- Leo J. Daugherty
Holcomb, Thomas (05 August 1879–24 May 1965), commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and diplomat, was born in New Castle, Delaware, the son of Thomas Holcomb, an attorney, state legislator, and civil servant, and Elizabeth Hindman Barney. The family moved to Washington in 1893 when his father joined the Treasury Department. Holcomb graduated from high school in 1897 and three years later was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After completing the marines’ School of Application, Holcomb served from September 1902 to April 1903 with a seagoing battalion attached to the North Atlantic Fleet. In 1903 he was promoted to first lieutenant and stationed in the Philippines in 1904 and 1905 and at the U.S. legation in Peking (Beijing) from 1905 through 1906. He returned to China in 1908 as a naval attaché. Holcomb, by that time a captain, oversaw the training of the legation’s marine detachment, placing particular emphasis—as he would throughout his career—on rifle marksmanship. An expert marksman himself, he had served as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1907, and 1908, and would do so again in 1911. Holcomb returned to the United States in 1914 and became inspector of target practice at corps headquarters. He married Beatrice Miller Clover in 1916; the couple had one son....