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First Name: Edwin

Last Name: Simmons

Birthplace: Paulsboro, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Paulsboro, NJ
Middle Name: Howard

Date of Birth: 21 August 1921

Date of Death: 05 May 2007

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served: 1942-1978
Edwin Howard Simmons
'Collective memory of the Marin'

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Edwin Howard Simmons
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps

Edwin Howard Simmons was born on 25 August 1921 in Paulsboro, NJ, and graduated from Paulsboro High School in 1938. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1942 at Lehigh University, where he had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa the previous year, and a Master's degree in Journalism in 1955 at Ohio State University. Prior to accepting his commission as a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant on 12 June 1942, he held a commission in the Army Reserve.

During World War II, he trained at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, and Camp Lejeune, NC, prior to serving overseas with the 5th Field Depot in the South and Central Pacific. He took part in combat during the capture of Guam and later served with the 7th Service Regiment on Okinawa and in China. He was promoted to Captain in January 1944 and to Major in June 1949.

Following the war, he served for three and one-half years as Managing Editor of the Marine Corps Gazette, then completed the Amphibious Warfare School, Junior Course, Quantico, in 1950.

At the outbreak of the Korean War, he was serving with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, Camp Lejeune. When he became part of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, he was ordered to Korea in August 1950 and participated in the Inchon Landing that September. He continued in combat as a Weapons Company Commander during the North Korean Aggression, the Communist China Aggression and the First UN Counter Offensive; and as a Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer during the Communist China Spring Offensive.

Returning to the U.S. in July 1951, he served in various assignments with the Training and Replacement Command at Camp Pendleton, CA; with the Naval ROTC unit at Ohio State University; and with the G-4 Division at Headquarters Marine Corps. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in December 1954. From August 1959 until October 1960, he served as Naval Attaché to the Dominican Republic. Carbine rifles from his office were used in the assassination of Trujillo, according to the Church Committee, but Simmons denies that he played any direct role in the assassination. Prior to returning to the Dominican Republic in September 1961 as U.S. Military Liaison Officer, U.S. Embassy, Santo Domingo, he was assigned as Senior Editor, Publications Group, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. In January 1962, he joined the Strategic Plans Section, G-3 Division at Headquarters Marine Corps, and in July 1963 was promoted to Colonel.

From July 1965-66, he served in Vietnam, first as G-3 of III Marine Amphibious Force, and later, as Commanding Officer, 9th Marine Regiment.

Returning from Vietnam, he was a student at the National War College for the next year prior to reporting to Headquarters Marine Corps where he served as Deputy Fiscal Director of the Marine Corps from August 1967 until May 1970. He was advanced to the rank of Brigadier General on 1 June 1968.

Brigadier General Simmons returned to Vietnam for another one year tour, and served as Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division (Rein), and subsequently as Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Brigade. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps on 20 July 1971, where he became Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Strategic Studies.

On 1 December 1971, he assumed duties as Director of Marine Corps History and Museums. He went on the retired list on 1 July 1972, but continued on active duty without interruption of service as Director of Marine Corps History and Museums. On 1 July 1978, he reverted to inactive status on the retired list.

In late October 1978, he returned as a Civil Service employee to his previous position as Director of Marine Corps History and Museums.

Medals and Awards

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with Combat "Valor" Device (3 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal with Combat "Valor" Device (2 Awards)
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat "Valor" Device
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Presidential Unit Citation (4 Awards)
Navy Unit Commendation (2 Awards)
China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal (2 Awards)
Korean Service Medal (6 Awards)
Vietnam Service Medal (6 Awards)
National Order of Vietnam, Knight
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with 2 Palms & 1 Silver Star
Korean Presidential Unit Citation


He was a fellow, governor, and treasurer of the Company of Military Historians and a member of the boards of trustees of the American Military Institute, the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation, and the U.S. Commission on Military History. He also served as president of the 1st Marine Division Association, president of the American Society of Military Comptrollers, and vice-president of the National War College Alumni Association. In 1970, he received a Centennial Distinguished Graduate Medallion from Ohio State University.


Simmons wrote for numerous military and general publications, including the Naval Review, Naval Institute Proceedings, Marine Corps Gazette, Sea Power, and Army. He was the author of the history, 'The U.S. Marines (published in London, 1974; and New York, 1976) and contributed extensively to various histories and standard works including the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Dictionary of American History.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Edwin Howard Simmons died on 5 May 2007 at his home in Alexandria, VA. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

He is survived by his wife, the former Frances G. Bliss of Denver, CO; two sons, Edwin H. Jr., and Clarke V.; and two daughters, Bliss and Courtney.

Honoree ID: 3084   Created by: MHOH




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