Lieutenant General Louis E. Woods



Lieutenant General Louis E. Woods, one of the Marine Corps' outstanding aviators, who retired on 1 July 1951, after 34 years of Marine Corps service, died 20 October 1971 in Washington, D.C. General Woods had served as Commanding General, Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, and Second Marine Aircraft Wing at the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, prior to his retirement. During World War II, he commanded Army, Navy and Marine Corps units based at Guadalcanal during November and December, 1942, and later, at Okinawa, was Commanding General, Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army, and the Second Marine Aircraft Wing.

For outstanding services rendered in the former named position he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a third Legion of Merit, and in the second capacity a Distinguished Service Medal. His citation for the latter reads in part, "…Continually exposed to terrific fire from enemy ship and shore batteries, as well as bombing and strafing attacks by hostile aircraft, Brigadier General Woods directed the operations of his forces with such daring skill and tenacious determination that a total of twenty-two Japanese surface craft was sunk and sixth-five planes destroyed.

Brigadier General Woods by his dauntless courage and outstanding leadership, contributed in a great measure to the success of our forces in that area."

General Woods was born 7 October 1895, in Fredonia, New York. He attended Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on 4 April 1917.

Following a course of instruction at the School of Application, Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia, he went to sea duty on board the USS Georgia. In March, 1918 he transferred to the USS Pittsburgh where, except for a short period of four months, he remained until ordered ashore in October 1921.

In June 1922, after attending the Aviation School, Pensacola, Florida, he was designated a Naval Aviator. For the next two years he was stationed at Marine Air Station, Quantico, Virginia, performing duties as a pilot.

He was ordered to foreign shore duty in Haiti, where in July 1924, he joined Observation Squadron Two, First Marine Brigade, at Port-au-Prince as Executive Officer of the Squadron.

Shortly after his return to the United States in August 1926, he was ordered to Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., for duty in the Aviation Section of the Major General Commandant's Department. Except for a one-year course of instruction at the Air Corps Tactical School, Langley Field, Virginia, he remained at Headquarters until August 1933, when he was detached to overseas duty in Haiti. There he joined the First Marine Brigade as Executive Officer, Observation Squadron Nine-M, at Port-au-Prince.

From August 1934 to June 1937, he was stationed at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, first as a student in the Senior Course, and later as Chief of the Aviation Section of the Schools.

During the next three years he was Executive Officer, and then Commanding Officer, of the Second Marine Aircraft Group at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, California. In June 1940, he became a student in the Senior Course, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.

Upon graduation in May 1941, he joined the First Marine Aircraft Wing as Chief of Staff, and accompanied the Wing to the South Pacific in September 1942, where he participated in the occupation and defense of Guadalcanal.

He returned to the United States and assumed duties as Director, Division of Aviation, Headquarters, Marine Corps in June 1943, where he received a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit.

He went to the war in the Pacific for the second time when he assumed command of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing based in the Marshall-Gilbert Area and was Commander, Shore Base Force. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his outstanding service in this area.

He left this position to become Commanding General of the Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army and the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, for which he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of his Third Legion of Merit.

In November 1945, he took command of the First Marine Aircraft Wing at Tientsin, China, and received an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a fourth Legion of Merit for his meritorious performance of duty in providing air support for all Allied Forces in North China.

He returned to the United States to become Commander, Marine Air West Coast in August 1946. When that organization was deactivated in September 1947, General Woods was named Commanding General of the First Marine Aircraft Wing which had just returned to the United States. He was detached to Cherry Point, North Carolina on 1 August 1949, where he remained until his retirement in July 1951.

In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars and one Oak Leaf Cluster, his decorations and medals include the Presidential Unit Citation with two stars, Guadalcanal 1942, Okinawa 1945; Victory Medal, 1918; Expeditionary Medal Haiti 1924; American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five Bronze Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Haitian Order of Honor and Merit, rank of Chevalier, with Diploma; Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; and the Order of the Cloud and Banner with Grand Gordon (Chinese decoration).

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