Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Allen

Last Name: Turnage

Birthplace: Farmville, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Hal

Date of Birth: 03 January 1891

Date of Death: 22 October 1971

Rank: General

Years Served: 1913-1948
Allen Hal Turnage

•  Banana Wars (1898 - 1934)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Allen Hal Turnage
General, U.S. Marine Corps
(Tombstone General)

Allen Hal Turnage was born on 3 January 1891, in Farmville, NC. He attended the University of North Carolina before entering the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant on 17 November 1913. Following instruction for 17 months at the Marine Officers' School, Norfolk, VA, he joined the First Brigade in Haiti in 1915 and participated in expeditions against hostile Cacos in Northern Haiti, then was assigned to duty with the Haitian Constabulary until August 1918.

Almost immediately, he was sent to France where he served as Commanding Officer, Machine Gun Battalion, 5th Marine Brigade. Following World War I, he was an instructor at the Marine Officers' School, Quantico; served with the Gendarmerie d'Haiti again from 1922-25; and completed the Field Officers' Course at Quantico. Later, between two tours of duty at Headquarters Marine Corps, he was assigned sea duty on the staff of Battleship Divisions Four and Three.

In 1935, Turnage was appointed Director of the Marine Officers' Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, following which he served with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, as Battalion Commander and Regimental Executive Officer, respectively. Ordered overseas in 1939, he served as Commanding Officer of Marine Forces in North China, and Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment, American Embassy, Peiping. He returned to Headquarters Marine Corps in April 1941, and was serving as Director of the Division of Plans and Policies when World War II broke out.

In June 1942, Turnage was ordered to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, to take command of the Base and its Training Center which included organization and training of two Regimental Combat Teams for the 3rd Marine Division. That October, he joined the newly-formed 3rd Marine Division as Assistant Division Commander, becoming Commanding General on Guadalcanal in September 1943. He then led the Division in the landing at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, 1943, and in the recapture of Guam, 1944.

Navy Cross

Allen H. Turnage, Major General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commanding General, 3d Marine Division
Date of Action: 1-27 November 1943

Citation: The Navy Cross is presented to Allen H. Turnage, Major General, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding General of the Landing Force of the Third Marine Division (Reinforced), during the establishment of a beachhead in the Solomon Islands Area from November 1 to November 27, 1943. Leading his command with intrepidity and daring aggressiveness, major General Turnage frequently exposed himself to heavy enemy gunfire throughout the landing and operations essential to the attainment and consolidation of the final beachhead line at Empress August Bay, Bougainville Island. His conspicuous courage, distinguished leadership and resolute devotion to duty throughout this period were an inspiration to the officers and men in his command and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

After two years with the 3rd Division, in September 1944 Turnage was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Director of Personnel, and, later, as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. His final assignment was as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Lieutenant General Turnage retired from active duty on 1 January 1948, and was advanced to four-star rank upon retirement by reason of having been specially commended for heroism in combat. This made him the fourth 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
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 2 Service Stars
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 Service Stars
Haitian Campaign Medal (1917)
World War I Victory Medal w/ France Clasp & Maltese Cross
Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933)
China 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
Haitian Distinguished Service Medal
Dominican Order of Military Merit, 2nd Class w/ White Insignia
Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction w/ Diploma


In May 1946, his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Death and Burial

General Allen Hal Turnage died on 22 October 1971. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 30.

He was survived by his wife, Hannah Pyke Turnage.

Honoree ID: 426   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image