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Home Town San Juan, Puerto Rico
Last Address Annapolis, Maryland
Date of Passing Apr 28, 1978
Location of Interment U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery - Annapolis, Maryland
Wall/Plot Coordinates Unknown
Last Known Activity Lieutenant General Pedro Augusto del Valle (August 28, 1893 ? April 28, 1978) was a United States Marine Corps officer who became the first Hispanic to reach the rank of Lieutenant General. His military career included service in World War I, Haiti and Nicaragua during the so-called Banana Wars of the 1920s, and in the seizure of Guadalcanal and later as Commanding General of the U.S. 1st Marine Division during World War ll.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding leadership as Commanding General of the First Marine Division, during the attack and occupation of Okinawa from April 1, to July 21, 1945. His citation reads in part, "Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of enemy gunfire, he repeatedly visited the fighting fronts, maintaining close tactical control of operations and rallying his weary but stouthearted Marines to heroic efforts during critical phases of this long and arduous campaign. By his superb generalship....Major General del Valle contributed essentially to the conquest of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. Del Valle was born on August 28, 1893 in San Juan, Puerto Rico when the island was still under Spanish colonial rule. He was related to Dr. Francisco del Valle, a surgeon who had served as mayor of San Juan from 1907 to 1910. In 1900, two years after the Spanish-American War, the del Valle family moved to Maryland where they became U.S. citizens (The Jones Act of 1917 later gave United States Citizenship to all Puerto Ricans born on the island). He received his primary and secondary education in Maryland. On June 17, 1911, after he graduated from high school del Valle received an appointment by George Radcliffe Colton, who served from 1909 to 1913 as the U.S. appointed governor of Puerto Rico, to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Del Valle graduated from the academy in June 1915 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of the Marine Corps on June 5, 1915. Pedro del Valle helped the Marine Corps in the capture of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1916, for which he was awarded his first Legion of Merit. Del Valle commanded the Marine detachment on board the USS Texas (BB-35) in the North Atlantic during World War I. In 1919, he participated in the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet. Later he served as "Aide-de-camp" to Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton after serving on a tour of sea duty aboard the USS Wyoming(BB-32). His job included an inspection tour of the West Indies in the company of General Pendleton.
In 1926, del Valle served with the Gendarmerie of Haiti for three years and, during that time, he also became active in the war against Augusto Sandino in Nicaragua. In 1929, he returned to the United States and attended the Field Officers Course at the Marine Corps School in MCB Quantico, Virginia.
In 1931, Brigadier General Randolph C. Berkeley appointed del Valle to the "Landing Operations Text Board" in Quantico, the first organizational step taken by the Marines to develop a working doctrine for amphibious assault. In 1932, he wrote an essay titled "Ship-to-Shore in Amphibious Operations" which was published in the Marine Corps Gazette. In his essay, he stressed the importance of a coordinated amphibious assault and of an execution of an opposed landing.
He worked as an intelligence officer in Havana, Cuba in 1933 under Admiral Charles Freeman, following the Cuban Sergeant's Revolt. From 1935?1937, del Valle was Assistant Naval Attache, attached to the American Embassy to Italy in Rome. While on duty, del Valle participated as an observer with the Italian Forces during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. The experiences which del Valle gained as an observer led him to author the book "Roman Eagles Over Ethiopia" where he describes the events leading up to the Italian expedition and the complete movements of combat operations by the Italian Army under Generals De Bono, Badoglio and Graziani. In 1939, he was ordered to attend the Army War College in Washington, D.C. and after graduating was named Executive Officer of the Division of Plans and Policies, USMC.
Other Comments: On March 1941, del Valle became the Commanding Officer of the 11th Marine Regiment, (artillery). Upon the outbreak of World War II, del Valle led his regiment and participated in the seizure and defense of Guadalcanal providing artillery support for the 1st Marine Division. In the Battle of Tenaru, the fire power provided by del Valle's artillery units killed many assaulting Japanese soldiers before they ever reached the Marine positions. The attackers were killed almost to the last man. The outcome of the battle was so stunning that the Japanese commander, Colonel Ichiki Kiyonao, committed seppuku shortly afterwards.. then-Major General Alexander Vandegrift, impressed with del Valle's leadership recommended his promotion and on October 1, 1942, del Valle became a Brigadier General. Vandegrift retained del Valle as head of the 11th Marines, the only time that the 11th Marines has ever had a general as their commanding officer. In 1943, he served as Commander of Marine Forces overseeing Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and the Russell and Florida Islands. On April 1, 1944, del Valle, as Commanding General of the Third Corps Artillery, III Marine Amphibious Corps, took part in the Battle of Guam and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. The men under his command did such a good job with their heavy artillery that no one man could be singled out for commendation. Instead each man was given a letter of commendation by del Valle which was carried in their record books.
In late October 1944, he succeeded Major General William Rupertus as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, being personally greeted in his new command by Colonel Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller. At the time, the 1st Marine Division was training on the island of Pavuvu for the invasion of Okinawa. On May 29, 1945, del Valle participated in one of the most important events which led to victory in Okinawa. After five weeks of fighting, del Valle ordered Company A of the 1st Battalion 5th Marines to capture Shuri Castle, a mediXXXevalXXXfortress of the ancient Ryukyuan kings. Seizure of Shuri Castle represented a moral blow for the Japanese and was an undeniable milestone in the Okinawa campaign. The fighting in Okinawa would continue for 24 more days. Del Valle was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership during the battle and the subsequent occupation and reorganization of Okinawa. After World War II ended, del Valle was ordered back to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he was named Inspector General, a position which he held until he retired on January 1, 1948. On February 19, 1946 Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico and del Valle held a meeting with President Harry S. Truman in the White House, in which Senator Chavez recommended del Valle for the position of governor of Puerto Rico. From 1898 to 1942, the governors of the island were officials appointed by the President of the United States. The first civilian and native Puerto Rican appointed governor of Puerto Rico was Jesus T. PiŮero in 1942. If Congress had not approved legislation in 1947 allowing Puerto Ricans to elect their own Governor, del Valle may have been appointed to the governorship.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, del Valle worked as a representative of ITT in the company's office in Cairo, Egypt. After some time with the company he was named president of ITT for all South America in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a position that he held until 1951.
Believing that the United States was in danger of a communist threat, del Valle tried to convince the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. Department of Defense to form a vigilante minuteman group. He also believed that the CIA should operate behind Russian and Chinese lines. After his ideas were turned down, he decided to form his own group. In 1953, del Valle met with Lt. Col. John H. Hoffman (USMC), Lt. Col. Eugene Cowles Poneroy, Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, and Major General Claire Chennault (USAF) and formed the "Defenders of the American Constitution" (DAC). DAC's main goal was to purge the United States of any communist influence. The idea behind the group was to organize the citizens in each state as vigilantes against sabotage and other forms of treason, then link them up in some national headquarters.Del Valle ran for governor of Maryland in 1953, however he was defeated and failed to be nominated in the Republican primary election. The controversial views shared by some of the members of "DAC" was to blame for the organization's decline in popularity. On April 12, 1961, del Valle invoked The Protocols of the Elders of Zion during a speech before the United States Daughters of 1812, in an attempt to prove that Communism and Socialism were introduced to Russia by an "Invisible Government" whose intention was to destroy that country. Del valle also belonged to a group known as the "Sons of Liberty", established in 1967 in Annapolis, Maryland and named after the secret patriotic society which directed the actions of the Boston Tea Party on December 13, 1773.
Lieutenant General Pedro del Valle, who was married to Katharine Nelson (1890-1983), died on April 28, 1978 in Annapolis, Maryland. He was buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery of Columbarium. After del Valle?s death at age 85, the DAC ceased to exist.
The 11th Marine Regiment is an artillery regiment of the United States Marine Corps based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Known as the "Cannon Cockers", the regiment falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division and the I Marine Expeditionary Force.
The 11th Marine Regiment was activated during World War I on 3 January 1918. Originally planned as a light artillery regiment, it was converted to an infantry unit and went to France as part of the 5th Marine Brigade in the waning days of the war. It failed to see combat and returned home to be disbanded on 11 August 1919.
On 9 May 1927, another 11th Regiment was activated from troops in Haiti and at Quantico for service in Nicaragua of brief duration. The regimental headquarters was disbanded on 31 July 1927, and the two battalions in September. Renewed political problems in Nicaragua and the intensified guerrilla campaign of the bandit leader Augusto Sandino caused the activation of another 11th Regiment at Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California, in January 1928. A third battalion was organized on the east coast on 21 March 1928. Again, service in Nicaragua was brief, with the third battalion being disbanded on 15 June 1929 and the remainder of the regiment on 31 August 1929.
World War II
With the approach of World War II and the consequent expansion of the Marine Corps, an 11th Marines (Artillery) was activated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 1 March 1941. Activation of the regiment's organic battalions already had been underway since 1 September 1940 when the 1st Battalion was created. After its return to the United States from Cuba, the regiment (less the 1st Battalion) shipped overseas with the 1st Marine Division to New Zealand in June‚??July 1942. The 1st Battalion went to Samoa with the 7th Marine Regiment in March 1942.
The 11th Marines participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal in August with the 1st Marine Division and played an especially significant part in the Battle of the Tenaru and the Battle of Bloody Ridge. The 1st Battalion rejoined the regiment in September on Guadalcanal. On 15 December 1942, the 11th Marines left Guadalcanal for Australia, rested and reorganized, and then reentered combat on New Britain at Cape Gloucester on 26 December 1943. Here the regiment furnished support to the infantry in their capture of the Japanese aerodrome. Following the New Britain campaign came a period of preparation for the Peleliu landing where the regiment was actively engaged.
For the first two weeks after the initial landing on 15 September 1944, the regiment took part in the Battle of Peleliu. All artillery support was handled both novelly and conventionally, providing massed preparatory, harassing, and interdicting fire. Later, the artillery was used to fire directly into the mouths of enemy caves. In March 1945, the 11th Marines participated in the Battle of Okinawa, its final combat operation of World War II. There the regiment played an important defensive role with effective counter-battery fire, and steadily suppressed enemy attempts to counter-attack objectives already won by U.S. forces. With the war won, in the fall of 1945 the 11th Marines moved to Tianjin in North China where it was soon involved in trying to keep peace in the midst of the increasing conflict between rival Chinese factions. Early in 1947, the regiment returned to the United States to be reduced virtually to a battalion-sized unit.
Three years later North Korea invaded South Korea, and the 1st Battalion was part of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade deployed in August 1950 to the Pusan Perimeter to help stem their advance. Other battalions were organized in the United States and were available for service when the 1st Marine Division made the Incheon landing. Shifted back to the east coast of Korea, the battalions were attached to regimental combat teams and participated in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
One of the more famous engagements of the regiment during the Korean War came on 7 December 1950 during the breakout from the Chosin Reservoir. George and How Batteries of 2nd Battalion were halted along the main road by heavy machine gun fire. The ensuing fight would pit two artillery batteries against a battalion of Chinese infantry in broad daylight and at close range. The guns were laid level due to the proximity of the Chinese forces and the Marines braced their bodies against the guns because there was no time to dig them in. When it was over the Marines counted over 500 enemy dead on the field and had expended over 600 rounds of ammunition. One Marine officer was quoted at the time as saying, "Has field artillery ever had a grander hour?"
The 11th Marines participated in continued heavy action on the East Central Front throughout 1951, and in March 1952, moved to the Western Front. The 11th was finally able to sail from Korea for the United States and Camp Pendleton on 7 March 1955.
The years between 1955 and 1965 were spent in continued training to maintain a constant state of readiness. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, the 11th Marines played a role in the task force ordered to impose a naval quarantine against arms shipments to Cuba.
A new era opened on 8 March 1965 when the Marines were committed to ground action in South Vietnam. Beginning on 16 August 1965, the regiment was gradually deployed to South Vietnam. The transfer was completed by the arrival of the 2d Battalion on 27 May 1966. The nature of the war required the artillerymen to defend their own positions against numerous enemy probes and brought about a vastly increased employment of artillery by helicopters, both for displacement and resupply.
The regimental history in Vietnam was characterized by fighting as detachments in dispersed areas. Hastings, Hue City, Napoleon-Saline II, Mameluke Thrust, Oklahoma Hills, Pipestone Canyon, and Imperial Lake were some of the more significant operations in which the regiment participated. Redeployment to the United States started in October 1970 when the 4th Battalion left for Twentynine Palms, California. The 1st Battalion was the last unit of the regiment to depart for the United States and Camp Pendleton in May 1971.
During the next decade, the 11th Marines experienced a high level of activity, participating in many training and support exercises. In 1975 the regiment provided support for Operation New Arrivals and the Vietnamese refugees. The 11th Marines participated in numerous training exercises throughout the 1980s to maintain the regiments high level of operational readiness.
The Gulf War and the 1990s
The regiment's ability to respond quickly to a crisis was put to the test in August 1990, when Iraq invaded and occupied its neighbor, Kuwait. President George H. W. Bush immediately ordered American forces, including Marines, to the Persian Gulf, to deter a possible Iraqi assault into Saudi Arabia. Elements of the 11th Marines began departing Camp Pendleton on 25 August as part of the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, en route to Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Shield. Early in September, 7th MEB was absorbed by I Marine Expeditionary Force. The mission of the 11th Marines was to provide effective artillery support to the various task forces comprising the 1st Marine Division. Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, the regiment began an intensive training program, which included liaison with the famous British "Desert Rats," the 40th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Operation Desert Storm began early on 17 January 1991, and the 11th Marines fired its first artillery mission against Iraqi forces, when elements of the regiment conducted an early morning surface artillery raid just south of Khafji. This was the first in a series of 11th Marines artillery raids conducted along the Saudi Arabian/Kuwaiti border, both on the Persian Gulf coast and along the south-west border area near several oil fields. As the major coalition ground offensive began on 24 February, the 11th Marines was already inside Kuwait providing vital fire support to Task Forces Grizzly and Taro. Throughout Operation Desert Storm, the 11th Marines provided close and continuous fire support to the 1st Marine Division.
Upon 28 February 1991 ceasefire which ended the fighting, the 11th Marines prepared to leave the Persian Gulf for home. The regiment's seven-month deployment and the Gulf War came to an end on 5 April with a much-deserved welcome at Camp Pendleton, California.
Throughout the remaining years of the decade, elements of the 11th Marines participated in Operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh and in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. The regiment also assisted in fire-fighting efforts in the western United States during the summer of 1994.
Global War on Terrorism
The regiment continues to support Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq to this day with units and Marines deployed. The Commanding Officer of 11th Marines is Colonel Tavuchis