Marines

LIEUTENANT GENERAL
LOUIS METZGER, USMC (DECEASED) 

 

Lieutenant General Louis Metzger retired from active duty 28 February 1973, following more than 33 years of commissioned service. He saw his last four of duty as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force on Okinawa.

Born 18 November 1916, in San Francisco, he graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. degree in 1939. He entered the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant on 1 July 1939.

Completing the Officers' Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the summer of 1940, he joined the Marine Detachment aboard the USS New Orleans, then serving in the Hawaiian area. In the summer of 1941, he was ordered to the 2d Marine Division, stationed in San Diego, where he served as a company officer in infantry and tank units.

Immediately after the outbreak of World War II, Lieutenant Metzger sailed with the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade to Samoa. Following his promotion to captain in May 1942, he returned to the United States where he attended the Armored School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. From there, he was transferred to the Tank Training Center, Camp Elliott, California, and later became Commanding Officer of the Officer Candidate Detachment. He was promoted to major in April l943.

In August 1943, Major Metzger assumed command of the 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, FMF. He retained command of this battalion for 25 months, during which time he led his battalion in combat at Roi-Namur, Guam, and Okinawa. The Legion of Merit with Combat "V" was awarded him for exceptionally meritorious service during the initial assault on Okinawa. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1945 prior to the Okinawa campaign.

In August 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Metzger was assigned as Chief of Staff of the Third Fleet Landing Force which made the initial landing at Yokosuka, Japan, and furnished the Naval forces for the occupation of Japan. His first Navy Commendation Medal was awarded for his performance as Chief of Staff, Third Fleet Landing Force. In September 1945, he returned to the 6th Marine Division as Assistant Operations Officer and, later, Operations Officer, and participated in the initial landing in Tsingtao, North China. This division accepted the surrender of the 32d Japanese Army, and supervised their disarmament and return to Japan.

In the spring of 1946, Metzger commenced a three-year tour of duty in the Division of Plans and Policies, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. During the year 1949-50, he attended the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon completion of this duty, he was ordered to Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, serving as an Instructor and Supervisory Instructor, Senior School, for three years.

In June 1953, he joined the 1st Marine Division in Korea as Executive Officer of the Kimpo Provisional Regiment. Later, he served as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Regimental Executive Officer, and Assistant Division Operations Officer, respectively. For service in Korea, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

Following his return from Korea, he served from July 1954 to June 1956 as Assistant Naval Attache and Assistant Naval Attache for Air at the American Embassy in London. He was promoted to colonel in November 1955.

On his return to the United States, Colonel Metzger completed a three-year tour of duty at Headquarters Marine Corps as Branch Head and, later, Executive Officer, Fiscal Division. In June 1960, he was graduated from the National War College. He was then transferred to Camp Pendleton, where he served as Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Division until May 1962. The following month he assumed duty with Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Japan, as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, J-3, Operations.

In August 1964, following his return from Japan, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps for duty. A gold star in lieu of a second Navy Commendation Medal was awarded him for extraordinary performance of duty as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff (Programs), from 29 August 1964 until 2 December 1966. During this assignment, he was promoted to brigadier general in July, 1965.

After his detachment from Headquarters Marine Corps, Brigadier General Metzger was ordered overseas for duty with the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade/FMF, Seventh Fleet. In May 1967, he was reassigned to the 3d Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam. For his service as Commanding General, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade, and subsequently as Assistant Division Commander, 3d Marine Division, from January 1967 until January 1968, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He also received a gold star in lieu of a second Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy on 29 October 1967. Prior to his detachment from the 3d Marine Division, he was promoted to major general, 1 January 1968.

Major General Metzger next served for three years (February 1968- January 1971), as Deputy Chief of Staff (Research, Development and Studies), at Headquarters Marine Corps. In September 1969, he successfully completed the Special Rotary Wing Training Course at the U.S. Army Aviation School, Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Ordered to the Far East in March 1971, Major General Metzger assumed duties as Commanding General, I Marine Amphibious Force and Commanding General, Third Marine Division on Okinawa. When the I Marine Amphibious Force was redeployed to Camp Pendleton in April 1971, he remained in command of the Third Marine Division on Okinawa. While in command of this unit, he was nominated for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general, his nomination was approved by President Nixon in November 1971 and confirmed by the Senate on 10 December. Following his advancement to three-star rank on 28 December he was reassigned in January 1972, as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force/FMF, Seventh Fleet. A Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal was awarded him for this service through January 1973.

Lieutenant General Metzger passed away on 28 July 2005 from congestive heart failure.

A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Distinguished Service Medal with one gold star in lieu of a second award; the Legion of Merit with Combat "V"; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" and gold star in lieu of a second award; the Navy Commendation Medal with one gold star; the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star; the Navy Unit Commendation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation; the China Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal with bronze star and Fleet clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp; the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star; the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars; the National Order Medal, 5th Class; the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm; the United Nations Service Medal; the Korean Presidential Unit Citation; the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation of the Gallantry Cross with Palm; the United Nations Service Medal; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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