David M. Shoup
David Monroe Shoup (30 December 1904 – 13 January 1983) was a general of the United States Marine Corps who was awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II, served as the 22nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, and, after retiring, became one of the most prominent critics of the Vietnam War.
Born in Indiana to an impoverished family, Shoup joined the military for financial reasons. Rising through the ranks in the interwar era, he was twice deployed to China during the Chinese Civil War. He served in Iceland at the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II, and as a staff officer during the Pacific War. He was unexpectedly given command of the 2nd Marines, and led the initial invasion of Tarawa, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the British Distinguished Service Order. He served in the Marianas campaign, and later became a high-level military logistics officer.
Solidifying his reputation as a hard-driving and assertive leader, Shoup rose through the senior leadership of the Marine Corps, overhauling fiscal affairs, logistics, and recruit training. He was selected as commandant by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and later served in the administration of John F. Kennedy. He reformed the Corps, emphasizing combat readiness and fiscal efficiency, against what was perceived as politicking among its officers.
Shoup opposed the military escalation in response to events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion, but his strongest opposition was to U.S. involvement in South Vietnam. His opposition grew in strength after he retired from the military in 1963; he was hostile to both the strategy of the conflict and the excessive influence of corporations and military officials upon foreign policy. His high-profile criticism later spread to include the military industrial complex and what he saw as a pervasive militarism in American culture. Historians consider Shoup’s statements opposing the war to be among the most pointed and high-profile leveled by a veteran against the Vietnam War.