Carlson, Evans, BGen

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Primary MOS
9903-General Officer
Last MOSGroup
Specific Billet MOS
Primary Unit
1942-1944, 2nd Raider Bn
Service Years
1922 - 1946

Brigadier General


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 Personal Details 

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Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl Steven Ryan (LoneWolf) to remember Marine BGen Evans Carlson.

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Home Town
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Date of Passing
May 27, 1947
Location of Interment
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Brigadier General Evans F. Carlson, famed Marine leader of "Carlson's Raiders," was born 26 February 1896, at Sidney, New York. His father was a Congregationalist minister.
His long and colorful military career begin in 1912, when at the age of 16 he left high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army. When he finished his four-year enlistment he was a "top sergeant." He had served in the Philippines and in Hawaii. He stayed out of uniform less than one year and returned in time for the Mexican punitive expedition.

During World War I he saw action in France, and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in May, 1917, and made Captain of field artillery in December 1917. He served in Germany with the Army of Occupation.

His spectacular career as a Marine started in 1922 when he enlisted as a private. In 1923 he was commissioned a second lieutenant. After duty at Quantico, Virginia, he sailed for Culebra, Puerto Rico, in 1924 and remained there five months before being ordered to the West Coast for duty with the Pacific Fleet. Applying for aviation training in 1925, he went to Pensacola, Florida, for instruction, but subsequently returned to duty with ground units. He served another tour of foreign shore duty from 1927 to 1929 at Shanghai, China.

General Carlson was ordered to Nicaragua in 1930 as an officer in the Guardia Nacional. A first lieutenant at the time, he earned his first Navy Cross for leading 12 Marines against 100 bandits. He also was commended for his actions following the earthquake at Managua in 1931, and for performance of duties as Chief of Police in 1932 and 1933.

Returning to the United States in 1933, he was sent almost immediately to Shanghai. Shortly afterward he was transferred to the Marine Detachment, American Legation, Peiping, China, where he served as Adjutant and studied the Chinese language. In 1936 he returned to the United States via Japan. At home he served at Quantico while attending Marine Corps Schools, and studying International Law and Politics at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

He went back to China for the third time, in 1937, as an official student of the Chinese language and as a military observer with Chinese forces. There he was afforded the opportunity to learn the tactics of the Japanese soldier.

Traveling thousands of miles through the interior of China, often on foot and horseback over the most hazardous terrain, he lived under the primitive conditions of native troops. When he left China in 1938, he was commended by the Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleet for his services.

He was so impressed with the danger of Japanese aggression in the Far East that in 1939 he resigned his commission as a captain in order to be free to write and lecture on that subject. When the danger he foresaw neared reality in 1941, he applied to be recommissioned in the Marine Corps and was accepted with the rank of major. A year later he was placed in command of the Second Marine Raider Battalion with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His leadership of that unit in the raid on Makin Island, 17 August 1942, earned him a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross. A second Gold Star was awarded him for heroism and distinguished leadership on Guadalcanal in November and December of that year.

Colonel Carlson was ordered back to the United States for medical treatment in the Spring of 1943, and subsequently returned to Tarawa as an observer. In that engagement he was cited for volunteering to carry vital information through enemy fire from an advanced post to division headquarters.

He was wounded during the Saipan operation while attempting to rescue a wounded enlisted man from a front line observation post, and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart. Physical disability resulting from the wounds received on Saipan caused the General's retirement on 1 July 1946.He was advanced to the rank of brigadier general on the retired list at that time for having been specially commended for the performance of duty in actual combat.

On 27 May 1947, the 51-year-old veteran succumbed to a heart illness at Emmanuel Hospital, Portland, Oregon. He had been living in Brightwood, Oregon, since his retirement. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Peggy Tatum Carlson, and a son by a previous marriage, Evans C. Carlson.

In addition to the Navy Cross with two Gold Stars in lieu of a second and third award, and the Purple Heart with a Gold Star in lieu of a second award, Brigadier General Carlson was awarded the Legion of Merit; Presidential Unit Citation with three Stars; World War I Victory Medal with France Clasp; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal; Yangtze Service Medal; Expeditionary Medal; Italian Croix de Guerre; Nicaragua Presidential Order of Merit; Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction; Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars; American Campaign Medal; and the American Defense Service Medal.
Other Comments:


(First Award)
First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps
Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua
Date of Action: May 16, 1930 - May 1, 1931

The Navy Cross is presented to Evans Fordyce Carlson, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while attached to the Guardia Nacional from 16 May 1930 to 1 May 1931. Upon joining the Guardia Nacional, First Lieutenant Carlson was assigned at Jalapa in the bandit area of Nueva Segovia. On 8 July 1930, he received a report that a group of one hundred bandits were looting the town of Portillo. He immediately left with a detachment of sixteen men to gain contact. Four the the men deserted en route but with the remaining twelve men he pushed on and overtook and gained contact with a group of forty bandits, completely routing them, killing two and wounding seven, without any casualties to his detachment. Arms, ammunition, equipment and clothing looted from the town of Portillo were recaptured. Lieutenant Carlson maintained his district in a most excellent manner and by his activities and well-directed operations kept it singularly free from banditry.

(Second Award)
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)
Commanding Officer, 2d Marine Raider Battalion,
Date of Action: August 17 - 18, 1942

The Navy Cross is presented to Evans Fordyce Carlson, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commanding Officer of the Second Marine Raider Battalion in action against enemy Japanese forces on Makin Island, 17 - 18 August 1942. In the first operation of this type ever conducted by United States forces, Lieutenant Colonel Carlson personally directed his forces in the face of intense fire of enemy ground troops and aerial bombing barrage, inflicting great personnel and material damage on the enemy. In the withdrawal of his forces under adverse sea conditions, he displayed outstanding resourcefulness, initiative and resolute purpose in evacuating all wounded and disabled men. His high courage and excellent leadership throughout the engagement were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

(Third Award)
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)
Commanding Officer, 2d Marine Raider Battalion,
Date of Action: November 4 - December 4, 1942

The Navy Cross is presented to Evans Fordyce Carlson, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and courage as leader of the Second Marine Raider Battalion in action against enemy Japanese forces in the British Solomon Islands during the period from 4 November to 4 December 1942. In the face of most difficult conditions of tropical weather and heavy growth, Lieutenant Colonel Carlson led his men in a determined and aggressive search for threatening hostile forces, overcoming all opposition and completing their mission with small losses to our men while taking heavy toll of the enemy. His personal valor and inspiring fortitude reflect great credit upon Lieutenant Colonel Carlson, his command and the United States Naval Service.

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1922, Boot Camp (Parris Island, SC)
  1923, Officer Candidate School (Quantico, VA)
 Unit Assignments
US Army2nd Raider Bn
  1912-1916, US Army
  1942-1944, 2nd Raider Bn
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1914-1919 US Occupation of Nicaragua
  1917-1918 World War I
  1941-1941 World War II
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-43)/Battle of Eastern Solomons (Stewart Island)
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation (1943)/Battle of Tarawa
  1944-1944 Marianas Operation /Battle for Saipan
 Colleges Attended
George Washington University
  1936-1937, George Washington University
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