You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Marine legend Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak dies

Jan. 2, 2009 - 06:14AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 2, 2009 - 06:14AM  |  
  • Filed Under

SAN DIEGO Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak, who headed all Marine forces in the Pacific during part of the Vietnam War, has died. He was 95.

  • Please enable JavaScript for your browser in order to use
Want to read more?
Current Subscribers
Access to Marine Corps Times Prime is free for current Marine Corps Times subscribers.
Log in
Haven't registered online?
Activate Account
New Subscribers
Start your subscription to Marine Corps Times Prime for as little as 59¢ a week!

SAN DIEGO Lt. Gen. Victor Krulak, who headed all Marine forces in the Pacific during part of the Vietnam War, has died. He was 95.

Krulak died Monday at the Wesley Palms Retirement Community in San Diego, according to Edith Soderquist, a staff member at the facility. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Krulak commanded about 100,000 Marines in the Pacific from 1964 to 1968 a span that saw the United States dramatically increase buildup in Vietnam.

Krulak, nicknamed "Brute" for his direct, no-nonsense style, was a decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War.

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.

"The destruction of the port of Haiphong would have changed the whole character of the war," he said two decades after the fall of Saigon.

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."

Before assuming command of Fleet Marine Force Pacific, Krulak served as principal adviser on counterinsurgency warfare to then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the joint chiefs of staff.

"I never got enthusiasm out of war, and I'm convinced that the true pacifists are the professional soldiers who have actually seen it," Krulak said many years after retiring from the post.

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 received the second of two Distinguished Service Medals when he retired from the military.

For the next nine years, 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 Charles Krulak served as commandant the Marines' top post from 1995 to 1999.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

First sergeant vs. master sergeant
Choose the rank that's best for your career

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook