DeWitt Peck was born 29 May 1894 in Bakersfield, California, but grew up in New York State. Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1915, he was appointed a Marine Corps second lieutenant and was then sent to Jacymi, Haiti, where with a handful of men, he was in charge of considerable territory owned by the United States.

In addition to Haiti, his foreign service included Cuba, Panama, France, Germany, and Nicaragua where he aided in supervising the turbulent elections there. He was promoted to captain on 26 March 1917. When the United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Demark in March 1917, Capt Peck represented this country at the ceremonies.

During World War I, he served with the 5th Marines and was with that famous regiment during the fighting at Chateau Thierry, where he was twice wounded. For distinguished service in action he received medals and decorations including the Purple Heart, the Victory Medal with St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne battle clasps, and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one star. He also held the second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal and the Nicaraguan Medal for distinction.

Returning to the United States from France in 1919, Capt Peck was assigned as an instructor in the school of musketry at Quantico, Virginia. In 1922 he was sent to Cuba. He was promoted to major on 2 January 1929 and to lieutenant colonel on 29 May 1934. In 1939, while he was serving as acting chief of staff at the Marine Corps Base, in San Diego, California, LtCol Peck was promoted to colonel on 1 February.

In November 1939, Col Peck was selected as Commander of the 4th Marines in Shanghai, China. While stationed there, he was the recognized military authority of the United States in the Far East, and earned a letter of recommendation from Admiral Hart, then Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet.

Upon his return to the United States in March 1941, he was attached to Headquarters, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, Navy Department in Washington, D.C.

From May 1942 to July 1943, he held the position of Assistant Chief of Staff for War Plans to the Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force. Later, he became the Director of Marine Corps Division of Plans and Policies.

On 1 January 1944, he was appointed to the temporary rank of major general and assigned as Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He served in this position from 20 January 1944 until 30 July 1945. He was retired from active duty as a major general on 1 November 1946.

Major General Peck died at Andrews Air Force Base Hospital on 13 January 1973 after a brief illness. He was 78.

Marine Corps University