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Rathvon M. Tompkins

Major General Rathvon McClure Tompkins (August 23, 1912 – September 17, 1999) was a United States Marine Corps general who received decorations for his gallantry in combat during World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.[1] He was born in Boulder, Colorado, the son of Anne Cochran Rathvon (1887–1924) and Howard Richard Kelsey Tompkins (1882–1945). His father served in the 89th Division during World War I, commanding a battery of field artillery and rising to the rank of major. Rathvon Tompkins was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the Battle of Saipan and the Silver Star for actions during the Battle of Tarawa.[2]

Rathvon McClure Tompkins
Born (1912-08-23)August 23, 1912
Boulder, Colorado
Died September 17, 1999(1999-09-17) (aged 87)
Lexington, South Carolina
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1939–1971
Rank Major General
Commands held 3rd Marine Division
MCRD Parris Island
5th Marines
1st Battalion 29th Marines

World War II

Korean War
Vietnam War

Awards Navy Cross
Silver Star
Bronze Star Medal



Tompkins was born in Boulder, Colorado,[3] on August 23, 1912. He dedicated more than 32 years of service to the Marine Corps.[4]

Tompkins served in the Pacific during World War II. He was the commanding officer of a battalion that fought on the island of Saipan in the Marianas.[5] He received the Navy Cross for an act of gallantry on Saipan on 17 June 1944.[2][3] He also obtained a Silver Star at Tarawa and a Bronze Star Medal at Guadalcanal.[4][6][7]

Tompkins participated in the 1965 U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic.[8] In June 1966 he was put in command of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island.[4]

He was also active during the Korean War, commanding the 5th Marines of the 1st Marine Division.[4]

In 1967 Tompkins was stationed in South Vietnam, in command of the 3rd Marine Division. His division participated in the Battle of Khe Sanh.[2]


Tompkins served as base commander of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina for two years. He then retired from active duty in 1971.

He died on 17 September 1999 in Lexington, South Carolina, following a stroke.



  • Tompkins, Rathvon M. Ubique. Marine Corps Gazette 49, no. 9 (Sept. 1965): 32–39.


  1. ^ a b c "Rathvon McClure Tompkins". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Operations Medina, Bastion Hill, Lam Son 138, Operation Fremont, Operation Kentucky, Operation Ardmore, Operation Scotland, Operation Napoleon, Operation Neosho". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Rathvon McClure Tompkins,Major General, United States Marine Corps". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Major Carl W. Hoffman, USMC (1954). "Saipan: The Beginning of the End". USMC Historical Monograph. Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Appendix E: Marine Corps Station List". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "History of the Sixth Marine Division". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Ringler, Jack K.; Shaw, Henry I. "U.S. Marine Corps Operations in the Dominican Republic, April–June 1965". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.