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Charles D. Barrett

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Charles D. Barrett

Charles Dodson Barrett
MajGen Charles D. Barrett
Born (1885-08-16)August 16, 1885
Henderson, Kentucky
Died October 8, 1943(1943-10-08) (aged 58)
Noumea, New Caledonia
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1909–1943
Rank Major General
Commands held Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
5th Marines
3rd Marine Brigade
3rd Marine Division
I Marine Amphibious Corps
Battles/wars Veracruz (1914)
World War I
*Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Occupation of the Dominican Republic
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal

Major General Charles Dodson Barrett (16 August 1885 –8 October 1943) was the first Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division. He died while on duty in the South Pacific, 8 October 1943. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of his outstanding service during World War II. Camp Barrett, home of The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico is named after him.


  • Biography 1
  • Decorations and awards 2
    • Distinguished Service Medal citation 2.1
  • Honors 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


Charles Dodson Barrett was born on 16 August 1885, at Henderson, Kentucky. Charles was the fifth of six children to Kate Waller Barrett (1857–1925) and Reverend Robert South Barrett (1851–1896).[1] He graduated from high school in Alexandria, Virginia. He was commissioned a U.S. Marine Corps second lieutenant on 11 August 1909. He was assigned duty at the Marine Officers School, Port Royal, South Carolina, the following month. In January 1911, Barrett began a few months duty at the Marine Barracks, Boston, Massachusetts, and was detached on 23 May 1911 to report to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, to command the Marine detachment aboard the USS Indiana. On 3 September 1911, he transferred to the USS New Jersey.

Barrett landed with the detachment of the USS New Jersey at Vera Cruz, Mexico, on 22 April 1914, and participated in the capture of that city. He was detached from the New Jersey on 13 December 1914 to the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia.

Barrett's World War I duty included detached service with the United States Army in France from 25 September 1918. He participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of November 1–3, 1918, and in the spring of 1919 was in command of the 2nd Battalion, 367th Infantry at LeMans, France. Detached from the Army in April, he reported to the Commanding General, 4th Brigade, Marines, at Nieder Bieber, Germany, and was detailed as Adjutant from 11 April. He arrived back in the United States on 3 August 1919.

From 1921–1922, General Barrett served in Santo Domingo and from 1924–27 was a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, Washington, D.C. He then returned to France to study at the Ecole de Guerre in Paris, and from 1929–33 served as an instructor at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia. During the next two years, he was assigned to the Division of Operations and Training, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, and from 1935–36 served aboard ship as Division Marine Officer of Battleship Division 4, U.S. Battle Force.

Upon completion of sea duty with the Battle Force, the Barrett spent two and one-half years in the War Plans Section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.; and from August 1939 to June 1940, commanded the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force. He returned to Headquarters, Washington, in July 1940, serving first as Director of the Division of Plans and Policies. Later he served as Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb, from November 1941 to March 1942.

In March 1942, General Barrett assumed command of the

Further reading

  • Major General Charles D. Barrett, USMC, Who's Who in Marine Corps History, History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved on 2007-09-06

This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Rems, Alan. South Pacific Cauldron: World War II's Great Forgotten Battlegrounds. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1-61251-471-0. p. 92.
  6. ^


See also

In Virginia, three locations are named after him:

  • General Barrett is the namesake for the troop transport USNS Barrett (T-AP-196)[6]


For exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

General Barrett was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his World War II service. His citation reads:

Distinguished Service Medal citation

Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal w/ Meuse-Argonne clasp
Army of Occupation of Germany Medal American Defense Service Medal w/ Base clasp Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal
General Barrett's medals and decorations include:

Decorations and awards

The General's death has always been somewhat shrouded in mystery, but there is evidence that his death was actually a suicide, committed the day after he was fired as IMAC CG by Admiral Halsey.[4] The general fell out of the second floor window of his residence at Nouméa and the inquest ruled the death accidental related to a possible cerebral hemorrhage. However the interior window sill was four feet above the floor and a chair was found placed next to it which Barrett apparently used as a step to jump out the window.[5] The sudden death of General Barrett resulted in Vandegrift's recall to the Pacific to resume command of IMAC.

On 15 September 1943, General Barrett relinquished command of the 3rd Marine Division; and on 27 September 1943, Maj-Gen Barrett replaced Lieutenant General Alexander Vandegrift as the commanding general of the First Marine Amphibious Corps (IMAC) (headquartered on Nouméa, New Caledonia) when Vandegrift was to return to Washington, D.C. to become the 18th Commandant of the Marine Corps. In this capacity, he continued with the planning for the assault on Bougainville until his death three weeks later.[2] According to official accounts, he was accidentally injured following a cerebral hemorrhage and died on 8 October 1943 at the base hospital. General Barrett was buried in the American cemetery in New Caledonia. Following the war, he was reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.[3]

Early in 1943, he embarked with elements of the 3rd Marine Division for Auckland, New Zealand. By August 1943, he had all the major units of his division stationed on Guadalcanal, training intensively for the Bougainville operation.


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