Friday, February 17, 2012

Henry L. Hulbert

Henry Lewis Hulbert (January 12, 1867-October 4, 1918) was a United States Marine who served during the Second Samoan Civil War and World War I. As a private, he received the Medal of Honor for distinguished service in Samoa on April 1, 1899.

Hulbert was buried in Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in Section 3 Lot 4309.

Henry Lewis Hulbert was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England on January 12, 1867. He was the first born into a prosperous family. He attended Felsted School in Essex, and entered the British Colonial Civil Service, with his first appointment in Malaya. While in Malaya, he married Anne Rose Hewitt. A subsequent personal scandal and divorce resulted in Hulbert leaving Malaysia and arriving in the United States.

At age 31, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 28, 1898. He completed his boot camp training at Mare Island, California. His first military action was the British and American expedition of intervention in Samoa. He was part of a 200 man force of Americans, Britons and Samoans which was defeated at the First Battle of Vailele in 1899 during the Second Samoan Civil War. After the battle the soldierly qualities of Hulbert are best illustrated by the following quotation from a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy dated May 22, 1899:

"The gallantry of Private Henry L. Hulbert, who remained behind at the fence till the last and who was with Lansdale and Monaghan when they were killed, I desire especially to mention."

For this gallantry he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

By the time the United States entered World War I, in 1917, Hulbert had reached the highest enlisted rank of sergeant major and was on the staff of Major General George Barnett, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Immediately prior to the U.S. entry of World War I, Hulbert was appointed a Marine Gunner (believed to be the first)[ with the Fifth Regiment on March 27, 1917. He was some five months over the 50 years prescribed in the Annual Report by the Secretary of the Navy (1917):

"Also, the provision that in making the temporary appointments as ensigns the maximum age limit shall be 50 years for commissioned warrant offices and warrant officers has prevented such appointments in the cases of a number of very deserving officers of those classes, and it is hoped that this restriction will be removed."

Upon the formation of the Fifth Regiment for service in France, Hulbert immediately volunteered for foreign service and the character of his service with the American Expeditionary Forces is best indicated by the following extracts from the endorsements of his commanding officers recommending him for promotion to commissioned rank:

Commanding officer, Sixty-sixth Company: "I can not too strongly support Gunner Hulbert's request...If the young lieutenants recently appointed had half of Mr. Hulbert's energy, professional knowledge, physical ability, or manner of handling men under him, the arduous duties which now devolve upon the average company commander would be materially simplified."

Battalion commander, First Battalion, Fifth Regiment: "Gunner Hulbert has proven conclusively, while attached to this battalion, that he is physically and professionally qualified to perform the duties of a commissioned officer. Nervously active, ambitious, zealous, always ready to help with valuable advice and original ideas, he is undoubtedly one of the most efficient officers in the service to-day."

Adjutant, First Battalion, Fifth Regiment: "As a young officer new to the service, I wish to state that Mr. Hulbert has helped me a great deal...I served in the same company with Mr. Hulbert and will not hesitate to say that he can hold his own with the younger officers from a physical standpoint...If the Fifth Regiment ever goes over the top I want to go over with Mr. Hulbert."

Regimental commander: "Marine Gunner Hulbert, United States Marine Corps, has given excellent service since I assumed command of this regiment. His energy, ability, and length of service merits his promotion to the rank of second lieutenant."

Hulbert was recognized for multiple acts of bravery during the Battle of Belleau Wood. For one such action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was recommended by General John J. Pershing for immediate commission as a Captain.

He distinguished himself at Soisson, was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and received an immediate promotion to First Lieutenant. He was killed in action at Mont Blanc Ridge in France on October 4, 1918. At the time of his death, his promotion to Captain had been approved by the Secretary of the Navy. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre Order of the Army.

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