Born to Quaker parents he broke with his family traditions and joined the military just before he turned In the aftermath of the Great War, Butler began a nationwide lecture opposing the growth of militarism in the US. His parents were Thomas and Maud Butler. While Butler was at Haverford his father was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he served until his death in While a gifted student and athlete, Butler chose to leave Haverford in to take part in the Spanish American War.
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Both of his parents were of entirely English ancestry , all of whom had been in what is now the United States since the 17th century. Nevertheless, Haverford awarded him his high school diploma on June 6, , before the end of his final year.
His transcript stated that he completed the scientific course "with Credit". He once became drunk and was temporarily relieved of command after an unspecified incident in his room. In the initial moments of the assault his first sergeant was wounded. Butler briefly panicked, but quickly regained his composure and led his Marines in pursuit of the fleeing enemy.
One Marine had been killed and ten were wounded. Another 50 Marines had been incapacitated by the humid tropical heat. Butler had a very large Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tattoo made which started at his throat and extended to his waist. He also met Littleton Waller , a fellow Marine with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. When Waller received command of a company in Guam , he was allowed to select five officers to take with him.
He chose Butler. Once in China, Butler was initially deployed at Tientsin. He took part in the Battle of Tientsin on July 13, , and in the subsequent Gaselee Expedition , during which he saw the mutilated remains of Japanese soldiers.
When he saw another Marine officer fall wounded, he climbed out of a trench to rescue him. Butler was then himself shot in the thigh. Another Marine helped him get to safety, but also was shot. Despite his leg wound, Butler assisted the wounded officer to the rear.
Four enlisted men would receive the Medal of Honor in the battle. Littleton W. Waller, personally commended him and wrote that "for such reward as you may deem proper the following officers: Lieutenant Smedley D.
Butler, for the admirable control of his men in all the fights of the week, for saving a wounded man at the risk of his own life, and under a very severe fire.
This company had significant financial stakes in the production of bananas, tobacco, sugar cane and other products throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the northern portions of South America. The U. These interventions started with the Spanish—American War in and ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti and President Franklin D.
Consulate there. In a letter home, he described the action: they were "prepared to land and shoot everybody and everything that was breaking the peace",  but instead found a quiet town. The Marines re-boarded the Panther and continued up the coast line, looking for rebels at several towns, but found none. When they arrived at Trujillo , however, they heard gunfire, and came upon a battle in progress that had been waged for 55 hours between rebels called Bonillista and Honduran government soldiers at a local fort.
At the sight of the Marines, the fighting ceased and Butler led a detachment of Marines to the American consulate, where he found the consul, wrapped in an American flag, hiding among the floor beams. As soon as the Marines left the area with the shaken consul, the battle resumed and the Bonillistas soon controlled the government.
It was attributed to his feverish, bloodshot eyes—he was suffering from some unnamed tropical fever at the time—that enhanced his penetrating and bellicose stare. Littleton Waller. John Wehle , and two sons, Smedley Darlington Jr. In he was diagnosed as having a nervous breakdown and received nine months sick leave, which he spent at home. He successfully managed a coal mine in West Virginia , but returned to active duty in the Marine Corps at the first opportunity.
With a degree fever he led his battalion to the relief of a rebel-besieged city, Granada. On August 11, , he was temporarily detached to command an expeditionary battalion he led in the Battle of Masaya on September 19, , and the bombardment, assault and capture of Coyotepe Hill , Nicaragua, in October Front row, left to right: Wendell C. Neville ; John A. Lejeune ; Littleton W. Waller, Commanding; Smedley Butler Butler and his family were living in Panama in January when he was ordered to report as the Marine officer of a battleship squadron massing off the coast of Mexico, near Veracruz , to monitor a revolutionary movement.
He did not like leaving his family and the home they had established in Panama and intended to request orders home as soon as he determined he was not needed. Frank J. Fletcher not to be confused with his uncle, who was then Rear Adm. Frank F. Fletcher "went ashore at Veracruz, where they met the American superintendent of the Inter-Oceanic Railway and surreptitiously rode in his private car [a railway car] up the line 75 miles to Jalapa and back".
It was a spy mission and Butler was enthusiastic to get started. When Adm. Fletcher explained the plan to the commanders in Washington, DC, they agreed to it. Butler was given the go-ahead. He made his way to the U. Consulate in Mexico City , posing as a railroad official named "Mr. March 5. As I was reading last night, waiting for dinner to be served, a visitant, rather than a visitor, appeared in my drawing-room incognito — a simple "Mr.
Johnson," eager, intrepid, dynamic, efficient, unshaven! The ruse gave Butler access to various areas of the city. In the process of the so-called search, they located weapons in use by the Mexican army and determined the size of units and states of readiness. They updated maps and verified the railroad lines for use in an impending US invasion. The invasion plan was eventually scrapped when authorities loyal to Mexican Gen.
Victoriano Huerta detained a small American naval landing party that had gone ashore to buy gasoline in Tampico, Mexico , which led to what became known as the Tampico Affair.
By April 26 the landing force of 5, Marines and sailors secured the city, which they held for the next six months. By the end of the conflict the Americans reported 17 dead and 63 wounded and the Mexican forces had dead and wounded. After the actions at Veracruz, the US decided to minimize the bloodshed and changed their plans from a full invasion of Mexico to simply maintaining the city of Veracruz. Major Butler was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22d and in the final occupation of the city.
The army presented one, nine went to Marines and 46 were bestowed upon naval personnel. During World War I Butler, then a major , attempted to return his medal, explaining he had done nothing to deserve it.
The medal was returned to him with orders to keep it and to wear it as well. Butler and a group of Marines on board. Surrounded by Cacos, the Marines maintained their perimeter throughout the night.
The next morning they charged the much larger enemy force by breaking out in three directions. The startled Haitians fled. At their temporary headquarters base at Le Trou they fought off an attack by about Cacos. They encircled the fort and gradually closed in on it. Butler reached the fort from the southern side with the 15th Company and found a small opening in the wall. The Marines entered through the opening and engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat.
Butler and the Marines took the rebel stronghold on November 17, an action for which he received his second Medal of Honor, as well as the Haitian Medal of Honor. Only one Marine was injured in the assault; he was struck by a rock and lost two teeth.
Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of Marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits.
Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Major Butler gave the signal to attack and Marines from the 15th Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed the Caco resistance. Throughout this perilous action, Major Butler was conspicuous for his bravery and forceful leadership.
Under his supervision social order, administered by the dictatorship, was largely restored and many vital public works projects were successfully completed. From left to right: Sgt. John H. Quick , Maj. Wendell Cushing Neville , Lt. He made several requests for a posting in France, writing letters to his personal friend, Wendell Cushing Neville. The camp had been unsanitary, overcrowded and disorganized.
She later described how Butler tackled the sanitation problems. He began by solving the problem of mud: "[T]he ground under the tents was nothing but mud, [so] he had raided the wharf at Brest of the duckboards no longer needed for the trenches, carted the first one himself up that four-mile hill to the camp, and thus provided something in the way of protection for the men to sleep on.
John J. Pershing authorized a duckboard shoulder patch for the units. This earned Butler another nickname, "Old Duckboard.
Brigadier General Butler commanded with ability and energy Pontanezen Camp at Brest during the time in which it has developed into the largest embarkation camp in the world. Confronted with problems of extraordinary magnitude in supervising the reception, entertainment and departure of the large numbers of officers and soldiers passing through this camp, he has solved all with conspicuous success, performing services of the highest character for the American Expeditionary Forces.
He commanded with ability and energy Camp Pontanezen at Brest during the time in which it has developed into the largest embarkation camp in the world.
Confronted with problems of extraordinary magnitude in supervising the reception, entertainment and departure of large numbers of officers and soldiers passing through the camp, he has solved all with conspicuous success, performing services of the highest character for the American Expeditionary Forces.
At Quantico he transformed the wartime training camp into a permanent Marine post.
“War is a racket. It always has been,” Smedley Butler
How to smash this racket! To hell with war! It contains this summary: " War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.
Both of his parents were of entirely English ancestry , all of whom had been in what is now the United States since the 17th century. Nevertheless, Haverford awarded him his high school diploma on June 6, , before the end of his final year. His transcript stated that he completed the scientific course "with Credit". He once became drunk and was temporarily relieved of command after an unspecified incident in his room. In the initial moments of the assault his first sergeant was wounded.