Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brute Passes On

Lt. Gen. Victor "Brute" Krulak died Monday at the Wesley Palms Retirement Community in San Diego, he was a decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War and a Marine legend, he was 95.

During World War II on the island of Choiseul, Krulak led his outnumbered battalion during an eight-day raid on Japanese forces, diverting the enemy’s attention from the U.S. invasion of Bougainville. Krulak’s troops destroyed hundreds of tons of supplies, burning both camps and landing barges. He was wounded on Oct. 13, 1943, and later received the Navy Cross for heroism along with the Purple Heart.

At age 43 he became the youngest brigadier general in Marine Corps history up to that time. Krulak later commanded about 100,000 Marines in the Pacific from 1964 to 1968 — a span that saw the United States dramatically increase buildup in Vietnam. Before assuming command of Fleet Marine Force Pacific, he served as principal adviser on counterinsurgency warfare to then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the joint chiefs of staff.

After retirement, he often criticized the government’s handling of the Vietnam War. He wrote that the war could have been won only if the Vietnamese had been protected and befriended and if enemy supplies from North Vietnam were cut off. Krulak once summed up the U.S. dilemma in Vietnam by saying, “It has no front lines. The battlefield is in the minds of 16 or 17 million people.”

Following retirement, he worked for Copley Newspapers, serving at various times as director of editorial and news policy and news media president of Copley News Service. He retired as vice president of The Copley Press Inc. in 1977 and contributed columns on international affairs and military matters for Copley News Service. He also wrote the book First to Fight, an insider’s view of the Marine Corps.

His son General Charles Krulak served as commandant of the Marine Cops from 1995 to 1999.

Source AP

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