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FriarChuck

Help Needed - Raider Grandfather's USMC Expeditionary Ribbon Mystery

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Greetings,

 

 

This is my first post since becoming a member and I can think of no better way to start then by asking for help from the collective knowledge of the forum. Meet my personal hero and grandfather, Cpl Charles Stockwell Scholfield. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 19, 1941 and was honorably discharged on Novemeber 28, 1945. He served initially with the 2nd Raider Battalion under Lt Col Carlson where he potentially participated in the Makin Raid and definitively participated in the "Long Patrol" on Guadalcanal. He was then reassigned (after some discipline and medical issues) to the newly formed 4th Marine Division and went on to serve with them in every campaign they participated in during the Second World War (Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima). He then returned home to Wausau, Wisconsin, married the girl he had met during basic in San Diego and sold insurance. Unfortunately, my Grandfather passed away when I was 1, which means I never was able to speak to him about his experience in the Pacific and like many veterans he never spoke much with his wife or children either about his time in the Corps. However, I have been lucky enough to learn a great deal about his service through the artifacts I have been blessed enough to receive from my family (dress greens, medals, scrapbook, captured Japanese flag, etc) and research that I have conducted but a couple of those items have left me with more questions. The biggest question revolves around a couple Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal ribbons in his box of medals and a wartime photo of my Grandfather wearing one.

 

 

Why did my Grandfather have this ribbon? Per Marine Corps records he should not since it was only officially awarded one time during World War II to the defenders of Wake Island. Also, he stopped wearing it at some point since it is not on his postwar wedding photos. Yet I have evidence that he was not the only World War II Marine to have this mysterious. One of my Grandfather’s fellow Raiders was Cpl Mitchell Red Cloud, who would go on to earn the Medal of Honor as a member of the Army in Korea. The most common picture of him online shows him in his Marine Dress Greens with what appears to be the Expeditionary Ribbon. I discovered the Cpl Red Cloud connection because he and my Grandfather were both convicted and sentenced to a bad conduct discharge on 5 January 1943 (my grandfather’s charge was illegal possession of government property) and returned to the U.S. aboard the U.S.S Bellatrix. Both of their charges were later remitted and both served out the remainder of the war. Somehow, Red Cloud was awarded the good conduct medal and his courts martial does not appear in online biographies. I have attached the prison transport order signed by Colonel Carlson below. Searching thru this forum, I discovered the extensive collection of another Guadalcanal marine who also has the ribbon but does not display it with his other ribbons on his later war uniform. My theory is that maybe Marines were awarded this ribbon for early battles like the Makin Raid or Guadalcanal and then these awards were rescinded once the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was created?

 

 

Also, I said potentially participated in the Makin Raid because my Grandfather’s records are not clear one way or the other. He is listed on the unit muster rolls as being attached to the Second Raider’s Hq battalion and some enlisted members of the Hq unit participated in the raid. I have a really cool box that my Nana gave to my Grandfather right after the war (potentially as a wedding gift with a map of the pacific and all of his battles listed including Makin and the scrap book she made for him is full of Makin articles but I don’t know whether that was just my Nana inferring he was there as a Raider and my Grandfather never correcting her. I was hoping to find a definitive lists of the raids participants to answer the question and thought this forum might have some suggestions.

I have posted a the picture of my Grandfather wearing the ribbon, the ribbon and his other medals and ribbon bars, his uniform with ribbons (I added the when we rediscovered Grandpas medals, hence the USMC Expeditionary Medal's inclusion), and a post war photo from his wedding day where he is not wearing the ribbon. I have also included the above mentioned prison transport order and internet picture of Mitchell Red Cloud.

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Also, in searching this forum I discover this post about another Guadalcanal and 1st Raider Battalion vet whose items include a Expeditionary Medal Ribbon as well. The ribbon however does not appear on the Marine's ribbon rack displayed on his uniform, just loose in the shadow box. I hope its ok that I took an image from someone else's (flyingtigerfan) post. Link to that post provided: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/284507-extensive-usmc-guadalcanal-diary-grouping-wia/

 

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There was an apparently enough of a widespread problem with people wearing unearned or unauthorized ribbons in the USN/USMC during WWII, that the USN issued a directive during WWII asking commanding officers to look into ensuring men only wore the official ribbons they qualified for. Apparently some were trying to wear unofficial and unauthorized ribbons as well.

 

The Expeditionary medal was one that was singled out, because men were wearing it apparently (erroneously) thinking they qualified for service connected to Iceland in 1941. So it could be that he had the ribbon because he erroneously thought he was supposed to have it.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Interesting post about Red Cloud . Our youngest daughter lives in LaCrosse WI in the old LaCrosse boot and shoe factory which has been converted into residential apartments and businesses. Two blocks away is the Red Cloud Park which has his MOH citation from Korea on a plaque once you enter the park; little did I know he was a Makin Raider. Thanks for posting the information and the details about your relative.

Kurt


My hobby is my job and my job is my hobby. High School and University History Instructor

 

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Hello,

 

Have you requested his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from the National Personnel Record Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO? There are some professional researchers here on the forum who can help you retrieve these records. I concur with RustyCanteen that these early Marines and sailors often wore ribbons, especially the Expeditionary Ribbon, in error. You already noticed that most of these Marines no longer wore these ribbons as WWII progressed. Good luck with your research.

 

Semper Fi,

Bruce Linz


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Hello:

 

Possibly I can shed some light on the questions you have. I am one of the Historians for the US Marine Raider Association. According to the Raider records I DO NOT see that your grandfather participated in the Makin Raid. I see that he was assigned to Co A in July of 1942. Cos A & B with a few HQs Raiders participated in the Makin Raid in August 1942. It shows that after the raid he remained with Co. A for the Long Patrol on Guadalcanal. Your grandfather was not listed as one of the Raiders on record who embarked the submarines USS Argonaut or the USS Nautilus. It is highly unlikely you will ever be able to determine the exact reason he was not there. There was much confusion before, during and after the Makin Raid and debates raged for decades of what actually occurred. I see that he remained with the 2nd Bn until July of 1943 when he was returned to San Diego Naval Hospital I assume for sickness whereas he was reassigned to the 4th Div. in October 1943. With that being said he should request his OMPF from St Louis and then try to read between the lines. Raider records can be difficult to understand especially if they remained with any of the Bns after 1st MAC came on board in 1943. I had great aunts and uncles who thought my grandfather was on the Makin Raid and he was an original 1st Raider. Obviously they did not know the 1st Raiders didnt participate in Makin and at the time were fighting on Tulagi. They connected the name Raiders with the fame of the 2nd and assumed it was him. However, they pointed me in the right direction when I was 7. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me

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Thank you all for your replies. I used the Golden Arrow research company to get a copy of his OMPF and while fascinating it created more questions than it answered. It lacked any mention of Makin Raid participation but it also lacked info about his service on Guadalcanal, other than a citation from General Vandegrift to the 2d Raider Battalion for Carlson's Guadalcanal "Long Patrol". Since the Marine Corps annotated most campaign participation in Marine service books with little stripes of paper, I posited that something might have been lost. I also know that military records are often missing items and campaign credit and medal entitlement is often updated long after the actual events (based on issues I've had with my own military service file). I figured the Marine Corps Expeditionary Ribbon had been awarded erroneously or had later been rescinded. I was just hoping to figure out what action might have led to him wearing it initially.

 

To SCD81: Thank you so much for reaching out. Since my attempts with the official Marine Corps historian and authors of books on the Raiders had come up short the Raiders Association was going to be my next stop. My Grandfather was a member and at one point that membership was passed to my Dad or me by my Grandma. I remember getting your newsletter, The Raider's Patch, as a kid. We let the membership slide a while ago though I've been meaning to reapply. I was hoping you might have a list of who embarked on the two submarines, because other sources did not. I have the muster rolls from July and August which show that my Grandfather was transferred from Lt Plumley's Co A to the HQ company at the end of July. I knew a couple enlisted members from the HQ company accompanied Carlson and the other officers on the Raid but since his name is not listed among those on the submarines, I believe that this family legend is likely just that. The only other possibility is his name being confused with Cpl Adrian Schofield (but i have no idea if that Schofield is listed as a participant either and I highly doubt such a confusion would be likely). More than likely my Grandmother just assumed his participation and since he didn't like talking about the war he never corrected her.

 

I would love to speak with you about this and other parts of my Grandpa's record further if you are willing and would love to get a copy of the submarine embarkation lists. Thanks again for your help.

 

I've also attached the wedding photo I forgot to attach earlier and pictures of the memento box my Grandma made him detailing his travels with the Marines (including the probably apocryphal visit to Makin). It's my favorite piece of from him.

 

 

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Proper Photos of the box. The site would not let me delete the small picture I uploaded by mistake. Cheers.

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