Anthony Gale

Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of United States Marine Corps (1819 - 1820). Prior to becoming the 4th Commandant of the Marine Corps, LtCol Gale fought, in fairly quick succession, the French, the Barbary pirates, the British – and a U.S. naval officer. Angered by the mistreatment of a Marine sentry, Gale killed Navy Lieutenant Allen MacKenzie in a duel.This incident, perceived to be an affront to the Corps, subsequently brought Commandant William W. Burrows' approval for Gale's defense of his Corps' honor, when he wrote to a fellow officer that "Lieutenant Gale met the approbation of the Secretary of the Navy, myself, and all ...It is hoped that this may be a lesson to Navy officers to treat Marines as well as their officers with some more respect." Later in his military career, Gale took “an active and gallant part” during the siege of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. Early in his Marine career, his increasing rank brought other difficulties. In 1815, while commanding at Philadelphia, he fell out with Commandant Franklin Wharton over construction of barracks. Wharton had been accused of overspending on the project, and he in turn charged Gale with building extravagant officers' quarters. Gale asserted that he had been given no specific plans and that Wharton had known what was being done. A court of inquiry cleared Gale, but he was banished to a less desirable post in New Orleans, where he allegedly nursed a feeling of persecution and began to drink heavily. Brevet Major Gale, although next senior at the time of Wharton's death on September 1, 1818, had to battle for the job. At the time, the Corps was authorized only one lieutenant colonel and two majors. One could only rise in rank by virtue of the death of a superior officer or the removal of a higher officer. When Wharton died, a scramble for the Commandant's job ensued. Major Samuel Miller, the adjutant and inspector at Marine Corps Headquarters, two days after notifying Navy Secretary Benjamin Williams Crowninshield of Wharton’s death, considering himself well suited for the job, suggested that he conduct the affairs of the commandancy until a successor was appointed. Brevet Major Archibald Henderson asserted that as the senior line officer present, he should be Acting Commandant. Henderson was also characteristically blunt in assessing Gale's qualifications to the new Secretary of the Navy, Smith Thompson. In an attempt to discredit Gale,  Henderson and Miller participated in a court of inquiry resurrecting the old charges concerning Gale’s tenure in Philadelphia. However, during his testimony, Henderson was forced to admit that his knowledge of Gale’s misconduct was based on hearsay. Miller could similarly not provide firsthand evidence of wrongdoing by Gale. After the court of inquiry exonerated him of these charges for the second time, Gale, with 21 years of service and therefore senior, became Lieutenant Colonel Commandant on March 3, 1819, ending a six month period during which the Corps had been leaderless. Shortly after Gale assumed his post, Archibald Henderson circumvented Gale and wrote directly to Navy Secretary Smith Thompson requesting to join General Andrew Jackson who was serving as military governor in Florida. Soon came more direct troubles with Smith Thompson, who frequently countermanded Gale's orders. Finally, on August 8, 1820, Gale submitted a letter analyzing the proper division of function between himself and the Secretary, pointing out the impossibility of his position. It was also alleged that he began to drink heavily at this time. Eight days after his letter, Gale was notified that the Secretary had unilaterally granted a four-week leave to one Marine captain and had suspended Gale's order sending another captain to the Mediterranean. Two weeks after that, on August 29, Gale was arrested and ordered to face court-martial. The charges against Gale were dated September 11, 1820. The first was that Gale was publicly intoxicated in the city of Washington on six specified dates during August, including August 31, two days after his arrest. The second charge was of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. There were three specifications: first, that Gale had visited a house of prostitution near the Marine Barracks "in open and disgraceful manner" on that same August 31; second, that he had on September 1 - a date on which he was in custody - called Lieutenant Richard M. Desha, the Corps' Paymaster and son of Congressman Joseph Desha of Kentucky  - who had earlier charged Gale with misappropriation - "a damned rascal, liar and coward" and threatening him with personal chastisement unless he would immediately challenge and fight him; and, finally, that he had declared in front of the Marine Barracks "that he did not care a damn for the President, Jesus Christ or God Almighty!" The third charge was that Gale had signed a false certificate that said he had not used a Marine for personal services when in fact he had a man assigned as waiter and coachman from October 17, 1819, until June 3, 1820. The fourth and final charge was that Gale had broken arrest "at sundry times" between September 1 - 8, while he was confined to quarters. Gale’s court-martial was marked by further irregularities. Major Miller, one of Gale’s rivals for the post of Commandant, despite having written the charges against Gale, was nonetheless appointed the prosecutor. Furthermore, Lieutenant Desha, a witness against Gale on the second charge, was appointed a supernumerary (or extra member) of the court, and was called to sit on the court in judgment of Gale when regular court members failed to appear. Desha objected to serving on the court under the circumstances, but the court overruled his objection on the grounds that Desha, not Gale, had objected. The court found Gale guilty, President James Monroe approving the verdict, and Gale was removed from office and dismissed from the Marine Corps on October 18, 1820. From Washington, Gale went first to Philadelphia where he spent several months in a hospital, then took up residence in Stanford, Kentucky. Armed with proof that he had been under the strain of temporary mental derangement while Commandant, he spent fifteen years attempting to have his court-martial decision reversed. Eventually, in 1835, the government partially cleared him and awarded him a stipend of $15 a month which was later increased to $25 and continued until his death, believed to have been on December 12, 1843 at Stanford, Kentucky. Although he is believed to have been buried in Lincoln County , Kentucky, his grave has never been located.  Over the years, several efforts have been undertaken by the Marines in an attempt to locate Commandant Gale’s final resting place. All have proven unsuccessful. On March 6, 2010, the Marine Corps League, Department of Kentucky, dedicated a monument to Commandant Anthony Gale on the grounds of the Lincoln County Courthouse in Stanford, Kentucky.  Pursuant to a directive issued by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, this memorial is decorated annually by Marines in Kentucky on the Marine Corps Birthday (November 10). (No photograph or artistic portrait of LtCol Anthony Gale is available)


William R. Higgins
William R. Higgins

William Richard "Rich" Higgins (January 15, 1945 - July 6, 1990) was a United States Marine Corps colonel who was captured in 1988 while serving on a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. He was held hostage, tortured and eventually brutally murdered by his captors.

Leonard F. Mason (MOH)
Leonard F. Mason

Leonard Foster Mason (22 February 1920 - 22 July 1944) served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Mason, born Middlesboro, Kentucky, 22 February 1920, enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1943. Promoted to private first class in March 1943, Mason was sent to the Pacific war zone in October.

John J. McGinty III (MOH)
John J. McGinty III

John J. McGinty III was born on 21 January 1940 in Boston, Massachusetts. He completed grammar school in Louisville, Kentucky in 1955, and attended high school in Louisville for a year and a half prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on 19 February 1957. Discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve, he enlisted in the Regular Marine Corps on 3 March 1958.

Dakota L. Meyer (MOH)
Dakota L. Meyer

Dakota L. Meyer is a United States Marine Corps veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal on September 8, 2009, part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

Presley N. O'Bannon
Presley N. O'Bannon

On a lonely knoll in a Frankfort, Kentucky cemetery stands a simple stone marking the grave of the "Hero of Derne". It is among the final resting places of vice-presidents, senators, governors, artists, and scores of local patriots who fell in action against the wilderness and foreign aggressors.