Pollock, Edwin A. [MajGen CG 1stMarDiv]

MGen Edwin A Pollock 1stMarDiv

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Edwin A. Pollock
General Edwin A. Pollock
Born 21 March 1899
Augusta, Georgia
Died 5 November 1982 (age 83)
South Carolina
Place of burial Beaufort National Cemetery
Allegiance biography United States of America
Service/branch biography United States Marine Corps
Years of service 19181959
Rank biography General
Commands held Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic
2nd Marine Division
1st Marine Division
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards Navy Cross
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star with "V"

General Edwin A. Pollock USMC, was a highly decorated combat veteran of World War II and Korea who commanded both the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions and is the only man to have served as Commanding General of both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Marine Force. He had been advanced to the rank of general upon retirement by reason of having been specially commended in combat.

Pollock was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism on Guadalcanal the night of 2021 August 1942. He was then a lieutenant colonel serving as a battalion commander with the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. His citation states in part:

"When the troops under his command were subjected to a powerful and determined surprise attack at the Tenaru River, Lieutenant-Colonel Pollock, immediately leaving his Command Post, advanced through severe enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to a position in the front line, and while thus constantly exposed to extreme danger, directed the defense of our forces for a period of twelve hours. As a result of his excellent judgment and superb leadership, the men under his command destroyed practically the entire enemy force of seven hundred."


Pollock was born on 21 March 1899, at Augusta, Georgia, where he attended the Summerville Academy. He also studied for a year at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia before entering The Citadel at Charleston, South Carolina in 1918. Graduating from The Citadel in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve that June. He resigned that commission to accept appointment as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve 1 July 1921.

After completing the Company Officers' Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, Pollock reported to the Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina, in November 1922. He began his first tour of expeditionary duty in 1923 when he was ordered to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 1926, after duty with the West Coast Expeditionary Forces at San Diego, California, and a brief period at Quantico, he joined the 11th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua for his second tour of expeditionary service. He was promoted to first lieutenant in September 1926. He later joined the Staff of the Commanding General, 2d Brigade Marines, in Nicaragua, before returning to Quantico in late 1927.

In August 1928, as a member of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Galveston (CL-19), Pollock was ordered once more to Nicaragua, during the U.S. military intervention in the Central American country. From June 1930 to August 1934, he served on the staff of the Marine Corps Schools. He was also attached to the 1st Marines during a period of intensive training aboard the USS Arkansas (BB-33) in Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific waters. In August 1934, he was assigned duty aboard the USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) as Commanding Officer, Marine Detachment. That November he was promoted to captain. He continued to command the Marine Detachment until June 1936.

During the following year, Pollock served at the Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Julien's Creek, Virginia. In June 1937, he was ordered to Philadelphia where he served as Officer in Charge of the Publicity Bureau. He was promoted to major in September 1938. Leaving Philadelphia in June 1939, Pollock was assigned to the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. There he completed the Senior Course and served as Assistant Instructor in the Base Defense Weapons and Reserve Officers' courses. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1942.

In April 1942, Pollock took command of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. He embarked for the Pacific area in June and two months later participated in the action which earned him the Navy Cross on Guadalcanal. That September, he was named Executive Officer of the 1st Marines, and in July 1943 became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations), 1st Marine Division. He was promoted to colonel in November 1943.

Pollock later took part in the Eastern New Guinea and Cape Gloucester operations, earning the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" during the latter. He returned to the States in March 1944 as Staff Instructor at the Army, Navy Staff College. In December 1944, he rejoined the Fleet Marine Force overseas as Operations Officer and, later, Chief of Staff, 4th Marine Division. During combat on Iwo Jima, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V".

In November 1945, Pollock was again ordered to Quantico. He served there successively as Commanding Officer of the Basic School, Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Schools, and Chief of Staff of the Marine Barracks. Subsequently assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., he was appointed Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in June 1948. In July 1949, with his promotion to brigadier general, he became Director of Plans and Policies at Headquarters Marine Corps.


Pollock was promoted to major general in October 1951. That December, he became Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

In August 1952, he arrived in Korea to assume command of the 1st Marine Division. The Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to him for outstanding service in this capacity during the Korean War from August 1952 to June 1953, during bitter engagements on the Reno-Carson-Vegas Complex.

Shortly after returning from Korea, the general reported to Quantico in July 1953 as Director of the Marine Corps Educational Center. A year later he assumed command of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. In January 1956, Pollock was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico.

Pollock left Quantico in August 1956 to assume duty the following month at Camp H. M. Smith as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Honolulu, T.H. Following this assignment, he served as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, from December 1957 until his retirement on 1 November 1959.

In 1965 he was instrumental in helping found the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas and served as the school's first President and Commandant, he later served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors at The Citadel and was named Chairman Emeritus upon the completion of his term. The auditorium at the headquarters of the Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia is named in his honor and the bridge leading to the main gate at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina is named the General Edwin Pollock Causeway.

Pollock died on 5 November 1982, and is buried at Beaufort National Cemetery, South Carolina.

Awards and decorations

A complete list of the general's medals and decorations include:

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1st Row Navy Cross Army Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Legion of Merit with Combat "V" Bronze Star with Combat "V" Navy Presidential Unit Citation with three stars Navy Unit Commendation with one star
3rd Row World War I Victory Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one star Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal American Defense Service Medal
4th Row American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four service stars World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal
5th Row Korean Service Medal with three service stars Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal Korean Presidential Unit Citation United Nations Korea Medal