ROBERT E. HOGABOOM, USMC
General Robert Edward Hogaboom, who retired as Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps in 1959, died at the age of 90 on 11 November 1993 in St. Mary's City, Maryland. He saw a year's duty in Korea as assistant commander and commander of the First Marine Division. He was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of his third Legion of Merit for outstanding service from January to July 1954, as assistant division commander.
Prior to his Korean assignment he twice commanded multi-nation NATO landing forces in Mediterranean maneuvers. As Commanding General of the Landing Force in Operation LONGSTEP (1952), he directed U.S. Marines, French, Greek and Italian Forces in landings on the coast of Turkey. In Operation WELDFAST (1953), British, Greek and Italian troops joined the Marines under his command.
In World War II General Hogaboom saw action at Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians, and on Makin Island, Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for outstanding service at Saipan and Tinian as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training), Northern Troops and Landing Force. At Iwo Jima, he earned a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his service as Chief of Staff of the 3d Marine Division.
Born 13 November 1902, at Meridian, Mississippi, the general attended Mississippi State College for two years before entering the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a member of the boxing team. He graduated from the Academy on 4 June 1925, with his commission as a Marine second lieutenant, and was ordered to the Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. On completing that school, he joined the 5th Marine Regiment at Quantico, Virginia.
In March 1926, General Hogaboom sailed with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He returned to the United States that September, and was ordered to mail guard duty at Richmond, Virginia. (Marines were given that assignment during a nation-wide wave of mail robberies.)
Going overseas again in February 1927, the general served for three years in Nicaragua with the 1st Marine Brigade and the Nicaraguan National Guard, participating in a number of skirmishes with the guerrillas there. Upon his return he reported to San Diego, California, for duty at the Recruit Depot and, later, the Sea School. After that he served at sea from 1931 until 1933 with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Chicago; completed the Army Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kansas; was an instructor at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico; and served overseas again from 1937 to 1939 with the 4th Marines at Shanghai, China. When the United States entered World War II, he was serving once more on the staff of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico.
Ordered to the West Coast in September 1942, General Hogaboom served at San Diego and helped train Army units at Fort Ord, California, in amphibious techniques. Then in 1943 he and other key officers of the 5th Amphibious Corps served with Army units during the Kiska and Attu operations. Following the recapture of the Aleutian Islands, he went on to fight in the Central Pacific.
The general returned to Quantico in January 1946, remaining at the post until he was assigned to the staff of the National War College at Washington in June 1949. After that assignment, he continued to serve in Washington as Marine Corps Liaison Officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
From Washington he was ordered to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as assistant commander of the 2d Marine Division, temporarily leaving there to take part in Operations LONGSTEP and WELDFAST. He was named assistant commander of the 1st Marine Division in January 1954, and served in that capacity until he became Commanding General of the division that July. In January 1955 he returned to the United States to serve at Marine Corps Headquarters as Deputy Chief of Staff (Plans), until 1 December 1957, on which date he assumed his duties as Chief of Staff and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. He retired on 30 October 1959 and was advanced to four-star rank.
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", Gold Star in lieu of a second and Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a third, General Hogaboom's medals and decorations include: the Letter of Commendation Ribbon; the Presidential Unit Citation; the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon; the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the China Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Area Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with one silver and one bronze star; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; the United Nations Service Medal; the Adolf Diaz Ribbon (a Nicaraguan decoration); and the Order of Military Merit TAIGUK (presented by President Syngman Rhee of South Korea).