Major General William P. Biddle, 11th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps

Saturday, September 2, 2023
Major General William P. Biddle

Major General William P. Biddle, eleventh Commandant of the Marine Corps completed his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1875. As a Marine Corps Officer for 38 years, 18 of which were spent aboard warships and in foreign lands, he saw action on land and sea in both hemispheres. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in June, 1875, and after short tours of duty in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia, he made the first of his many tours of sea duty. He spent three years aboard the HARTFORD and the POWHATAN before he returned to Philadelphia for duty in February, 1891. He was advanced to captain three years later. 

Biddle resumed sea duty aboard the OLYMPIA on which ship he served during the Spanish-American War. He was with Admiral Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay. He was promoted to colonel in February, 1905 and during the following year returned to the Philippine Islands where he commanded the First Brigade of Marines for approximately two years. He reported for duty at Marine Corps Headquarters in May 1908 and was soon detailed in command of an expeditionary brigade for service in Panama to reinforce the troops protecting the construction of the Panama Canal, and for potential duty in Nicaragua. He was chosen as Commandant of the Corps on February 3, 1911. Following approximately three years in office, General Biddle retired on February 24, 1914 after serving for more than thirty years.