Sergeant Major Herbert Joseph Sweet was born 8 October 1919 in Hartford, Connecticut, and the following year moved to Troy, New York where he grew up and received his schooling. As a child, Sergeant Major Sweet made his home with his uncle, Harold J. Nash of Troy.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 26 February 1937. Following recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he saw duty with Marine detachments at Quantico, Virginia; at the 1939 World's Fair in New York; and in Trinidad.

Throughout World War II he served with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division moving with the unit to New Zealand and Guadalcanal for training. He saw combat on Bougainville where he was promoted to platoon sergeant then gunnery sergeant. He was wounded in action during the landing on Guam in July 1944 and, following hospitalization, rejoined the 21st Marines for the Iwo Jima campaign. There he earned the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for exposing himself to enemy fire in order to rescue his wounded company commander, two other Marines and a corpsman. Wounded twice, he was evacuated twice.

On his return to active duty, he served as First Sergeant of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island; on the Marine Detachment at the Naval Ordnance Plant, Macon, Georgia; and on the Marine Detachment of the USS Missouri. He also served two separate tours at Camp Lejeune, first as an infantry chief, and following the Korean conflict, as Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2d Marines and Field Sergeant Major of the 2d Marine Division, respectively.

He requested duty in Korea on the outbreak of hostilities there, and in 1951 saw combat as rifle company First Sergeant with the 5th Marines. He was wounded in action that October and earned the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V".

He returned from Korea in July 1952 and served thereafter as Assistant to the Professor of Naval Science, NROTC Unit, Columbia University, New York City for two years. Following his second tour of duty at Camp Lejeune he was stationed in the Philippine Islands as Barracks Sergeant Major, Subic Bay from 1958 to 1960. Then he served as Sergeant Major of the 6th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District, Atlanta, Georgia. In July 1964 he was named Division Sergeant Major, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force in the Far East. While serving in this capacity, he was selected as the 4th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps by a board convened in Washington and assumed his new post on July 16,1965.

Sergeant Major Sweet died 18 June 1998 of respiratory failure at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

His personal decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; Purple Heart with three bronze stars in lieu of the forth award; Navy Achievement Medal; and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps