Karch, Frederick J, BGen

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Primary MOS
9903-General Officer
Last MOSGroup
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Primary Unit
1966-1967, 9903, USMC Command and Staff College
Service Years
1940 - 1967
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Iwo Jima Certificate

Brigadier General


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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Lynn Rutt to remember Marine BGen Frederick J Karch.

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Information supplied by SgtMaj Joe Armstrong

Frederick J. Karch, 1917-2009: Marine Corps general led first ground troops into Vietnam

May 26, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Frederick J. Karch, 91, a Marine Corps brigadier general who led the first official ground combat troops into Vietnam, died on May 23 at his home in Arlington, Va.

Gen. Karch, a Naval Academy graduate, served in the Marine Corps for 27 years, from before World War II through the Vietnam War. During World War II he was a part of the Pacific island-hopping campaign as U.S. forces fought the Japanese on a succession of islands, with Japan as the ultimate goal. He received the Bronze Star for his actions on Roi-Namur, Sapian, Tinian and Iwo Jima.

Two decades later, on March 8, 1965, the "dapper-looking, mustache-sporting veteran of two bloody World War II island campaigns" -- Edward F. Murphy's description in "Semper Fi Vietnam" (2003) -- landed with the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade on Red Beach at Da Nang, South Vietnam. Before their arrival, all military personnel in Vietnam were there as "advisers," and Gen. Karch told reporters that the activities of his men would be strictly defensive.

Later that year he voiced his respect for the stamina of the opposition fighters known as Viet Cong. "I thought that once they ran up against our first team they wouldn't stand and fight, but they did. I made a miscalculation."
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 Unit Assignments
10th Marine Regiment1st Provisional Marine Brigade, Iceland12th Marine Regiment14th Marine Regiment/1st Bn, 14th Marine Regiment (1/14)
14th Marine RegimentHeadquarters Marine Corps (HQMC)USMC (United States Marine Corps)4th Bn, 10th Marine Regiment (4/10)
US Army2nd Marine Division/HQ Bn, 2nd Marine DivisionUS Army War CollegeIII MEF/3rd Marine Division
9TH MEBUSMC Command and Staff College
  1940-1941, 0802, 10th Marine Regiment
  1941-1942, 0802, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, Iceland
  1942-1943, 0802, 12th Marine Regiment
  1943-1943, 0802, 14th Marine Regiment/1st Bn, 14th Marine Regiment (1/14)
  1943-1945, 0802, 14th Marine Regiment
  1946-1947, 8040, Manpower & Reserve Affairs
  1947-1949, 8040, Army Field Artillery School (Staff)
  1951-1952, 0802, 4th Bn, 10th Marine Regiment (4/10)
  1952-1953, 0802, 10th Marine Regiment
  1955-1958, 9904, US Army
  1958-1958, 9904, Amphibious Warfare School, Senior Course
  1959-1960, 9904, 10th Marine Regiment
  1960-1961, 9904, HQ Bn, 2nd Marine Division/G-2
  1961-1962, 9904, US Army War College
  1962-1963, 9904, Manpower & Reserve Affairs
  1964-1965, 9903, HQ Co/G-3
  1965-1965, 9903, 9TH MEB
  1966-1967, 9903, USMC Command and Staff College
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/American Theater
  1941-1942 World War II/American Theater/Defense of Iceland Base
  1941-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 Operation Flintlock/Battle of Kwajalein Atoll
  1944-1944 Marianas Operation /Battle of Tinian (1944)
  1944-1944 Marianas Operation /Battle of Tinian (1944)
  1944-1944 Marianas Operation /Battle for Saipan
  1944-1944 Eastern Mandates Campaign (1944)/Operation Flintlock
  1945-1945 Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Iwo Jima
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
 Colleges Attended
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUnited States Naval AcademyGeorge Washington University
  1935-1936, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  1936-1940, United States Naval Academy
  1963-1964, George Washington University
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