Memorial services have been held for Retired Major General Edwin B. Wheeler of the Marine Corps, who died at Baylor University Medical Center on October 14, 1985, after having been stricken by a heart attack at his Dallas, Texas, home. Wheeler, 67, had lived in Dallas and Hot Springs, Arkansas. Burial was planned for Arlington National Cemetery.
He served two tours of duty as a combat commander in Vietnam and also served as a Battalion Commander during the Korean War and as a combat officer with the 1st Raider Battalion in the Pacific in World War II. He received many medals, including the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Medal and five citations for the Legion of Merit.
A native of Port Chester, New York, where he was born on March 17, 1918, he joined the Marine Corps in 1940 after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Williams College in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. During his 32-year career in the Marines, he led every type of Marine Corps unit into combat. He is the only Marine in history to have done so. His initial assignment was as a rifle platoon leader in the 1st Raider Battalion – Edson’s Raiders. He participated in the Tulagi and Guadalcanal operations and later led a Raider Company in the battle for New Georgia. In the postwar period, Major Wheeler served at various posts and stations at home and abroad. In the Korean War, he commanded the 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion, 5th Marines, and before leaving Korea served as the 5th Marines Regimental Executive Officer. Following his promotion to Colonel in July 1959, he was Marine Aide-de-Camp to three Secretaries of the Navy, W. B. Franke, John B. Connally and Fred North. He next commanded the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., before leaving for Vietnam, where he commanded the 3rd Marines. Upon his return to the U.S., he was Commander of the Marine Corps Basic School. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1966 and he left for Camp Lejeune to become Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Marine Division, and later took command of the Division as a Brigadier General. Promoted to Major General in 1968 and, two years later, left Camp Lejeune for his last duty assignment as G-1 at Marine Headquarters, where he remained until he retired in 1972.
After he retired from the Marines in 1972, he served for two years as Deputy Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare for Governor Ronald Reagan of California.
His ashes were laid to rest in a private graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery on October 18, 1985.