General Alfred H. Noble



General Alfred Houston Noble, who fought with the Marines from Belleau Wood to the Pacific-washed beachheads of World War II, died 27 September 1983 in LaJolla, California. Prior to his retirement, he served at Norfolk, Virginia, as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic.

The general was twice awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", in World War II. The first was for outstanding service from September to December 1943, as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps during the Treasury Islands occupation, the diversionary landing on Choiseul Island and the establishment of the beachhead at Empress Augustas Bay, Bougainville. The second was for outstanding service from May to August 1944, as assistant commander of the 3rd Marine Division during the planning and execution of the recapture of Guam.

In World War I he fought as commander of the 83rd Company, 6th Marine Regiment, in the Aisne-Marne Defensive, (Chateau Thierry), the Aisne-Marne Offensive (Soissons), the St. Mihiel Offensive and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (Champagne and Argonne Forest). He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Croix de Guerre with silver star and diploma. In addition he was cited twice in General Orders of the War Department and once by the Commanding General, AEF. He was also entitled to wear the French Fourragere which was awarded the 6th Marines.

General Noble's Navy Cross was for gallantry in action from 6-8 June 1918, during the battle of Belleau Wood. The citation states in part:

"…He was conspicuous for his judgment and personal courage in handling his company in attacks against superior numbers in strongly fortified machine-gun positions. His fortitude and initiative enabled his command each time to achieve success."

The general was born 26 October 1894, at Federalsburg, Maryland. After graduation from St. John's College, at Annapolis, he reported for active duty as a Marine second lieutenant on 24 May 1917, and embarked for France that October. After the war, he served in the Army of Occupation in Germany until he sailed for home in July, 1919. He had risen to the rank of captain by the war's end.

In September, 1919, the general went overseas again to serve at the Marine Barracks, St. Thomas, Virgin, Islands, until June 1922. After that, he completed the Company Officers Course in the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, Virginia, then served there as adjutant and secretary of the schools and as Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Schools Detachment. He left Quantico in June 1927, and the following month, began a two-year command of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS California serving with that detachment on expeditionary duty in Nicaragua. He returned to Quantico in July 1929, and during the next three years, he completed the Field Officers Course and served as an instructor in that course.

From July 1932, until August 1934, General Noble served with the 1st Brigade Marines in Haiti. He was stationed in the Adjutant and Inspectors' Department at Marine Corps Headquarters, Washington, D.C., from September 1934, to May 1937, then was ordered once more to Quantico. There, after serving as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools and as a battalion commander with the 5th Marines, he took command of that regiment. He served in that capacity at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere in the Caribbean during training and maneuvers before he was again ordered to Marine Corps Headquarters in May 1941. This time he served with the Division of Plans and Policies as Officer in Charge of the Material Section, and later, as Director, Division of Plans and Policies. He was a colonel when America entered World War II.

In September 1942, the general was named Chief of Staff of the newly-activated 3rd Marine Division. He served in that capacity for a year, sailing with the division for the Pacific theater in February 1943. He remained overseas as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps from September to December 1943, and as Assistant Commander of the 3rd Division from January to October 1944. Returning to the United States in November 1944, he served as Commanding General of the Marine Training Command at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina until January 1946.

The following month General Noble reported to Pearl Harbor as Commanding General of the Marine Garrison Forces, 14th Naval District. He was ordered from Pearl Harbor to Tientsin, China, in August, 1946, and after serving there for several months as Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Division, he returned to the United States to take command of the Troop Training Unit, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, at Coronado, California. From there, he reported to Parris Island, South Carolina, in February, 1948, as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot. He served in that capacity until August, 1950, for the next year as Commanding General of the Marine Barracks at Camp Pendleton, California, and for the following year as Commanding General of the Department of the Pacific at San Francisco.

Ordered to the Netherlands in August, 1952, General Noble served in that country for two years prior to assuming command of the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune in September, 1954. He was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, on 1 September 1955, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general on the same date. He served in that capacity until 1 November 1956, when he retired after 39 years of service and was promoted to his present rank.

In addition to the decorations already mentioned, the general holds the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one bronze star; the World War I Victory Medal with Aisne, Aisne-Marne; Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector Clasps; the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal, the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the China Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Haitian Diploma of Honor and Merit with rank of "Officer" and the Order of the Orange Nassau with crossed swords and rank of "Commander."

Marine Corps University