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First Name: Franklin

Last Name: Hart

Birthplace: Cuthbert, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Augustus

Date of Birth: 16 September 1894

Date of Death: 22 June 1967

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917 - 1954
Franklin Augustus Hart

•  Banana Wars (1898 - 1934)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Franklin Augustus Hart
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Franklin Augustus Hart was born on 16 September 1894 in Cuthbert, GA, and grew up in Eufaula, AL. After high school, he attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) and graduated in 1915. From 1911-14, he was a member of the Auburn varsity teams in football, track, and soccer.

He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps on 6 April 1917; four months later he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. After completing a course of instruction at the Marine Officers School at Norfolk, VA, he was ordered to sea duty as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Vermont (BB-20), a Connecticut-class battleship. In October 1917, Hart was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Hart was transferred from sea duty in September 1918, and in October he sailed to France as Commanding Officer, Company "B", Machine Gun Battalion, Fifth Brigade. He returned to the U.S. in July 1919, and was assigned to the Marine Barracks at Quantico, VA. Two months later, Hart was ordered to the Dominican Republic where he was assigned duty with the Guardia Nacional Dominicans, as District Commander of Santo Domingo (then Ciudad Trujillo). He returned to the U.S. in 1921 and, in December '21, he was assigned as Commanding Officer, 77th Machine Gun Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, at Marine Barracks, Quantico. In October 1922, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, where he served as Adjutant and in other related duties.

In October 1923, Hart was a student at the Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA. After he graduated the following May, he was ordered to the Marine Barracks in Philadelphia, PA, where he served as an Instructor at the Marine Corps Basic School.

A second tour of sea duty came in June 1926, when Hart took command of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Washington (ACR-11), a Tennessee-class armored cruiser. In January 1927, he assumed command of the Detachment aboard the USS Rochester (CA-1), another armored cruiser. The following month, he was assigned similar duties aboard the USS Milwaukee (CL-5), an Omaha-class light cruiser. The Detachment served ashore with a landing force in Nicaragua for the next five months. Hart again commanded the Marine Detachment aboard the Rochester from June 1927-July 1928. During the last six months of this tour, he served ashore in Nicaragua; in August 1928, he returned to the U.S. From 1928-30, Hart was stationed successively, at the Marine Barracks in Norfolk as Executive Officer; and at the Marine Barracks in Quantico, where he served as an Instructor at the Company Officers Course, Marine Corps Schools.

Hart returned to foreign shore duty in August 1930, and joined the Constabulary Detachment, Garde d'Haiti, Gonsaieves, Haiti, where he served as a Company Commander and District Commander. In May 1933, he was named Assistant Chief of Staff, Garde d'Haiti, Headquarters, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was promoted to major on 29 May 1934, and returned to the U.S. in July to become a student in the Senior Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. He successfully completed the Senior Course in May 1935.

He was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington in June 1935, where he performed duties in the War Plans Section, Division of Operations and Training. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in July 1936 and, in October 1937, he became Officer in Charge of the War Plans Section. Hart's next assignment was to the Army War College in Washington. He graduated in June 1939 and was ordered to the Marine Corps Base at San Diego, CA, where he became Chief of the Planning Section. In July 1940, he was named Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.

Hart went to England in June 1941, where he was attached to the American Embassy in London as Assistant Naval Attaché. In September, he assumed duties as Special Naval Observer with additional duty on the staff of the Chief, Combined Operations (British) as an Instructor in Amphibious Warfare. He was promoted to Colonel in December 1941. In July 1942, Hart participated in the Dieppe Operation, for which he was specially commended for outstanding conduct by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations. He remained in England until October 1942, when he returned to the U.S. to join the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, Navy Department, Washington as Chief, Future Plans Section.

In June 1943, Hart went to the 4th Marine Division to assume command of the 24th Marine Regiment. The following year he led the Regiment in the attack on Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, where he was awarded the Navy Cross. He was awarded the Legion of Merit while leading the Regiment in the battles for Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas Islands. After his promotion to Brigadier General in August 1944, he served as Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Marine Division and, in this capacity, participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He returned to the U.S. in September 1945 and assumed duties as Director, Division of Reserve, Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington. He became Director, Division of Public Information in January 1946, and, in July, as Director of Personnel.

In October 1946, he went to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, as Commanding General of the Post, and he was promoted to Major General in December. Hart remained at that post until he was assigned as Commanding General of the Second Marine Division, with additional duties as Commanding General, Marine Barracks, Camp Lejeune, NC, on 31 January 1948.

Hare was named Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, VA, in July 1950 and, in February of the following year, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. He became Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in January 1952.

After 37-years of Marine Corps service, he retired in August 1954 and was advanced to the rank of four-star General. He thus became the sixth Marine to ever become a "Tombstone General."

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. Combat citation promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank, but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. The Act of Congress of 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades. Tombstone promotions were subsequently restricted to citations issued before 1 January 1947, and finally eliminated altogether effective 1 November 1959.

Any general who actually served in a grade while on active duty receives precedence on the retirement list over any tombstone general holding the same retired grade. "Tombstone generals" rank among each other according to the dates of their highest active duty grade.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Bronze Star
Navy Unit Commendation
Mexican Border Service
Victory Medal with Atlantic Fleet Clasp and Maltese Cross
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Second Nicaragua Campaign Medal
American Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Haitian Diploma for the Order of Honor and Merit
Haitian Distinguished Service Medal with Diploma
Haitian Brevet of Merit with Diploma


In 1953, Hart was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LL.D.) by Auburn University.

Death and Burial

General Franklin Augustus Hart died at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, MD, on 22 June 1967. He was 72 years old. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.


Honoree ID: 393   Created by: MHOH




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