By TLB Contributor: Ken LaRive.
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed “The Fighting Quaker” and “Old Gimlet Eye”, was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
With 34 years of the Marine Corps under his belt, Smedley Butler had seen it all. He was awarded many medals for heroism and duty, including the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (the highest Marine medal at its time for officers), and twice the Medal of Honor, one of only 19 people to have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice. He was one of only three Marines to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different situations.
In addition to his military career, Smedley Butler was noted for his outspoken anti-interventionist views, and writes about this extensively in his book War is a Racket, and descriptions of what we now know as the military-industrial complex.
After retiring from service, he became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.
In 1934, he informed the United States Congress that a group of wealthy industrialists had plotted a military coup known as the Business Plot to overthrow the government.
Needless to say, the survival of America’s democracy is not an automatic or sure thing. Americans need to remain vigilant against all enemies… both foreign and domestic.
# Born: West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
# Educated: Haverford School
# Married: Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905
# Awarded two congressional medals of honor:
1. Capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914
2. Capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917
# Distinguished service medal, 1919
# Major General – United States Marine Corps
# Retired Oct. 1, 1931
# On leave of absence to act as director of Dept. of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932
# Lecturer — 1930’s
# Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
# Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940