10 September 2010

The Marines' Missing Commandant

The fascinating story of Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Anthony Gale is told over at the Marine Corps Association website. An excerpt...

To save money, the government temporarily abolished the Marine Corps after the Revolution. When President John Adams authorized the formation of the Marine Corps on 11 Jury 1798, Gale was among the first to apply for a commission as a second lieutenant, which he received on 2 Sept. 1798.

He was first assigned recruiting duty in Philadelphia where he also was responsible for guarding prisoners of the quasi-war with France.

Gale's first sea-duty assignment was on the 24-gun frigate Ganges. He thrived as a seagoing officer. In quick succession, he directed his Marine Detachment in forays against the Barbary pirates and the British.

But when Navy Lieutenant Allan MacKensie relieved one of Gale's Marine sentries and placed him in irons, Gale's Irish temper exploded. Gale reportedly called MacKensie a "rascal" and struck him across the face. The hapless Navy officer accepted a duel, thus sealing his fate.

Gale killed MacKensie in the duel and forwarded a report to Commandant William Ward Burrows. In a letter to another Marine officer, Lieutenant Colonel Burrows suggested Gale's action would cause Navy officers to treat Marines and their officers "with some respect."

There's more. Go read. We'll wait :)

By: Brant

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