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First Name: Christian

Last Name: Schilt

Birthplace: IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Frank

Date of Birth: 19 March 1895

Date of Death: 08 January 1987

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917-1957
Christian Frank Schilt

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Christian Frank Schilt
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient

Christian Frank Schilt was born on 19 March 1895, in Richland County, IL, and after attending Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, IN, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 23 June 1917.

Military Career

As an enlisted man, he served at Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, with the 1st Marine Aeronautical Company, a seaplane squadron assigned to anti-submarine patrol. This was the first organized American air unit of any service to go overseas during World War I.

Returning to the U.S. as a Corporal, he entered flight training at the Marine Flying Field, Miami, FL. He was designated a Naval aviator on 5 June 1919, and commissioned a Second Lieutenant five days later. That October, he began his first tour of expeditionary duty as a member of Squadron "D," Marine Air Forces, 2nd Provisional Brigade, in Santo Domingo. He returned to the U.S. in February 1920, to enter the Marine Officers Training School, Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA.

Completing the course in August 1920, he went overseas again the following month, joining squadron "E" of Marine Aviation Forces, 1st Provisional Brigade, at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was transferred to the 2d Brigade the following March to make an aerial survey and mosaic map of the coast line of the Dominican Republic. After completing that assignment he returned to Quantico in October 1922.

Except for service at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, from January to July 1923, and completion of a three-month photographic course at the Air Service Technical School in Chanute Field, IL, in 1925, he remained at Quantico for the next five years. While attached to that post, he won second place in the Schneider International Seaplane Race at Norfolk, VA, in November 1926, flying a special Curtiss racer at a speed of 231.3 mph over seven laps of a triangular 50 km course.

In November 1927, Schilt was ordered to Managua, Nicaragua, where he joined Observation Squadron 7-M. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism from 6 to 8 January 1928, at Quilali, Nicaragua, where two Marine patrols were ambushed and cut off by bandit forces. Then a lieutenant, he voluntarily risked his life to make ten flights into the besieged town, evacuating 18 casualties and carrying in a replacement commander and badly-needed medical supplies. To make a landing strip on the village's rough, rolling, main street, the Marines on the ground had to burn and level part of the town, and since his O2U Corsair biplane had no brakes, they had to stop it by dragging from its wings as soon as it touched down.

Hostile fire on landings and take-offs, plus low-hanging clouds, mountains and tricky air currents, added to the difficulty of the flights, which the citation describes as feats of "almost superhuman skill combined with personal courage of the highest order."

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps.

Place and date: Quilali, Nicaragua, 6 to 8 January 1928.

Entered service at: IL. Born: 1 March 1895, Richland County, IL.


During the progress of an insurrection at Quilali, Nicaragua, 6 to 8 January 1928, 1st Lt. Schilt, then a member of a marine expedition which had suffered severe losses in killed and wounded, volunteered under almost impossible conditions to evacuate the wounded by air and transport a relief commanding officer to assume charge of a very serious situation. 1st Lt. Schilt bravely undertook this dangerous and important task and, by taking off a total of 10 times in the rough, rolling street of a partially burning village, under hostile infantry fire on each occasion, succeeded in accomplishing his mission, thereby actually saving 3 lives and bringing supplies and aid to others in desperate need.

Later in 1928, at a ceremony at the White House, President of the United States Calvin Coolidge presented the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant Christian F. Schilt, USMC.

Schilt returned to the U.S. in August 1929, and after commanding Fighter Squadron 5-N at Quantico, was named Chief Test Pilot and Flight and Aerological Officer at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, PA. He served in that capacity for two years before returning to Quantico in June 1932, to enter the Company Officers' Course at the Marine Corps Schools. He completed that course in July 1933, and a month later entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Montgomery, AL.

Graduating from the Tactical School in June 1934, Schilt began another four years at Quantico, where he was Air Officer on the Staff of the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, and later a Squadron Commander with Aircraft One, Fleet Marine Force. He then served from May 1938 to June 1940, as Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Air Station St. Thomas (MCAS St. Thomas), Virgin Islands. After that he returned to Quantico to complete the Senior Course in the Marine Corps Schools and serve with Base Air Detachment 1, Fleet Marine Force.

He left Quantico in May 1941, when he was assigned to the American Embassy in London, United Kingdom, as an Assistant Naval Attache for Air. In that capacity he traveled through England and Scotland and served as a naval observer in North Africa and the Middle East. He returned to the United States in August 1941, and was assigned to Quantico as Engineer and Supply Officer of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

In September 1942, he arrived on Guadalcanal as Assistant Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Air Wing. After that he was Commander of Marine Aircraft Group 11, Chief of Staff of the 1st Wing and Commanding Officer of the Strike and Search Patrol Commands, Solomon Islands. He returned to the United States in September 1943, and commanded Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC, until March of the following year.

From April to June 1944, Schilt headed the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing during the organization of that unit. He then served for six months as Chief of Staff of the Wing and for another month as its Commander before returning to the Pacific Theater in February 1945. This time he was Island Commander, Peleliu, from March to August 1945, and Commanding General, Air Defense Command, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, on Okinawa until October 1945, when he took command of the 2nd Wing.

Returning from Okinawa in March 1946, the general reported to the Naval Air Station Glenview, IL, the following month. There he headed the Marine Air Reserve Training Command until July 1949, when he was ordered to Naval Station Norfolk as Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. He served in that capacity until he took command of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea in July 1951.

In April 1952, Schilt returned from Korea to serve in Hawaii as Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, until February 1953 when he became Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA. He left El Toro in July 1955, and assumed his duties at Headquarters Marine Corps as Director of Aviation on 1 August 1955, as a Lieutenant General. This was his last active duty assignment.

After almost 40 years of active service, and having seen action in Nicaragua; WW I, WW II; the Haitian and Nicaraguan campaigns; and the Korean War, Christian F. Schilt retired from the Marine Corps on 1 April 1957. Upon retirement he was promoted to the rank of four-star General.

Military Medals and Awards

Naval Aviator Badge

Medal of Honor
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit w/ Combat Valor Device
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal w/ Combat Valor Device
Air Medal w/ 4 Award Stars
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 Service Star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 Service Star
World War I Victory Medal w/ Overseas Clasp
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
American Defense Service Medal w/ Base Clasp
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal w/ Asia Clasp
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal w/ 5 Service Stars
Nicaraguan Medal of Merit w/ Silver Star
Nicaraguan Cross of Valor
Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal

Death and Burial

General Christian F. Schilt died on 8 January 1987, at age 91, in Norfolk, VA. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. His grave can be found in Section 2E, Lot 151-2.

Honoree ID: 419   Created by: MHOH




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