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First Name: Edwin

Last Name: Pollack

Birthplace: Augusta, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: A.

Date of Birth: 21 March 1899

Date of Death: 05 November 1982

Rank: General

Years Served: 1921-1959
Edwin A. Pollock

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


Edwin A. Pollock
General, U.S. Marine Corps
(Tombstone General)

Edwin A. Pollock was born on 21 March 1899 at Augusta, GA. He attended the Summerville Academy there. He also studied for a year at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia before entering The Citadel at Charleston, SC. Graduating from The Citadel in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve that June. He resigned that commission to accept appointment as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 1 July 1921.

After completing the Company Officers' Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, Pollock reported to the Marine Barracks, Parris Island, SC, in November 1922. He began his first tour of expeditionary duty in 1923 when he was ordered to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 1926, after duty with the West Coast Expeditionary Forces at San Diego, CA, and a brief period at Quantico, he joined the 11th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua for his second tour of expeditionary service. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in September 1926. He later joined the Staff of the Commanding General, 2d Brigade Marines, in Nicaragua, before returning to Quantico in late 1927.

In August 1928, as a member of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Galveston (CL-19), Pollock was ordered once more to Nicaragua during the U.S. military intervention in that Central American country. From June 1930 to August 1934, he served on the staff of the Marine Corps Schools. He was also attached to the 1st Marines during a period of intensive training aboard the USS Arkansas (BB-33) in Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific waters. In August 1934, he was assigned duty aboard the USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) as Commanding Officer, Marine Detachment. That November he was promoted to Captain and he continued to command the Marine Detachment until June 1936.

During the following year, Pollock served at the Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Julien's Creek, VA. In June 1937, he was ordered to Philadelphia where he served as Officer in Charge of the Publicity Bureau. He was promoted to Major in September 1938. Leaving Philadelphia in June 1939, Pollock was assigned to the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. There he completed the Senior Course and served as Assistant Instructor in the Base Defense Weapons and Reserve Officers' Courses. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in January 1942.

In April 1942, Pollock took command of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. He embarked for the Pacific area in June and two months later participated in the action which earned him the Navy Cross on Guadalcanal.

Navy Cross

While serving as a Battalion Commander with the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Pollock was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism on Guadalcanal the night of 20-21 August 1942. His citation states (in part): "When the troops under his command were subjected to a powerful and determined surprise attack at the Tenaru River, Lieutenant Colonel Pollock, immediately leaving his Command Post, advanced through severe enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to a position in the front line, and while thus constantly exposed to extreme danger, directed the defense of our forces for a period of twelve hours. As a result of his excellent judgment and superb leadership, the men under his command destroyed practically the entire enemy force of seven hundred."

That September, he was named Executive Officer of the 1st Marines, and in July 1943 became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations), 1st Marine Division. He was promoted to Colonel in November 1943.

Pollock later took part in the Eastern New Guinea and Cape Gloucester operations, earning the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" during the latter. He returned to the U.S. in March 1944 as Staff Instructor at the Army, Navy Staff College. In December 1944, he rejoined the Fleet Marine Force overseas as Operations Officer and, later, Chief of Staff, 4th Marine Division. During combat on Iwo Jima, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V."

In November 1945, Pollock was again ordered to Quantico. He served there successively as Commanding Officer of the Basic School; Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Schools; and Chief of Staff of the Marine Barracks. Subsequently assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, he was appointed Military Secretary to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in June 1948. In July 1949, with his promotion to Brigadier General, he became Director of Plans and Policies at Headquarters Marine Corps.

Pollock was promoted to Major General in October 1951 and that December became Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC. In August 1952, he arrived in Korea to assume command of the 1st Marine Division. The Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to him for outstanding service in this capacity during the Korean War from August 1952 to June 1953, during bitter engagements on the Reno-Carson-Vegas Complex.

Shortly after returning from Korea, Pollock reported to Quantico in July 1953 as Director of the Marine Corps Educational Center. A year later he assumed Command of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. In January 1956, Pollock was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico.

Pollock left Quantico in August 1956 to assume duty the following month at Camp H. M. Smith as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Honolulu. Following this assignment, he served as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Norfolk, VA, from December 1957 until his retirement on 1 November 1959.

Pollock 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 14th 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

Navy Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit w/ Valor Device
Bronze Star Medal w/ Valor Device
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 3 Service Stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 Service Star
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Dominican Campaign Medal
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 5 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal

Death and Burial

General Edwin A. Pollock died on 5 November 1982 at the Medal University of South Carolina. He is buried at Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, SC, in Section 60, Site 40.

Honoree ID: 417   Created by: MHOH




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