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World War I

Yangtze Patrol
World War II

Chinese Civil War

AwardsLegion of Merit (2)
Navy Commendation Medal
Purple Heart

DeWitt Peck (May 29, 1894 – January 13, 1973) was a decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of major general, who served as the 18th Assistant to the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps during World War II. He later commanded the 1st Marine Division during Operation Beleaguer within Chinese Civil War.

Early years

DeWitt Peck was born May 29, 1894, in Bakersfield, California, the son of Army Captain Frank W. Peck and his wife, Margaret Hubard. He moved with his family to Clayton, New York, in childhood and attended schools there.

Peck was appointed to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, by President William Howard Taft and graduated with a bachelor's degree in June 1915 as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. During his time at the academy, Peck was active on the fencing team and also served as the business manager of the Log magazine.[1]

Some of his classmates also became general officers later: Arthur C. Davis, Francis S. Low, Lynde D. McCormick, Arthur D. Struble, Ralph W. Christie, John L. McCrea, Ralph J. Mitchell, Harvey Overesch, Pedro del Valle, Howard L. Vickery, Richard W. Bates, Henry P. Burnett, Archie F. Howard, Oliver H. Ritchie, James M. Shoemaker, Scott Umsted and Raymond R. Wright.[1]

He attended additional training at Marine Officers School at Portsmouth, Virginia, and subsequently sailed for Haiti with the 1st Brigade of Marines in January 1916. During his time in Haiti, Peck was stationed in Jacmel and served with local Gendarmerie units.[2]

He remained in the Caribbean until the end of March 1917, when he was transferred to the Marine detachment aboard the cruiser USS Olympia. Peck participated in the patrol duties along the East Coast with this ship. During his service on Olympia, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on August 4, 1917.[3][2]

On September 5, 1917, he was transferred as instructor to the battleship USS Louisiana, which was used as training ship for midshipmen and naval militia units. Captain Peck (promoted to the rank of captain on October 3, 1917) repeatedly requested combat assignment, which was finally granted at the end of March 1918, when he was transferred to the Marine Barracks Quantico, Virginia, and subsequently sent to France.[3][2]

Peck arrived to Brest on June 8, 1918, and finally joined the 5th Marine Regiment on August 22, 1918. Captain Peck was appointed commanding officer of the 55th Company, 2nd Battalion and led his unit through the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. He was wounded by the effects of combat gas during the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge on October 4, 1918, and relieved by another late general officer, Lemuel C. Shepherd.[3][2]

Interwar period

Peck returned to his unit after his recovery and participated in the Occupation duties in Germany until 25 June 1919, when he was ordered to the United States. Upon his return, Peck reported at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., and was assigned as an instructor in the school of musketry at Marine Barracks Quantico, Virginia. He was subsequently sent to the Marine barracks at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base at the end of July 1922 and remained there until November 1924, when he was transferred to the 1st Brigade of Marines and sailed again to Haiti.[3][2]

In June 1924, Peck returned to the United States and was assigned to the Yangtze Patrol
World War II