Military Wiki
Herbert Joseph Sweet
4th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (1965–1969)
Born (1919-10-08)October 8, 1919
Died June 18, 1998(1998-06-18) (aged 78)
Place of birth Hartford, Connecticut
Place of death Arlington, Virginia
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1937-1969
Rank Sergeant Major
Unit 21st Marine Regiment
2nd Marine Regiment
5th Marine Regiment
6th Reserve & Recruitment District
3rd Marine Division
Commands held Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

World War II

Korean War
Awards Bronze Star
Navy Commendation Medal
Purple Heart (4)

Sergeant Major Herbert Joseph Sweet (October 8, 1919 – June 18, 1998) was the fourth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. He fought and was wounded in World War II and the Korean War.


Herbert Sweet was born on October 8, 1919 in Hartford, Connecticut, and the following year moved to Troy, New York, where he grew up and received his schooling. As a child, Sweet made his home with his uncle, Harold J. Nash. Sweet enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 26, 1937. Following recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, he saw duty with Marine detachments at Quantico, Virginia, the 1939 World's Fair in New York, and in Trinidad.

Throughout World War II, he served with the 21st Marine Regiment and the 3rd Marine Division, moving with the unit to New Zealand and Guadalcanal for training. He saw combat at the Battle of Bougainville, where he served as a platoon sergeant and was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. He was wounded in action during the landing on Guam in July 1944 and, following hospitalization, rejoined the 21st Marines for the Battle of Iwo Jima. There, he earned the Bronze Star with valor device for exposing himself to enemy fire in order to rescue his wounded company commander, two other Marines and a corpsman. He was wounded and evacuated twice.

On his return to active duty, he served as First Sergeant of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island; on the Marine Detachment at the Naval Ordnance Plant, Macon, Georgia; and on the Marine Detachment of the USS Missouri (BB-63). He also served two separate tours at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, first as an infantry chief, and following the Korean War, as Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2nd Marine Regiment and Field Sergeant Major of the 2nd Marine Division, respectively. He requested duty in Korea on the outbreak of hostilities there, and in 1951 saw combat as rifle company First Sergeant with the 5th Marine Regiment. He was wounded in action that October and earned the Navy Commendation Medal with valor device.

He returned from Korea in July 1952, and served thereafter as Assistant to the Professor of Naval Science, NROTC Unit at Columbia University in New York City for two years. Following his second tour of duty at Camp Lejeune, he was stationed in the Philippine Islands as Barracks Sergeant Major, Subic Bay from 1958 to 1960. Then he served as Sergeant Major of the 6th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District at Atlanta, Georgia. In July 1964 he was named Sergeant Major for 3rd Marine Division (Fleet Marine Force in the Far East). While serving in this capacity, he was selected as the 4th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps by a board convened in Washington and assumed his new post on July 16, 1965.

Sergeant Major Sweet died June 18, 1998 of respiratory failure at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Awards and decorations

His personal decorations include:

Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze Star w/ valor device Purple Heart w/ 3 award stars Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ valor device Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 2 service stars Navy Unit Commendation Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 7 service stars
American Defense Service Medal w/ 1 clasp American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3 service stars World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Korean Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Korean Presidential Unit Citation United Nations Korea Medal

See also


Military offices
Preceded by
Thomas J. McHugh
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Joseph W. Dailey

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