Col. Albert S. McLemore
Biography and Detachment History
Why are we called “McLemore Detachment”? Here is some “Straight Scoop” about the long history of this Detachment.
An article in “The Leatherneck” magazine dated November 25, 1922 announced that Marine Veterans of the Civil War, Spanish-American War and the World War had met and laid the foundation for a new organization “which will hereafter be known as the Marine Corps Veteran’s Organization. So the esprit de corps, world famed during the Great War, that has always made the ex-Leatherneck from Maine shake hands with another from California will be kept alive for years to come. “Once a marine, always a Marine” will be the slogan of the ex-Leathernecks association which came into existence on the 147th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps.”
In “The Leatherneck” dated May 12, 1923, an article announced the formation of a new chapter of the “Marine Corps Veteran’s Association” in Houston, Texas. The chapter was called the McLemore Detachment in honor of Col. Albert S. McLemore USMC. Col. McLemore served 28 years in the Marine Corps and the article said that during the World War he was in charge of recruiting and publicity and, in 1919, he assumed the duties of Asst. Adjutant and Inspector of the Dept. Of the Pacific. The article announced that the McLemore Detachment has the following officers: N.J. Curtis, George Schleeter, Walter E. Baust, Ira L. Hinton and states that “Marines and ex-Marines who are from Texas, or who have ex-buddies from that state may get full information by writing to Ira L. Hinton, Old Federal Building, Houston, Texas.” These former Marines were the “plank-owners’ of this Detachment. The Marine Corps Veteran’s Association then became the Marine Corps League so our Detachment has roots back to the earliest days. Why it was decided to honor Col McLemore by naming the “chapter” after him has been lost to time. But here is a short biography of Col. A.S. McLemore.
Albert Sydney McLemore was a native of Murfreesboro, TN. Born in 1869, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on July 1, 1893. He served with the Marine Guard aboard U.S.S. NEW YORK in 1894 and aboard U.S.S. Philadelphia from 1895 to 1897. During the Spanish-American War he served with Co. E, First Marine (Huntington’s) Battalion, North Atlantic Fleet from April 22, 1898 to September 20, 1898. He was present ashore at Guantanamo, Cuba in defense of Camp McCalla June 11, 12 and 13, 1898 for which he was later appointed Captain by Brevet on March 18, 1901 for “distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy at Guantanamo, Cuba”. This was a particularly high honor in a time when there no decorations in the Naval service to award bravery for officers. The Medal of Honor was reserved for enlisted men only until after the Mexico Campaign in 1914. He had a long career in the Marine Corps serving on numerous ships and stations. By 1917 he had been promoted to Colonel and became Asst. Adjutant and Inspector in the Marine Corps. In 1918 he assumed the duties of Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Corps Recruiting Publicity Bureau in New York, N.Y. He was named to receive a Brevet Medal for his Distinguished Conduct in Cuba in 1898 but he died at Mare Island, CA from cancer on July 13, 1921.
The Detachment has endured through thick and thin. Following WWII there several hundred members in the Detachment. Now there are less than 100. But there are thousands of Marines and Marine veterans in the Houston area. Many will join if they know about our Detachment. It’s up to each to be a recruiter so that this Detachment will continue and in 2022 celebrate its 100th Anniversary. Semper Fi!