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First Name: Vernon

Last Name: Megee

Birthplace: Tulas, OK, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Edgar

Date of Birth: 05 May 1900

Date of Death: 14 January 1992

Rank: General

Years Served: 1919-1959
Vernon Edgar Megee

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


Vernon Edgar Megee
General, U.S. Marine Corps
(Tombstone General)

Vernon Edgar Megee was born on 5 June 1900 in Tulsa, OK. After attending Oklahoma A&M College from 1917 to 1919, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1919, and spent the next two years on garrison duty at Parris Island, SC. In 1921 he was selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS). Upon graduation from OCS in 1922, Megee was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

Marine Corps Career


For the next several years he held many positions in Marine forces stationed abroad, including one tour of duty in Haiti and two tours of duty in China. He served his first tour of expeditionary duty with the 1st Marine Brigade in Haiti from October 1923 to November 1925. He was then stationed with the 10th Marines at Quantico, VA, and was promoted to First Lieutenant in March 1926. Megee deployed to China on his second tour of expeditionary duty in April 1927. On returning to the U.S. in March 1928, he was assigned to preliminary aviation training at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA. In January 1929, he began another tour of expeditionary service as Squadrons Quartermaster, Aircraft Squadrons, 2nd Marine Brigade, in Nicaragua. He returned to the U.S. to enter flight training at Pensacola, FL, in January 1931.

1930s & Marine Aviation

In February 1932, Megee qualified as a Naval Aviator and was assigned to Aircraft Squadrons, West Coast Expeditionary Forces in San Diego, CA. From June 1933 to August 1936, he was an Instructor at the Marine Corps School in Quantico, VA. From the period of August 1936 to June 1939, he attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field in Alabama, after which he returned to Quantico as an instructor until July 1939. From July 1939 until 1940, he was Commander of Marine Fighter Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. From 1940-43, Megee was the Executive Officer of the U.S. Naval Aviation Mission to Peru.

1940s & World War II

He served in Combat in World War II at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, he was Commander of Landing Force Air Support Control Unit One. For his service in this capacity, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V." During the Battle of Okinawa, he commanded all the Marine Landing Force Air Support Control units, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V."

1950s - Commands & Assistant Commandant

After the war, Megee became an instructor at the National War College and was promoted to Brigadier General in December 1946. From January 1947 to January 1950, he served as Assistant Director of Marine Corps Aviation. He is recognized as a pioneer in the development of close air support for ground combat operations.

Megee finished his Bachelor's degree with Oklahoma A&M in 1950 and then served in a variety of positions in the Department of Defense. He held several commands: Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point; Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; First Marine Aircraft Wing; and Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. He Commanded the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing during the Korean War from January to December 1953. He was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal for his service during this time.

He was promoted to Lieutenant General in January 1956. From January 1956 to December 1957 he was Assistant Commandant and Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps; the first Marine aviator to serve as Assistant Commandant. Then from December 1957 to November 1959, he was the Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Lieutenant General Megee retired from the Marine Corps in November 1959 and was advanced to the rank of General upon retirement by reason of having been specially commended in combat. He thus became the 13th 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

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit w/ Valor Device
Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Bronze Star Medal w/ Valor Device
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 Service Star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
Yangtze Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal w/ Base Clasp
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
Peruvian Aviation Cross
Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal


Naval Aviator Badge

In Retirement

After retirement from the Marine Corps, he settled in Austin, TX, and attended graduate school at the University of Texas. He earned a Master of Arts degree in 1963 - writing a Master's thesis titled "United States Military Intervention in Nicaragua, 1902-1932." He then helped organize the Marine Military Academy at Harlingen, TX, where he served as Superintendent and President of the Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1988. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and wrote numerous articles on firearms for various sporting magazines.

Death and Burial

Vernon Edgar Megee died in Albuquerque, NM, on 14 January 1992 at age 91. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 408   Created by: MHOH




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