Alexander Vandegrift

Alexander Vandegrift

Alexander Vandegrift was born in the United States in 1887. He joined the US Marines and in March 1943 was appointed commander of the 1st Marine Division. He was also given responsibility for the combat training in preparation for its assignment to the Pacific War.

Vandegrift had the task of removing the stranglehold of the Japanese in the South Pacific and conducted his first successful amphibious landings at Guadalcanal on 7th August, 1942. Despite attempts by the Japanese Army, Japanese Navy and Japanese Air Force, the US Marines were able to stay and build the Henderson Field airstrip.

The US Marines managed to withstand continuous attacks including the battles of Tenaru River (21st August) and Bloody Ridge (12th September). Vandegrift, who was awarded the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor, for his achievements on Guadalcanal, was relieved by General Alexander Patch and the 14th Corps in December.

In July 1943, Vandegrift was given command of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps and directed the military operations at Bougainville in November.

Promoted to general was later recalled to Washington in 1944 to assume overall command of the Marine Corps. Alexander Vandegrift died in 1973.