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Bennet Puryear, Jr., Oral History Interview, November 13, 1975

(Oral History #OH0026)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Bennet Puryear, Jr., Oral History Interview
Creators: Lennon, Donald R.
Puryear, Bennet
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Extent: 0.0050 Cubic feet, 1 audiocassette, 1.5 hours, 28 pages .

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

General note

1884-1943

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Repository does not own copyright to the oral history collection. Permission to cite, reproduce, or broadcast must be obtained from both the repository and the participants in the oral history, or their heirs.

Preferred Citation

Bennet Puryear, Jr., Oral History Interview (#OH0026), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Bennet Puryear, Jr.

Processing Information

  • Processed by D. Beard, April 1985

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Bennet Puryear, Jr., was born in Richmond, Virginia, and attended public schools there until 1895 when his family moved to a farm in Madison County, Virginia. His education continued informally, including instruction by his father, who was a Greek and Latin scholar, and his older brother, who was a mathematics professor. Later he attended Texas A & M University.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

This oral interview documents many aspects of Puryear's career as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. Prior to World War I, topics include commissioning as a U.S. Marine second lieutenant (1905) and service in Cuba and the Isle of Pines (1907-1909), a teaching assignment at the Marine School of Applications in Port Royal, S.C. (1909-1911), quartermaster's duty at Cavite in the Philippines (1911-1914), and return to Mare island, S.C. (1914-1917).

In 1917 Puryear was sent to France as a quartermaster under the command of General Pershing. Comments pertain to the wartime command in France and incidents of military justice. After returning from France (1919), Puryear was assigned to Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C. (1919-1925). He was later transferred to Haiti as quartermaster of the gendarmerie (1925-1928), and in 1936 moved to the West Coast where he was assigned to the staff of General McDougal. Later assignments included post quartermaster at Quantico (1937-1942) and representative of theQuartermaster Department in New Zealand (1942). Puryear retired from active duty in 1943, having achieved the rank of major general.

Among other noteworthy topics are Puryear's attitude about U.S. policy in Central America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia; the handling of the attack on Tarawa during World War II; and civilian participation in decision-making about the Vietnam War. Among the individuals he discusses are Marine Generals Holland M. Smith, Julian C. Smith, John A. Lejeune, and Omar Bundy.

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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