The Marine Corps lost one of its greats on 21 June 2005 with the death of General Louis H. Wilson, the 26th Commandant. He was impressive in many ways, including that measure of leadership called command presence. Only three other commandants merited the wearing of the light blue, whitestarred ribbon of the Medal of Honor—Neville for Vera Cruz, Vandegrift for Guadalcanal, and Shoup for Tarawa. Wilson had his for Guam.
He had received his baptism of fire earlier at Bougainville in the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert E. Cushman. At Guam, Cushman's battalion was ordered to take Fonte hill, high ground dominating the 3d Marine Division beachhead at Asan. The attack began on 25 July 1944. Captain Wilson's Company F took its portion of the ridgeline, then dug in for the night. When morning came, after fighting off seven separate counterattacks, Wilson, three times wounded, led a patrol forward to consolidate his company position. He was hospitalized until October. The residual effects, particularly in his lungs, plagued him for the rest of his life.