Wendell Cushing Neville MOH

b. 12/05/1870 Portsmouth, Virginia. d. 08/07/1930 Edgewater Beach, Maryland.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/04/1914 Veracruz, Mexico.

Wendell C Neville MOH

Neville was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and later entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1886 chiefly because no one else in his district desired an appointment to Annapolis that year. After graduating in 1890 and following a two-year cruise aboard a warship, which was the practice of the era, was commissioned a Marine Corps second lieutenant.

At the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, 2nd Lt. Neville was assigned to the 1st Battalion, hurriedly organized under Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Huntington for service in Cuba. The battalion staged a daring attack under heavy gunfire at Guantanamo Bay, established a beachhead and routed enemy forces in that area. For outstanding valor and leadership in that action, Lt. Neville was brevetted a captain in the Marine Corps on June 13, 1898. He was later awarded the Brevet Medal, following its creation in 1921.

Promoted to the permanent rank of captain a few months after the war, Neville was assigned to a battalion of Marines ordered to China to relieve the hard-pressed garrison at Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. He took part in four battles in that area and was again commended for his gallantry.

In the Philippine Islands not long afterwards, he was appointed military governor of Basilan Province. Following that assignment he served in Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama and Hawaii.

During the United States occupation of Veracruz, he was in command of the 2nd Advance Base Regiment. While in command of Marines landing at Veracruz, Mexico, on April 21, 1914, he displayed conspicuous gallantry. Lieutenant Colonel Neville was awarded the Medal of Honor for his distinguished conduct during the Vera Cruz intervention. He, Major General Smedley D. Butler and Major General David Dixon Porter were the only individuals to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Brevet Medal.

In 1915, Neville returned to China where he was chosen to command the combined Allied guard at Peking, serving in that position until 1917. He was promoted to colonel in August 1916.

On January 1, 1918, almost nine months after the American entry into World War I, he was placed in command of the 5th Marine Regiment in France, succeeding Hiram I. Bearss. The 5th Marines, together with the 6th Marine Regiment, formed part of the 4th Marine Brigade. In May he moved his regiment into action at Belleau Wood where Germany’s big drive was decisively halted. In July, after handing over the 5th Marines to Logan Feland, Neville’s command was enlarged to include the 4th Marine Brigade, taking over from James Harbord, which he directed during the remaining days of the war and during its occupation service in Germany. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1919.

After service with the Army of Occupation in Germany, Brig. Gen. Neville and his brigade returned to the United States in July 1919. Promoted to major general in August 1920, he served as assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps and later became commanding general, Fleet Marine Force with headquarters in San Francisco. He also commanded the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia.

Maj. Gen. Neville succeeded Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune as Commandant of the Marine Corps on March 5, 1929. Maj. Gen. Neville’s sudden death on July 8, 1930, at Edgewater Beach, Maryland, while in office as commandant, closed one of the most brilliant military careers of his day. General Butler lamented the death of “my dear old friend,” labeling Lejeune, Neville, and himself “the three musketeers of the Marines.”



For distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz, 21-22 April 1914. In command of the 2d Regiment Marines, Lt. Col. Neville was in both days’ fighting and almost continually under fire from soon after landing, about noon on the 21st, until we were in possession of the city, about noon of the 22d. His duties required him to be at points of great danger in directing his officers and men, and he exhibited conspicuous courage, coolness, and skill in his conduct of the fighting. Upon his courage and skill depended, in great measure, success or failure. His responsibilities were great, and he net them in a manner worthy of commendation.