Joseph Schmittou Detachment #1083


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Posted by: adjutant on 03/09/2007 07:10 PM
Updated by: adjutant on 04/10/2011 07:37 PM
Expires: 01/01/2012 12:00 AM
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Joseph Schmittou Detachment #1083 Department of Georgia

Who was Joseph Schmittou?

According to the roster of those serving on Peleliu the short of it is:

SCHMITTOU, Joseph, M. 1SGT,
Co K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division. Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. Cited in "Coral Comes High" by George P. Hunt. He spent 28 years in The Corps and retired as a M/SGT.

But The story goes further if you care to look.


Click on "Read More" to find out more about M/Sgt Joseph Schmittou


Joe was the living testimony of the old USMC philosophy, "Once A Marine, Always A Marine."

"Top" Schmittou was a native of Southern Tennessee who joined the U.S. Marine corps in 1937 because, in his own words, "A lot of things were brewing and I knew my country would need every able bodied man she could get, so I had to do my part, but only as a United States Marine."

After graduating from "boot camp" at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island SC, He reported to "Sea School" at Portsmouth VA. After completing Sea School Joe was assigned to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Enterprise #7, the first aircraft carrier to carry that name. That ship carried that name nobly throughout WWII.

Finishing his tour on "The Big E" Joe was transferred to Guadalcanal as a platoon sergeant bringing 1440 replacements and was the senior enlisted Marine.

Joseph Schmittou also saw service on Peleliu and Tuluvu, also known as Cape Gloucester. Cape Gloucester, once the scene of a major battle, is now a quite area of West New Britain. Of his more than 25 months in the Pacific Theater, Joe felt that one of his most memorable recollections was the pleasure of serving with Marine Legend, General Chesty Puller who was a LtCol the first time they met. General Puller was called "Blood and guts" by many folks, but Schmittou says that he was truly a class act. Of Puller he also points out that when given a job, he got it done, while never asking a Marine to do anything he would not or could not do himself. Joe said that General Puller hated to see any of his men get hurt in combat, as he really cared about their welfare.

It was at Cape Gloucester that Schmittou was awarded the Silver Star for his courage and actions in combat. General Puller himself pinned that medal on Joe's chest. When asked about the combat in the pacific, Joe said The Canal and Peleliu were all tough but the events on Cape Gloucester were the toughest for him. It was there that he had to take over his company on two separate occasions due to the loss of two different Company Commanders. It was after the third Company Commander showed up that Joe himself was wounded. Joe's unit was facing sniper H & I fire as well as incoming heavy artillery fire. Joe took a machinegun and went forward into the bush. While waiting for a break in the "Arty" another fire team reached the snipers location. While returning to his own lines Joe was hit and then medivaced to New Guinea where he spent 39 days before rejoining his unit.

Joe also served as a First Sergeant in the Korean War where he was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" for his actions during that conflict.

Joe remembered some pretty tough times during his combat years but said he wouldn't trade his Marine Corps career for anything in the world. Joe also felt like the "New Generations" of Marines would always be as good, if not better than the Marines of "The Old Corps."

Joe retired from the Marine Corps in 1959 after serving his four year, "Twilight Tour" at the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens GA. Joe was the first enlisted Marine to be assigned to the NSCS. He lived in Athens after retirement with his wife Faye, who also served for two years in the Marine Corps, until his death in 1990.

Joe continued to serve his country and community as a Deputy Sheriff for the Clarke County Sheriff's Department after he retired from active duty.


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