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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Hogaboom

Birthplace: Meridian, MS, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 13 November 1902

Date of Death: 11 November 1993

Rank: General

Years Served: 1925-1959
Robert Edward Hogaboom

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1925

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


Robert Edward Hogaboom
General, U.S. Marine Corps
(Tombstone General)

Robert Edward Hogaboom was born on 13 November 1902 in Meridian, MS. He graduated from Marion Military Institute in 1921. Hogaboom attended Mississippi State College for two years before entering the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a member of the boxing team. He graduated on 4 June 1925 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

After completing the Basic School at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, he joined the 5th Marine Regiment at Quantico, VA. He saw service in Cuba, Nicaragua, and China.

In World War II, Hogaboom saw action at Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians, and on Makin Island, Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for outstanding service at Saipan and Tinian as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training), Northern Troops and Landing Force. At Iwo Jima, he earned a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his service as Chief of Staff of the 3rd Marine Division.

After World War II, he served as Assistant Division Commander, and later Division Commander, 1st Marine Division in Korea from 1954 to 1955.

Lieutenant General Hogaboom retired on 30 October 1959. He retired at the rank of four-star general, being advanced in rank for having been specially commended for heroism in combat. He thus became the 17th (and final) Marine to 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

Legion of Merit w/ 2 award stars & valor device
Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Unit Commendation
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
China Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 6 service stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
Nicaraguan Adolf Diaz Ribbon
Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal
United Nations Korea Medal


The Marine Corps Association's Marine Corps Gazette General Robert E. Hogaboom Leadership Writing Contest is named in his honor.

Death and Burial

General Robert Edward Hogaboom died on 11 November 1993 in St. Mary's City, MD. He is buried at Trinity Church Cemetery in Saint Mary's City, St. Mary's County, MD.

Honoree ID: 396   Created by: MHOH




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