Merritt Red Mike Edson Born

April 25, 1897 in Marine Corps History
Merritt Red Mike Edson Born
Posted on 4/25/2022

On April 25, 1897, future Medal of Honor recipient Merritt "Red Mike" Edson was born in Chester, Vermont.

In October 1917, Edson received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and served in France and Germany during World War I. Following the war, Edson held several positions before going to flight school in 1922. After graduating flight school and being designated a Naval Aviator, he performed several assignments in Central America and China.

When World War II broke out, Edson was assigned as the Commanding officer of the Marine Raiders. While commanding Marine Raiders on Guadalcanal, Edson earned the Medal of Honor for the defense of Lunga Ridge on September 13-14, 1942. During the battle, Edson's Raider Battalion, along with two companies of the 1st Parachute Battalion, were assigned to defend Lunga Ridge, a short distance south of Henderson Field in what was supposed to be a relatively uneventful mission.

On the first evening of the mission, 2,500 Japanese forces unexpectedly attacked Edson and the approximately 800 Marines under his command. Edson and his Marines withstood repeated assaults by the Japanese, despite sustaining 256 casualties. After the battle, Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his, "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty..."

Edson retired from the Marine Corps in 1947, after being promoted to the rank of Major General. Following his time in the Corps, Edson became the first Commissioner of the Vermont State Police before later serving as the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Edson also earned two Navy Crosses, the Silver Star, and two Legions of Merit during his time in the Corps.

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