Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Geiger commanded the III Amphibious Corps in the battle of Okinawa, where he assumed command of the U.S. Tenth Army upon the combat death of Lt. General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Commanding General of the Tenth Army. Geiger led the Tenth Army until World War II concluded.
For his part in this action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. His citation reads in part, "Going ashore with the early landing elements on 1 April 1945, he began a bitter three-month campaign ... with outstanding professional skill, forceful leadership and unswerving determination, he directed his units ... repeatedly disregarding personal safety to secure a first hand estimate of the battle situation and inspiring his men to heights of bravery and accomplishment."
Early life and career
Geiger was born in Middleburg, Florida. He attended Florida State Normal and Industrial College and received an LLB from Stetson University, after which he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 5 February 1909.
Following attendance at the Marine Officers' School at Port Royal, South Carolina, he served as a member of the Marine detachments aboard Wisconsin (BB-9) and Delaware (BB-28). In August 1912, he was assigned to Nicaragua, where he participated in the bombardment, assault and capture of the hills called Coyotepe and Barranca. Further foreign shore duty followed in the Philippines and China with the First Brigade and with the Marine Detachment, American Legation, Peking, China, from 1913 to 1916.
World War I
Further training followed and in July 1918, he arrived in France. He served with 5 Group , Royal Air Force at Dunkirk. He commanded a squadron of the First Marine Aviation Force and was attached to the Day Wing, Northern Bombing Group. He was detached to the United States in January 1919. For distinguished service in leading bombing raids against the enemy, he was awarded the Navy Cross.
Development of Marine Corps aviation between the wars
From December 1919 to January 1921, he was a squadron commander with the Marine Aviation Force attached to the First Provisional Brigade in Haiti. Upon return to the United States and after duty at the Marine Flying Field, Marine Barracks, MCB Quantico, Virginia, he attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He graduated in June 1925. Again he went to foreign shore duty, commanding Observation Squadron Two with the First Brigade in Haiti.
In August 1927, he returned to Quantico as a squadron officer and instructor at the Marine Corps Schools, and in May 1928, was assigned to duty in the Aviation Section, Division of Operations and Training, at Marine Corps Headquarters. After attending the U.S. Army War College and graduating in June 1929, he was ordered to Quantico, where he was assigned duty as Commanding Officer, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force. He returned to Washington for duty with Aeronautics, Navy Department as Officer in Charge, Marine Corps Aviation.
In June 1935, he returned to Quantico as Commanding Officer, Aircraft One, Fleet Marine Force. From June 1939 to March 1941, he was a student at the Senior and the Advanced Courses, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. This was followed with a brief tour of duty in the Office of the Naval Attache, London.
World War II
In August 1941, he became Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing , Fleet Marine Force, in which capacity he was found upon this country's entry into World War II.
He led the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from 3 September to 4 November 1942, while stationed at Guadalcanal. For extraordinary heroism in this capacity as well as commander of all aircraft, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross. His citation reads in part, "Despite almost continuous bombardment by enemy aircraft, hostile naval gunfire and shore based artillery, the combined total of Army, Navy and Marine Corps units stationed at Guadalcanal under Major General Geiger's efficiently coordinated command succeeded in shooting down 268 Japanese planes in aerial combat and inflicting damage on a number estimated to be as greatůSank six enemy vessels, including one heavy cruiser, possibly sank three destroyers and one heavy cruiser, and damaged 18 other ships, including one heavy cruiser and five light cruisers."
He was recalled to Marine Corps Headquarters in May 1943, to become Director of Aviation. In November 1943, he returned to the field, this time as Commanding General of the I Amphibious Corps and led the Corps from 9 November to 15 December 1943, in the Bougainville Operation , for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
Redesignated III Amphibious Corps in April 1944, he led this organization in the invasion and subsequent recapture of Guam during July and August, 1944, and in the assault and capture of the southern Palau Islands in September and October of the same year. For those operations he was awarded two Gold Stars in lieu of a second and third Distinguished Service Medal.
Geiger led this Corps into action for the fourth time as part of the Tenth Army in the invasion and capture of Okinawa. In July 1945, he assumed duties as Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific , which position he held until called back to Headquarters Marine Corps in November, 1946.
Awards and decorations
His decorations and medals include
- Navy Cross with Gold Star
- Navy Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars,
- Army Distinguished Service Medal, Okinawa;
- Presidential Unit Citation, Guadalcanal, 1942;
- Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, Nicaragua, 1912;
- Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with two bronze service stars, Nicaragua 1912, China 1914, Haiti 1919 and 1929;
- World War I Victory Medal with Ypres Lys Clasp, France 1918;
- Haitian Campaign Medal, Haiti 1919 and 1920;
- Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, Nicaragua 1931;
- American Defense Service Medal;
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal;
- American Campaign Medal;
- World War II Victory Medal;
- Dominican Medal of Military Merit ;
- Nicaraguan Medal of Distinction and Diploma.
Promotion to four-star rank
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