Lieutenant General Louis B. Robertshaw



Lieutenant General Louis Bentham Robertshaw was born 1 August 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Haverford Township High School, Havertown, Pennsylvania, in 1930 and attended Friends Central School and Swavely School, Manassas, Virginia, prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1932. While there, he captained the 1935 football team and received the Naval Academy Sword for personal excellence in athletics. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant upon graduation, 4 June 1936.

Second Lieutenant Robertshaw served at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the San Diego Marine Corps Base, and the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., prior to completing Basic School for Marine Corps Officers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in June 1937. That month he embarked for duty in China with the 6th Marines, 2d Marine Brigade, and participated in the defense of the International Settlement in Shanghai from October 1937 to February 1938. In May 1938, he returned with the brigade to San Diego and remained there until February 1939 when he again sailed for China. While serving with the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, in Shanghai, he was promoted to first lieutenant in July 1939.

Following his return to the United States in August 1940, 1stLt Robertshaw was assigned to the Naval Academy as Executive Officer of the Marine Detachment and as a coach in football and basketball. In April 1941, he was assigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard as an instructor. He was promoted to captain in October 1941.

Captain Robertshaw entered flight school at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, in February 1942. Upon graduation in August 1942, he was designated a Naval aviator and promoted to major.

Major Robertshaw embarked from San Diego for Noumea, New Caledonia, in October 1942. After serving as Executive Officer, Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 132, Marine Aircraft Group 11, he assumed command of the squadron in December 1942 when the commanding officer became a casualty.

Maj Robertshaw was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his air attack on a group of Japanese transports in which he scored a direct hit on one transport and severely damaged land installations in the Solomons area in November and December 1942. A second Distinguished Flying Cross and six Air Medals were also awarded him for bombing operations in the Solomons. In April 1943, he became Group Operations Officer. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1943.

On his arrival in the United States in January 1944, LtCol Robertshaw was named Executive Officer and, later, Commanding Officer of Marine Base Defense Aircraft Group 41, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California. He was again ordered overseas in June 1945, serving as Assistant G-3, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Pacific, Ewa, Hawaii, and, later, as Marine Aviation Officer on the Staff of Commander, Naval Activities, Japan. He returned to the United States in July 1946, and was assigned to Marine Air West Coast, Miramar, San Diego.

Shortly after, LtCol Robertshaw was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, where he served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer, respectively, of Marine Transport Squadron 152. In July 1948, he began a two-year tour of duty as Commanding Officer, Marine Air Detachment, Marine Air Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. After leaving Willow Grove, he saw two years' duty in the Division of Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC). While there, he was promoted to colonel in February 1951.

Ordered to Korea in August 1952, Col Robertshaw served briefly as Assistant Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, prior to becoming Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 33. For outstanding service in Korea from September 1952 to May 1953, during which time he flew 77 missions, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", a third Distinguished Flying Cross, and his seventh through eleventh Air Medals.

In June 1953, following his return to the United States, Col Robertshaw was stationed at Quantico, where he later entered and completed the Senior Course, Marine Corps Schools. He went overseas again in July 1954 for two years' duty on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, at Pearl Harbor. In August 1956, he returned to Quantico as a member of the Advanced Research Group, Marine Corps Educational Center.

After a year at Quantico, Col Robertshaw was transferred to Cherry Point, North Carolina, serving as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, and later, Chief of Staff, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Aircraft Fleet Marie Force, Atlantic. He also served on temporary duty in 1957 as Marine Corps Liaison Officer during Operation Deep-Water in Turkey. On his detachment from Cherry Point, he departed for the Far East in October 1959. The following month, he was promoted to brigadier general and assumed duties as Assistant Wing Commander, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Iwaunki, Japan.

Ordered next to Glenview, Illinois, he served as Commanding General, Marine Air Reserve Training Command, from January 1961 through September 1963. The following month, he reported to HQMC as Deputy Chief of Staff (Air). For service in this capacity from October 1963 until April 1966, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal. He was promoted to major general in January 1964.

Major General Robertshaw assumed command of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in the Far East in May 1966. For meritorious achievement in aerial flights in Vietnam from 27 January to 25 May 1967, he received a Gold Star in lieu of his twelfth Air Medal. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and two Vietnamese decorations; the Vietnamese National Order 5th Class, and the Gallantry Cross with Palm.

Upon his return to the United States, he assumed on 1 July 1967, duties as the Marine Corps Liaison Officer on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations for which he was awarded the Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit.

MajGen Robertshaw was named Inspector General of the Marine Corps 12 July 1968. While serving in this capacity, he was nominated for promotion to lieutenant general. His nomination was approved by President Nixon in March 1969, and confirmed by the Senate on 14 May 1969. He received his third star on 22 April 1969 on assuming duties as Deputy Chief of Staff (Manpower) and Director of Personnel at HQMC. For his service during the latter assignment through June 1971, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a third Legion of Merit.

Lieutenant General Robertshaw retired from active duty 1 July 1971, after 39 years of Marine Corps service. Following retirement, he received a paralegal degree from Anne Arundel Community College and worked about five years for the Anne Arundel County Legal aid office.

On 14 July 2003, LtGen Robertshaw died of cancer in Chestertown, Maryland. He was 90.

A complete list of medals and decorations include: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" with Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards; the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards, the Air Medal with two Silver Stars and one Gold Star in lieu of second through twelfth awards, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Commendation, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with base clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two 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 three bronze stars, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Korean Ulchi Medal with Silver Star, the Vietnamese National Order 5th Class, the Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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