(No Bio Available)
We are all familiar with the United States Marine Corps successful role in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. What is not so well-known is the story of how the sea soldiers progressed form a shrunken group of naval police during the Great Depression, into a full-fledged fighting force of nearly a half a million men and women on VJ-Day. Preparing for Victory is the only full length biography of General Thomas Holcomb, seventeenth commandant of the Marine Corps, whose skills as a leader, manager, planner and publicist enabled him to guide the Corps through the lean pre-war period and the demanding, bloody war years to 1943. A career Marine, Holcomb was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1900 and briefly saw sea duty before being assigned to the Legation in China, where he spent the bulk of his time prior to World War I. Shipping to France as part of the Sixth Regiment in January, 1918, Holcomb’s initiation into combat came at Belleau Wood, where his leadership skills saw him become one of the most highly decorated Marines in the conflict. His hard work in training his Marines saw them as a tough, well-organized, esprit-filled team. After demobilization in mid-1919, Holcomb remained as one of only 962 Marine officers in 1920. His war record enabled him to serve in key staff and command posts and in 1928, he was promoted to colonel. As international tensions escalated across the globe, the Marine Corps found themselves completely undermanned with just over 17,000 men in uniform, serving a country unable and unwilling to fight another world war. At this low point, Holcomb became commandant in December, 1936. He would prove to be the right man in the right place. Holcomb’s accomplishments rank right up there with other, more well-known American commanders, such as Admiral Chester Nimitz and General George C. Marshall. But, as history is oftentimes fickle, his role has become obscure. Perhaps his greatest achievement is the Marine Corps that we have today. Thanks to author Ulbrich, Thomas Holcomb has been restored to his place in the pantheon of American Heroes.