|Born||25 Jan 1885|
|Died||23 Jan 1947|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Roy Stanley Geiger was born in Middleburg, Florida, United States and attended Florida State Normal and Industrial College and Stetson University. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 2 Nov 1907 and received the commission of second lieutenant on 5 Feb 1909. After attendance at the Marine Officers' School at Port Royal, South Carolina, United States, he served aboard battleships Wisconsin and Delaware. In Aug 1912, he participated in the actions at Nicaragua, fighting at Coyotepe and Barranca hills. Between 1913 and 1916, he served in the Philippine Islands and China. In Mar 1916, he joined Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a student naval aviator. He successfully completed the course and was designated a naval aviator in Jun 1917; he was the US Marine Corps' fifth aviator. In Jul 1918, he arrived in France and served with the British Royal Air Force at Dunkirk, commanding a squadron of bombers of the First Marine Aviation Force. He received a Navy Cross for distinguished service during WW1.
Between Dec 1919 and Jan 1921, Geiger was a squadron commander with the Marine Aviation Force attached to the First Provisional Brigade in Haiti. Between 1922 and Jun 1925, he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, United States. Between Jun 1925 and Aug 1927, he served in Haiti with Observation Squadron Two with the First Brigade in Haiti as the unit's commanding officer. In Aug 1927, he served as a squadron officer and instructor at the Marine Corps Schools, and in May 1928, was assigned to duty in the Aviation Section, Division of Operations and Training, at Marine Corps Headquarters. After attending the United States Army War College and graduating in June1929, he was ordered to Quantico, Virginia, United States where he was assigned duty as Commanding Officer, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force. In Jun 1935, he became the commanding officer of Aircraft One, Fleet Marine Force based out of Quantico, Virginia. Between Jun 1939 and Mar 1941, he attended Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, United States. Between Apr and Aug 1941, he served at Office of the Naval Attaché in London, England, Britain.
In Aug 1941, Geiger became the commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing of the Fleet Marine Force, also known as the "Cactus Air Force". While in that role, the United States entered WW2. Between 3 Sep and 4 Nov 1942, he commanded the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where for his accomplishments he received a gold award star in lieu of a second Navy Cross. "Despite almost continuous bombardment by enemy aircraft, hostile naval gunfire and shore based artillery, the combined total of Army, Navy and Marine Corps units stationed at Guadalcanal under Major General Geiger's efficiently coordinated command succeeded in shooting down 268 Japanese planes in aerial combat and inflicting damage on a number estimated to be as great... sank six enemy vessels, including one heavy cruiser, possibly sank three destroyers and one heavy cruiser, and damaged 18 other ships, including one heavy cruiser and five light cruisers", read the Gold Star citation.
In May 1943, Geiger returned to United States to serve as the Director of Aviation. Between 9 Nov and 15 Dec 1943, he was the Commanding General of the I Amphibious Corps during the Battle of Bougainville, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Redesignated III Amphibious Corps in Apr 1944, he led this organization in the invasion and subsequent recapture of Guam in the Mariana Islands in Jul and Aug 1944. In Sep and Oct 1944, he commanded the corps in the Palau Islands. Two gold award stars were given to him for each of the Mariana Islands and Palau Islands operations, in lieu of a second and a third Distinguished Service Medal. In Apr 1945, he led the III Amphibious Corps in the invasion of Okinawa. While at Okinawa, after the death of Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, he took command of the US 10th Army, making him the first US Marine to lead an army. "Going ashore with the early landing elements on 1 April 1945, he began a bitter three-month campaign... with outstanding professional skill, forceful leadership and unswerving determination, he directed his units... repeatedly disregarding personal safety to secure a first hand estimate of the battle situation and inspiring his men to heights of bravery and accomplishment." He remained in command of the 10th Army until the end of the Okinawa campaign.
Between Jul 1945 and Nov 1946, Geiger was the Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He passed away in Jan 1947 at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, United States. Geiger was promoted to four-star general posthumously by the 80th United States Congress to be effective from the date of his passing.
Sources: Arlington National Cemetery, Wikipedia.
Roy Geiger Timeline
|25 Jan 1885||Roy Geiger was born.|
|3 Sep 1942||US Marine Corps Brigadier General Roy Geiger arrived at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands along with the command echelon of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.|
|9 Nov 1943||Major General Roy Geiger became the commanding general of I Amphibious Corps following the death of Major General Charles Barrett in the previous month.|
|23 Jan 1947||Roy Geiger passed away.|
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Winston Churchill, 1935