Holcomb, Thomas, born on 0-08-1879 in New Castle, Delaware, attended private schools there until 1893 when his family moved to Washington, D.C. He graduated from Western High School in 1897. Holcomb was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps from civilian life on 13-04-1900. Second Lieutenant Holcomb was on detached duty with a company of Marines organized for service with a Marine battalion attached to the North Atlantic Fleet from September 1902 to April 1903. He was promoted to first lieutenant 03-03-1903. He served in the Philippine Islands from April 1904 to August 1905, and in October and November 1906. Captain Holcomb served as Inspector of Target Practice in the Marine Corps from October 1914 to August 1917. While serving as such, he was promoted to the rank of major on 29-08-1916. From August 1917 to January 1918, Major Holcomb commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, in preparation of overseas duty. From February 1918 to July of the next year, following his appointment to lieutenant colonel on 04-06-1920, he served with the American Expeditionary Force, AEF, in France. He commanded the 2nd Battalion from August 1918 and served as second in command of the 6th Marine Regiment , taking part in the Aisne Defensive, Chateau Thierry, the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Marbache Sector, the St. Mihiel Offensive, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Champagne, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and the March to the Rhine in Germany following the Armistice. On 01-03-1936, Holcomb returned to Headquarters Marine Corps to assume the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In April 1941 the US Navy convened its General Board to discuss expansion of the Holcomb said that African Americans had no right to serve as Marines. He said, “If it were a question of having a Marine Corps of 5.000 whites or 250.000 Negroes, I would rather have the whites.” With his advancement to Lieutenant General on 20-01-1942, he became the highest-ranking officer ever to command the Marine Corps up to that time. On 05-08-1943, when Lieutenant General Holcomb reached the regular retirement age, President Franklin Roosevelt announced he was continuing Holcomb as Commandant of the Marine Corps, in recognition of his outstanding services in that capacity. Holcomb continued as Commandant until 31-12-1943. He was succeeded by Lieutenant General Alexander Archer Vandegrift
. During Holcomb’s seven year tour of duty as Commandant, the Marine Corps expanded from 16,000 to about 300.000 Marines. Also, on 13-02-1943, he officially announced that women were eligible to serve in the Marine Corps; a date that is recognized and celebrated as the anniversary of women in the Marine Corps. On 12-04-1944, Holcomb was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his outstanding work as Commandant. After nearly 44 years as a Marine,
Death and burial ground of Holcomb, Thomas.
Lieutenant General Holcomb retired on 01-01-1944. Following a serious illness in the spring of 1964, he returned to his native New Castle, Delaware, where he at the old age of 85 died, on 24-05-1965. Holcomb is buried with his wife Beatrice, born Miller, who died age 66 on 14-08-1962, on Arlington Cemetery, Section 3. Close by in Section 3 the graves of the Major General, Commander, G1 (Personnel) Section, Headquarters SHAEF, Charles Bonesteel, 101st Airborne General, Anthony McAuliffe, the Bastogne defender, Major General. Commander, 7th Armoured Division, Truman Boudinot, Commanded the 25st Infantry Division during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Maxwell Murray, Major General, adviser MacArthur. Corps Engineers, Hugh Casey, Major General, “Father of the Armoured Forces”, Adna Chaffee, Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff, Hugh Drum, Rear Admiral, U Boot 505, Daniel Gallery, Lieutenant General, Quartermaster U.S. Army, Thomas Larkin, General Lieutenant, Commander 84th Infantry Division Third Army, Alexander Bolling and Marine Corps General, Iwo Jima-Guadalcanal-Okinawa, Randolph Pate.