This volume contains a complete accounting of every member of the Fourth Marine Brigade who received an award of some kind during World War I. Beginning with an overview of the brigade's contributions to the war effort, the book lists each individual and the honors he received. Citations, which were generally written by a superior (usually an officer), read as originally written and consequently do not always provide an accurate representation of the heroic act. Prewar and postwar experience is noted when available. The award entry site--designated as Verdun, Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont or Meuse Argonne--is also listed. Foreign honors such as the French Croix de Guerre, the Montenegrin Silver Medal of Valor and Italian War Cross are denoted when applicable. An appendix contains detailed information on the inauguration of the Silver Star citation.
This biography recounts his life and career, providing intimate details of crucial historical events. It also explores the psychology of a man whose uncompromising and sometimes destructive personality helped his many enemies block his advancement. Highly respected by others, he was known for believing a commander should never send his men where he himself would not go; he was a brave man dedicated to his beloved Corps with few reservations.
An opening chapter covers Bearss' ancestry, birth in 1875, and youth in Indiana. The main text covers his actions in various Marine campaigns, from early service in the Philippines and the Caribbean to World War I action in France, where he served as part of the 4th Marine Brigade and commanded the 102nd Infantry and the 51st Brigade. The concluding chapters cover his retirement and 1938 death in an automobile collision. Appendices include lists of those who served under him, his awards, and relevant military reports.
This is, however, also the story of the evolution of the Marine Corps as a separate service. Although an occupying force, the Marines did make considerable efforts to earn the friendship of the Chinese people. Always on the brink of extinction due to budgetary cuts and the enmity of the army and navy, the Marines managed to perform an onerous and difficult duty in a foreign land. With a resurgent China constantly testing the United States, a fellow Pacific Rim nation, every policymaker should be well aware of the often difficult history that we share and the mistakes that have been made in the past.