Career Synopsis

Colonel Richard Rothwell

Entered USMC upon graduation from the US Naval Academy in 1936 Retired as a Colonel June 30,1961 Commanded infantry units at the platoon, company, battalion and regimental levels Graduate of Marine Corps School Senior Courses, MCS Amphibious Warfare School, US Army Infantry School. Ft. Benning, GA.(Company Officers Course WWII) and Army War College, Carlyle, PA.

Following graduation from the US Naval Academy (June 1936) went directly to active duty after a short leave. First assignment was as a guard officer at the Marine Barracks, Naval Yard, Washington, D. C. with additional duty as Officer in Charge of three out-lying Marine detachments located at the Naval Hospital, Washington, D. C., Naval Radio Station, Arlington and the Naval Torpedo Factory in Alexandria.

In 1936, the Marine Corps Officer Basic School, then located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard could not accommodate the planned student input. To alleviate this situation new officers from the USIVA, VMI, VPI, The Citadel and Texas A&M were sent directly into active duty. There they took the same classroom work via correspondence and in mid-1937 attended a short course at Philadelphia followed by a period of field training at NG lndiantown Gap Training Area.

Pre WWll Service included two tours in China: first with the 6th Marine Regiment as a rifle platoon leader (1937-1938) and the second tour as a rifle-company commander, CO. "F" Co. 4th Marine Regt (1940-41) Both of these tours involved the defense of the American Sector of the International Settlement, Shanghai -protection of the lives, property and interests of American citizens. All this was incident to the Japanese invasion of China with the WWll type fighting in the adjacent Shanghai then known as Honkew and Chapei .

Between China tours had duty in the Philippines (1939, 1940), first as a guard officer, Naval Station, Cavite fop a few months. Upon being promoted to 1st Lt. transferred to Marine Barracks (MB) Naval Station (Nav Sta), Olongopo to serve as Marine Barracks Post Quartermaster.

The Naval Station upon which the MB was located, also was the site of the Dry Dock Dewey. All including the town of Olongopo (located nearby the Station) were contained in the vast Naval Reservation administered by the Naval Station.

Son, Richard Bowlby Rothwell, was born at Olongopo in the Rothwell's quarters on the Naval Station.

The C.O. Marine Barracks had the responsibilities of: (1) guarding the Naval Station (2) guarding the Navy Mahogany Reserve contained in the large jungle area of the Naval Reservation from poachers (3) manning the AA. Defense on the Dry Dock Dewey in an emergency and (4) providing police protection to the town of Olongopo.

The M.B. Post Quartermaster had as additional duties; (1) Officer in Charge (O in C) policing the town of Olongopo., 0 in C Reservation Patrol ( Reservation Patrol Officer) and 0 in C AA Defense of Dry Dock Dewey.

In mid 1941 1st Lt. Rothwell was ordered to the 4th Marines Shanghai where he would become C.O. Co. “F” 2nd Bn; Lt. Col. D. Curtis was C.O. and Maj. L.B. (Chesty) Puller was X.O.

The second China tour (1940-4.1) included a temporary duty assignment with the Yangtze River Patrol aboard the River Gunboat Isabel. The mission was to contact missionary leaders and warn them to prepare to evacuate China via American shipping to be arriving in Shanghai early 1941. Mrs. Rothwell with infant Richard was evacuated to the States from Shanghai in Nov 1940, along with other American evacuees. The trip on the SS Monterey was a long circuitous route, via Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, and Honolulu to San Francisco, mainly to avoid the Japanese and German submarine menace.

During World War II after serving at Marine Corps Schools (1941-43) assigned to the Fourth Marine Division forming up in Camp Pendleton. Served with the 2nd Battalion 24th Marine Regiment from its activation to its post war de-activation. Initally served as XO 2nd Bn 24th Marines. In the meantime had been promoted to Lt Col. Made C.O. of 2/24 on Maui after the Roi-Namur operation. In the meantime, son Charles John Rothwell was born in San diego May 6, 1944.

On Iwo Jima, then Lt. Col. Rothwell was one of the five infantry battalion commanders landing with their battalion on D-Day to be with the battalion at battle end (eighteen started on D-Day)


  Post WWll duties included duty with the Navy ashore and afloat. First, as a Fleet Marine Officer Pacific Fleet and next with the Office of Chief of Naval Operations after graduating from the Army War College. Expected a short tour but spent almost three years as Head of Navy Plans Review Section (Strategic Plans Division). Then back to the West coast for duty with the 1st Marine Division, initially O in C Desert Exercise then Chief of Staff 1st Mar. Div. followed by assignment as commanding officer Fifth Marine Regiment. Exactly thirty years later, son, Col. Richard B. Rothwell, born in Olongopo in 1940, took command of that regiment -same office in Camp Pendleton. He retired from the USMC after 29 years service in 1990 -now lives in Escondido, CA. with his wife of 49 years, Ann. After Camp Pendleton went back to HQMC. Washington, D.C. and was assigned Assistant Inspector General of the Marine Corps (1958-59). Final duty was with the Staff, National Security Council on a special sub-committee reporting directly to the President. Retired June 30, 1961