Once a Legend: 'Red Mike' Edson of the Marine Raiders

Once a Legend: 'Red Mike' Edson of the Marine Raiders

Once a Legend: 'Red Mike' Edson of the Marine Raiders

Once a Legend: 'Red Mike' Edson of the Marine Raiders

Synopsis

Edson became one of the most versatile & respected Marines of his time: he was among the best combat leaders & most effective staff officers, an expert tactician, & also an artilleryman, a naval aviator, & a preeminent combat marksman. Hoffman tells all this with candor ... This thorough & readable biography covers not only Edson's career but also the evolution of the Marine Corps over thirty crucial years."--Naval War College Review. "Edson was one of the true giants of the Marine Corps. He has long deserved a well-written, well-researched biography. Jon Hoffman has provided just that."--Leatherneck Magazine.

Excerpt

He didn't fit the Hollywood image of a Marine. But few of the great men of the Corps that I've observed in war or peace have either. Short and wiry, of strong Vermont stock, he weighed only 140 pounds when in fighting trim; however, Merritt Edson had the heart of a giant. From his courage on the battlefield, highlighted by the incredible defense of "Edson's Ridge" on Guadalcanal (for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor), to his courage in dealing with the unsavory politics of the Pentagon and Capitol Hill, Edson became a legend in the Corps.

Edson intuitively know how to fight--a rare trait among many so-called warriors. He also knew that it took more to win than individual Marine valor and spirit, something a small, insular pre-World War II Marine Corps had difficulty understanding when catapulted into the Pacific campaign against the Japanese. For example, he argued, often successfully, for improved combat tactics and weapons. He also recognized that the outdated logistical system of the Corps was not adequate for the modern battlefield. Edson challenged the archaic supply system that was adversely affecting the way Marines were supported in combat. Perhaps the well-functioning logistical apparatus we enjoyed in Desert Storm can be traced to General Edson's haranguing of the supply department to introduce more modern and efficient means of providing Marines what they needed on the grim killing fields of the Pacific atolls.

More important to the nation and the Corps than the physical courage General Edson displayed in combat was the moral courage that enabled him to speak out against the demise of the Marine Corps in the post-war unification drives led by the U.S. Army and its supporters. Hell-bent to . . .

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