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First Name: Ray

Last Name: Robinson

Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Albert

Date of Birth: 01 June 1896

Date of Death: 26 March 1976

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917-1957
Ray Albert Robinson

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Ray Albert Robinson
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Tombstone General

Ray Albert Robinson was born on 1 June 1896 in Los Angeles, CA. He attended the University of Southern California before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps on 21 May 1917. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps on 9 October 1917, after completing his recruit training. He completed the course at the Officer's Training School, Quantico, VA, in 1918 and was assigned to the newly-activated 13th Marine Regiment. After intensive training with the 13th Marines, he and the regiment embarked for France in September 1918. In France, he served as Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. *

* Brigadier General Butler was an outstanding role model for any young Marine officer. At the time of his death in 1940, Butler was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. He is one of only 19 people to twice receive the Medal of Honor, and is the only person to be awarded the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

After returning from France in July 1919, Robinson was stationed at Quantico until September 1921. A short time later, he began a two-year tour of duty at the Marine Barracks, Pearl Harbor, HI. He returned to the mainland in December 1923 and served briefly at Headquarters, Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, before being ordered south to San Diego, in February 1924. There he served in a number of roles, including duty with the Staff of the Commanding General, Western Mail Guard, during a wave of railway mail robberies. Having completed that assignment in January of '27, he joined the 4th Marine Regiment, which sailed for China the following month. While in China, he was on the staff of the Commanding General, 3d Marine Brigade, at Shanghai and, when the Chinese Kuomintang Army advanced northward, he served at Tientsin.

Robinson returned from China in March 1929, and reported to Quantico, where he served as Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Detachment which built President Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp (also known as 'Camp Hoover') mountain retreat in Shenandoah National Park, located in Madison County, VA. In September, he entered the Company Officer's Course in the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, which he completed in June 1930. He then served briefly at San Diego before going to sea in October as commander of the Marine Detachment aboard the battleship USS Colorado. After finishing that tour of duty in September '32, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA, where he served in varied roles for almost three years.

In August 1935, Robinson returned to Quantico to serve as Post Maintenance Officer and Safety Engineer. He began the Senior Course in August of '38, completed it in May of '39, and was again sent to China. There he served successively as: Executive and Operations Officer of the Marine Detachment at the American Embassy in Peiping; as Commander of the Marine Detachment at Tientsin; and as Commander of Marine Forces, North China. He returned to the U.S. in June of '41 and, in July, he became Assistant Officer in Charge of the Personnel Section, Division of Plans and Policies, at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington. He took charge of that section in April 1942 and served until October 1943, when he was made Officer-in-Charge of the Operations and Training Section.

Robinson left for the Pacific Theater in January 1944 and became Chief of Staff of the 3d Marine Division in February. During this assignment, he was awarded his first Legion of Merit with Combat "Valor" Device for his help in the planning and execution of the recapture of Guam. He was named Chief of Staff of the 5th Division in October '44 and served in that role until he was named Assistant Commander of the 5th Division in June 1945. While, he was Chief of Staff of the 5th Division, he was awarded his second Legion of Merit with Combat "Valor" Device for his assistance in the preparation and combat phases of the Iwo Jima Campaign. Then, while he was Assistant Commander of the 5th Division, he earned the Bronze Star Medal for his service in that role during the occupation of Japan.

He returned from Japan with the 5th Division in December '45 and, after the division was disbanded in March 1946, he returned to the Pacific Theater as Fleet Marine Officer on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Area. He held that title until September 1946, when he became Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force.

In August 1947, Robinson reported to Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, where he served for almost two years as Director of the Division of Plans and Policies. In July 1949, he became Inspector General of the Marine Corps and, in June of '50, he took command of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC. In December 1951, he became Commanding General of Camp Lejeune until he was appointed Commanding General of the Department of the Pacific at San Francisco in August 1952. Two months after leaving San Francisco, in June 1954, he was ordered to The Hague as Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group to the Netherlands.

Robinson was transferred to Norfolk, VA, in October 1956, where he served as Commanding General of Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic from 1 November 1956 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on 1 November 1957.

Upon retirement, he was advanced to four-star rank by reason of having been specially commended for heroism in combat. He thus became the sixteenth 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 with Combat "Valor" Device (2 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal
Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star
Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star
World War I Victory Medal with 1 Bronze Star
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Yangtze Service Medal
China Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp
American Area Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal


General Ray Albert Robinson died on 26 March 1976 in Seattle, WA, at age 79.

Honoree ID: 418   Created by: MHOH




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