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Samuel B. Griffith
May 31, 1906(1906-05-31) – March 27, 1983 (aged 76)
Samuel B. Griffith II.jpg
Samuel B. Griffith
Place of birth Lewiston, Pennsylvania
Place of death Newport, Rhode Island
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1929 – 1956
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held 1st Raider Battalion
3rd Marine Regiment
U.S. Marine Forces, Tsingtao
Battles/wars Banana Wars
*Occupation of Nicaragua
World War II
*Guadalcanal campaign
*Battle of New Georgia
Awards Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart

Brigidier General Samuel B. Griffith (May 31, 1906 - March 27, 1983), was an officer and commander in the United States Marine Corps. Griffith entered the Marines in 1929 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. He served in and commanded Marine units in the Pacific theater of World War II and retired from service in 1956. After his retirement, Griffith authored several books and numerous articles on military history and lectured widely. He died on March 27, 1983 in Rhode Island.


Early life through World War II

Griffith was born May 31, 1906, in Lewiston, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, he accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Prior to World War II, he took part in the Second Nicaraguan Campaign, and served in China, Cuba, and England. During his first tour of duty in China, he was a language officer at the American Embassy in Nanking.

During World War II, following a period observing British commando training in England and Scotland, he returned to the 1st Marine Division and served as executive officer and later commander of the 1st Marine Raiders Battalion on Guadalcanal, and executive officer of the 1st Raider Regiment in operations on New Georgia. He earned the Navy Cross on Guadalcanal in September 1942 for “extreme heroism and courageous devotion to duty” during the fighting near the Matanikau River. During this action, Griffith suffered wounds for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. For his exploits in July in New Georgia, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[1]

Post-war career

After participating in the post-World War II occupation of North China, where he commanded the 3rd Marine Regiment and later the U.S. Marine Forces in Qingdao, he was a student and then a faculty member at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport from 1947 to 1950. From 1951 to 1952, he was Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, and from 1953 to 1956, General Griffith was on the staff of the U.S. Commander in Chief, Europe. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1956, after completing more than 25 years of active service.[1]

Post-retirement career

Following his retirement, General Griffith entered Oxford University (New College) and was awarded his D.Phil. in Chinese Military History in 1961. With an interest in China and the Chinese language dating back to pre-World War II days, he translated Mao Zedong’s On Guerrilla War in 1961 and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in 1963. He also wrote the definitive The Battle for Guadalcanal, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and, his last major work, In Defense of the Public Liberty, a book concerned with the Revolutionary War. He was a Research Fellow, China Study, at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Institute for Defense Studies in London. General Griffith published widely in such journals as The New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Town and Country (magazine), Marine Corps Gazette, and Foreign Affairs. He has also lectured widely at such establishments as the Armed Forces Staff College, United States Military Academy, Foreign Policy Association, and Marine Corps Schools. General Griffith was a life member of the 1st Marine Raider Association and the 1st Marine Division Association. He died "unexpectedly" on March 27, 1983 in Newport, Rhode Island.[1]

See also


  • Mao Tse-tung on Guerilla Warfare. Praeger Publishers. 1963. ASIN: B000BWCGJ0. 
  • Sun Tzu: The Art of War. Oxford University Press. 1963. ASIN: B000PT0BGY. 
  • The Battle for Guadalcanal. Champaign, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press. 1963. ISBN 0-252-06891-2. 
  • History of the Second Wold War. Hicksville, NY, USA: BPC Publishing. 1974. 




  1. ^ a b c History Division, USMC


  • Alexander, Joseph H. (2000). Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-020-7. 
  • Frank, Richard (1990). Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-58875-4. 
  • Smith, Michael T. (2000). Bloody Ridge: The Battle That Saved Guadalcanal. New York: Pocket. ISBN 0-7434-6321-8. 



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