Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Lewis William Walt
Lewis William Walt was born in February 1913 in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. At 17, he enlisted in the Colorado National Guard and attended Colorado State University.
In 1937, Walt completed basic training and served in the 6th Marine Regiment in San Diego. He took part in the defense of the International Settlement of Shanghai in China. In 1939, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks in Guam, Mariana Islands.
Between 1941 and 1942, Walt served as company commander of the Marine Corps Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Following that, he was commander of Company A, 1st Marine Raider Battalion and received a Silver Star Medal for his actions in the assault on Tulagi Island in the British Solomon Islands.
Afterward, Walt served as commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, on Guadalcanal. While serving as battalion commander of the same unit, he fought in combat despite injuries and was spot promoted to lieutenant colonel.
In December 1943, Walt led the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in the assault at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. He assumed command of the 3rd Battalion during the battle for Aogiri Ridge. He was awarded a Navy Cross, and the ridge was renamed Walt Ridge. Soon after, he was assigned as regimental executive officer of the 2nd Battalion and later deployed to Peleliu, Palua, as regimental executive officer, 5th Marines, in September 1944.
Between 1944 and 1949, Walt served as chief of the Officer Candidates School Tactics Section; assistant chief of staff of 3rd Marine Brigade at Camp Pendleton; chief of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade on Guam; and battalion commander of the Special Training Regiment at the Marine Corps School.
In 1951, Walt deployed to South Korea as commanding officer, 5th Marines, then assistant chief of staff, G-3, before transitioning to chief of staff of the division. While in South Korea, Walt received several medals and honors.
Walt returned to the Marine Corps School and served as director of the Advanced Base Problem Section; commanding officer at the Officers Basic School; and the assistant director of personnel in Washington, D.C.
Between 1959 and 1962, Walt started at the National War College in Washington, D.C., then served as the Marine Corps representative on the Joint Advanced Study Group of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was promoted to brigadier general and assigned as assistant division commander, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Later, he served as director of the Marine Corps Landing Force Development Center at the Marine Corps School.
Walt was promoted to major general in 1965, assumed command of III Marine Amphibious Force and 3rd Marine Division in South Vietnam, and promoted again in March 1966. He received a Distinguished Service Medal among other honors from the Vietnamese government.
Between 1967 and 1969, Walt served as deputy chief of staff/director of personnel at the Marine Corps headquarters; assistant commandant of the Marine Corps; and was promoted to four-star general, becoming the first assistant commandant to attain the rank.
Walt retired from active duty in 1971. In 1974, President Ford named him to the Clemency Review Board.
Walt died in March 1989 in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the age of 76. He is buried in Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia.
We honor his service.
Carry the Load
In 2022, VA is joining forces with Carry The Load to honor veterans during the “Memorial May” March, a national relay visiting 50 VA national cemeteries to honor our nation’s fallen service members. A link to this webpage is here. The complete list of participating cemeteries can be found here. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Alexandra Kaiser
Editors: Theresa Lyon, Annabelle Colton
Researchers: Carl Wesseln, David Charles Deprez
Graphic Designer: Brittany Gorski
Project Manager: Oasis Diaz