Smith, Holland McTyeire “Howland Mad”

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Smith, Holland McTyeire “Howland Mad”, born on 20-04-1882 in Hatchechubbie, Russell County, Alabama, to John Wesley Smith and his wife Cornelia Caroline McTyeire. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in 1901. He had already decided on a military career and had become first sergeant of a cavalry company in the Alabama National Guard. However, he obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alabama in 1903 and practiced law in Montgomery, Alabama for a year. He then sought a commission in the Army, but instead was appointed a Marine second lieutenant on 20-03-1905. In France, Smith was detached from the 5th Marines and sent to the Army General Staff College at Langres, from which he graduated in February 1918. He was the first of only six Marines ever to complete this course. He was then named Adjutant of the 4th Marine Brigade , which was a part o f the US Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, nickname “Indianhead”  serving in a relatively quiet sector southeast of Verdun. The 2nd Infantry Division had the next losses during their European campaign, killed in action: 3.031, wounded in action: 12.785 and died of wounds: 457. During the fighting in and around Belleau Wood, he played “a vital though undramatic” role as Brigade liaison officer, overseeing internal communications within the Brigade. Transferred to the I Corps, First Army, in July 1918, he served as assistant operations officer in charge of liaison during the Aisne-Marne, Oisne-Aisne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. After the Armistice he participated in the March to the Rhine through Belgium and Luxembourg as an assistant operations officer with the Third Army , and served with the General Staff, U.S. Army, during the occupation of Germany. General Smith assumed command of the 1st Marine Brigade at Quantico, taking that unit to Guantanam Bay, Cuba, for extended amphibious training in October 1940. In February 1941, when the brigade was redesigned the U.S. 1st Marine Division, nickname “The Old Breed” File:1st MARDIV 2 insignia.png he became that organization’s first commander. The battle for Guadalcanal would cost the division 650 killed in action, 1.278 wounded in action with a further 8.580 contracting malaria and 31 missing in action. The month of fighting against the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Division 1.252 dead and 5.274 wounded. Fighting on Okinawa cost the division 1.655 killed in action. He returned with the division to Quantico in April 1941, and in June of that year he was detached from it to take command of the organization that eventually became the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet.

  Under this command, the 1st Marine Division and the 1st and 9th Army Divisions received their initial training in amphibious warfare. Moving to San Diego in August 1942, the general took command of the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet, under which he completed the amphibious indoctrination of the 2nd  and 3rd Marine  Divisions before they went overseas, and the 7th Army Division  and other units involved in the Aleutians operation. The Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet, was later redesigned the V Amphibious Corps, and in September 1943, as commander of that unit, General Smith arrived at Pearl Harbor to begin planning for the Gilberts campaign. He continued to head the V Amphibious Corps until August 1944, when he was named Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, at Pearl Harbor. Subsequently, he commanded the Fleet Marine Force. In addition to that post, he commanded Task Force 56 in the battle of Iwo Jima before returning to the United States in July 1945, to head the Marine Training and Replacement Command at Camp Pendleton, California. A Lieutenant General when he was retired 15-05-1946, at the age of 64, he was promoted to General on the retired list for having been especially commended in combat. Smith took up residence in La Jolla, California, where he pursued his hobby, gardening. Following a long illness,

Death and burial ground of Smith, Holland McTyeire “Howland Mad”.

General Smith died 12-01-1967, age 84 after a long illness at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California.

     Funeral services were held on January 14, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Chapel, and the General was interred with full military honors in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, with his wife Ada, born Wilkinson, who died age 77, on 27-07-1962, overlooking San Diego harbor and North Island. General Smith, was survived by a son, Rear Admiral John V. Smith. General Smith’s wife, the former Ada B. Wilkinson, had died in 1962.

 

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