Marine Corps Brevet Medal - Brevet Promotions

Brevet Promotions

A brevet promotion or brevet is the advancement in rank without the advancement in either pay grade or position. Typically, a brevetted officer would be given the insignia of the brevetted rank, but not the pay or formal authority. Brevet promotions were originally authorized for the United States Army in 1775 by the Second Continental Congress. In 1778 a resolution was passed stating brevets would only be authorized " officers in the line or in case of very eminent services...".

The Marine Corps would not receive the authorization from Congress for brevet promotions until 1814 stating "... That the President is hereby authorized to confer brevet rank on such officers of the Marine Corps as shall distinguish themselves by gallant actions and meritorious conduct or shall have served ten years in any one grade...".

In 1814 Anthony Gale became the first Marine to receive a brevet promotion when he was brevetted to Major, having been a Captain for ten years. By the time the practice of brevet promotions was discontinued in 1900, 121 brevet promotions were bestowed on 100 Marine Corps officers.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, brevet promotions were common in the United States armed forces. New officers received brevet rank until authorized positions were made available, or they could be brevetted to fill higher positions for gallantry. During the American Civil War, most senior officers received a brevet promotion, particularly during the final months of the war. After officers became eligible for the Medal of Honor, a rare Marine Corps Brevet Medal was issued to living officers who had been brevetted between 1861 and 1915.

Due to the establishment of the Medal of Honor and the change in rules allowing both officers and enlisted to receive it, the need for brevet promotions diminished. During the American Civil War, the Army used the issuing of brevet promotions to such a degree that Congress passed an act in 1869 that restricted the issuance of brevet promotions. The act established three requirements for awarding a brevet: "they could only be awarded in time of war and then only for distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy, and it also removed all privileges of command based upon brevet rank except as directed by the President."

In 1870 Congress passed a law stating that no officer could wear, nor be addressed by, their brevet rank making brevet promotions an honorary decoration only. Because of this new law the last nine brevet promotions awarded by the Marine Corps occurred during the Boxer Rebellion. On June 7, 1921, the Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby approved then-Commandant John A. Lejeune's request for a medal denoting the holder of a brevet promotion to be issued. Marine Corps Order #26 was issued on June 27, 1921, authorizing the medal to be ordered and by November 10, 1921 the medals had been created. This decoration was justified on the grounds that, until 1915, Marine Corps officers were not eligible for the Medal of Honor.

In 1940, because only one of the recipients was still alive (Smedley Butler had died in late June of that year), the Marine Corps declared the Brevet Medal obsolete. The lone survivor, Major General John Twiggs Myers, had been brevetted for valor at the siege of the U.S. embassy at Peking (the Battle of Peking), in 1900. He died in 1952 in Coconut Grove, Florida, and the medal was never issued again. The concept of brevet commissions was phased out of the United States military, and was replaced by temporary and field promotions, which were awarded more frequently than brevet ranks.

Twenty-three men received this award, of whom three received both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor.

Read more about this topic:  Marine Corps Brevet Medal

Other articles related to "brevet, brevet promotions":

Military Career Of Stonewall Jackson - Mexican War Service
... In April 1847, Jackson was informed that his brevet (temporary) rank of Second Lieutenant was now being made permanent in the United States Army ... Jackson had been promoted to First Lieutenant with recommendations made for brevet promotions to both Captain and Major ... In February 1849, Jackson had heard nothing about his brevet promotions from the Mexican War and was still merely a First Lieutenant ...

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