The U.S. Marine Corps had a significant presence in Nicaragua starting in 1912. Marines continued to serve there into the 1940s with large numbers in garrison and in various combat actions in the 1920s & 1930s.
Often a group of medals of a Marine will turn up containing a decoration awarded them by the Nicaraguan government. This is one such group. In most cases that I have seen the circumstances behind the award have been lost to history. In this case we know exactly why First Lieutenant Horace D. Palmer received his medal as we have the original diploma signed by President Moncada in 1932. We also have the English translation.
Lt. Palmer entered the USMC in 1918 from Ohio to train as an aviator. He had held a commission as an infantry officer in the Ohio National Guard. He did not complete flight training training until 1919 and became Naval Aviator 2864. He stayed in the Corps and was soon assigned to flying duties in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
In 1923 he participated in a long-distance endurance flight which became the longest flight in U.S. aviation history and the second longest flight to date in world aviation history. He and a companion pilot and two mechanics flew two DH-4B bi-planes from Haiti to San Francisco and back to Haiti which took two and a half months and covered 10,953 miles with actual flying time of 127 hours, 15 minutes,.
Lt Palmer eventually was assigned to Quantico where captained the Marine Corps football team for several seasons, He had been a stand-out player at the University of Ohio,
He was reassigned to Nicaragua in 1930 and commanded a squadron there and was cited by the government particularly for his work during the earthquake in Managua in 1931.
"Hoke" Palmer, as he was known, retired from the Marine Corps in 1936 as a First Lt. During his 18 years in the Corps he flew 61 different aircraft and models logging 3,162 hours as a pilot. He died in Ohio in 1972.
He received the WWI Victory medal, the USMC Expeditionary medal and the Second Nicaraguan Campaign medal.
Semper Fi ! Bobgee