LIEUTENANT GENERAL
VERNE JAMES MCCAUL, USMC (DECEASED) 

 

Lieutenant General Verne J. McCaul, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1 December 1957 until 1 January 1960, died 2 March 1968, after a long illness, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California. He was 64.

Verne James McCaul was born 18 August 1903 at Ayr, North Dakota. He attended Public Schools there until he entered the preparatory school of the North Dakota Agricultural College at Fargo. Later, he studied at the Agricultural College where he obtained his degree. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant 21 July 1925. Ordered to the Marine Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, he completed the Basic School for Marine Corps officers that December. 

In October 1927, after a tour of duty at the Marine Barracks, Naval Station, New Orleans, Louisiana, Lieutenant McCaul joined the Marine Detachment aboard the aircraft carrier Saratoga. He returned from sea duty in December 1929 to enter flight training at Pensacola, Florida. After winning his wings, he was ordered to Aircraft Two at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, in August 1930. In February 1932, he was promoted to first lieutenant. 

Lieutenant McCaul remained at San Diego until March 1935 then served aboard the USS Langley during fleet maneuvers. After that he was stationed at Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, from June 1935 until May 1936. The following month he began a two-year tour of duty in the Virgin Islands. He was promoted to captain in July 1936. 

Captain McCaul returned to Quantico in June 1938. After completing the Junior Course at the Marine Corps Schools, he remained there as Assistant Operations and Air Liaison Officer of the 1st Marine Brigade. With that unit he participated in Caribbean maneuvers from January to March 1940, and from October 1940 to February 1941. He was promoted to major in August 1940. 

In March 1941, Major McCaul began a brief assignment as Executive Officer of Bombing Squadron One, 1st Marine Aircraft Group, at Quantico. He joined the 2d Marine Aircraft Group in Hawaii that June. The following month he returned to San Diego, and organized Marine Fighter Squadron 221. On 7 December 1941, VMF 221 was loading aboard the USS Saratoga for transfer to the Hawaiian area when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. 

Upon arrival at Pearl Harbor on 12 December 1941, Major McCaul and his squadron were ordered to Wake Island with a force sent to aid that island's hard-pressed defenders. However, the Wake Island defenders surrendered before the relief expedition could reach them; and Major McCaul, with the squadron, was transferred from the Saratoga to Midway Island on Christmas Day 1941. On Midway the squadron joined Marine Aircraft Group 22.

Major McCaul earned his first Legion of Merit with Combat "V" as Executive and Operations Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 22 when the group earned the Presidential Unit Citation for its heroic fight at Midway in June 1942. Following the battle of Midway, he joined Marine Aircraft Group 23, and also served briefly as a liaison officer with Commander-in-Chief, Pacific. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1942.

Lieutenant Colonel McCaul returned to the United States in October 1942 for duty in Washington, D.C., on the Staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet. He was promoted to colonel in June 1943. In April 1944, the colonel was ordered from Washington to Cherry Point where he became Executive Officer of the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing. He served briefly in that capacity, then commanded a fighter group at Congaree Field, South Carolina.

Returning to the Pacific area in October 1944, Colonel McCaul served as Chief of Staff, Aircraft, Northern Solomons. He took command of Marine Aircraft Group 12 at Leyte, Philippine Islands in February 1945. For outstanding service from February to July 1945 as Deputy Commander, Marine Aircraft Groups Zamboanga, Commander, Support Aircraft, and Commander, Marine Aircraft Group 12, he was awarded his second Legion of Merit with Combat "V".

Under his command, Marine Corps Aircraft Group 12 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its service while supporting Filipino guerrilla units fighting on Cebu Island. In addition, Marine Aircraft Groups, Zamboanga, won the Navy Unit Commendation for its support of the U.S. Eighth Army on Mindanao and in the Sulu Archipelago while Colonel McCaul was Deputy Commander. After commanding Marine Aircraft Group 12 in the Philippines and in Peiping, China, he returned to the United States in March 1946.

Colonel McCaul then served as Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point. In July 1947, he entered the National War College, Washington, D.C. After graduation in June 1948, he served on aviation duty with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for one year. Subsequently, in July 1949, he began a two-year assignment with the Joint Strategic Plans Group of the Joint Staff. In August 1951, he was named Commander, Marine Air Reserve Training, Glenview, Illinois. While there, he was promoted to brigadier general in November 1951.

In August 1952, General McCaul returned to Washington, D.C., where he served as Director of Information at Headquarters Marine Corps. The following August, he joined the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea, serving as Assistant Commander until March 1954 when he became Commanding General. On his return to the United States in August 1954, he was promoted to major general and assumed command of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point.

Following this assignment, General McCaul became Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, in December 1955. Meanwhile, he retained command of the 2d Wing until he was relieved the following month. He was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 April 1957, and designated Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps for Air, Director of Aviation, and Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Marine Aviation. On 1 December 1957, he was appointed Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving in this capacity until his retirement 1 January 1960.

In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the general's medals and decorations include: the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star in lieu of a second award, the Navy Unit Commendation, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star, and the Chinese Order of the Purple Cloud and Banner.

Assistant Commandants of the Marine Corps