance through the shifting volcanic sands. He was succeeded by General Harry Schmidt. After his first tour of duty in the Pacific, returned to the United States to serve as Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico until 1944.
Death and burial ground of Cates, Clifton Bledsoe.
He then returned to the Pacific theater until the end of the war as commander of the 4th Marine Division. He retired on 30-06-1954 and General Clifton Bledsoe Cates, at the age of 76, nineteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps, died 04-06-1970, at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland, after a long illness. He was buried with his wife Jane, born McIllenney, who died old age 90, in 1988, with full military honours, at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 5. Close by the graves of General Frank Andrews, General, Provost Marshal, Headquarters, IX Corps, William Abendroth, Lieutenant General, Commander 3rd Armoured Division, Frederick Brown.
The 3rd Armoured Division, nickname “Spearhead” had 231 days of combat in World War II, with a total of 2.540 killed, 7.331 wounded, 95 missing, and 139 captured. Total battle and non-battle casualties came to 16.122. Also buried in this section, Navy Admiral, Commander Tenth Naval District, John “Johnny” Hoover, Admiral USA Navy, US 7th Fleet , Thomas Kinkaid and Major General, Provost Marshal, Headquarters, IX Corps, William Abendroth. Also buried here Major General, Commanding General of the Tenth Air Force , Clayton Lawrence Bissel.