Naval War College Review


Donald Chisholm


Oliver Prince Smith was not present at Belleau Wood or Chateau Thierry. Nei- ther did he chase Sandino in Nicaragua. He never served in Shanghai with the 4th Marines. He missed the fighting on Guadalcanal and Tarawa—early 1941 saw him with the 1st Marine Brigade in Ice- land, returning to the United States in\ May 1942 for an eighteen-month stint in the newly formed headquarters Division of Plans and Policies. Consequently, Smith’s first taste of combat did not\ come until early 1944—fully twenty- seven years after commissioning—at New Britain, where he served initially as chief of staff for the 1st Marine Division and shortly as commander, 5th Marines, for the Talasea Peninsula assault. Subse- quently, at Peleliu he had the distinct misfortune to serve as assistant com- mander of the 1st Marine Division under Major General William H. Rupertus.