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Kentucky Marine

Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC

David J. Bettez

Publication Year: 2014

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Major General Logan Feland (1869--1936) played a major role in the development of the modern Marine Corps. Highly decorated for his heroic actions during the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, Feland led the hunt for rebel leader Augusto C�sar Sandino during the Nicaraguan revolution from 1927 to 1929 -- an operation that helped to establish the Marines' reputation in guerrilla warfare and search-and-capture missions. Yet, despite rising to become one of the USMC's most highly ranked and regarded officers, Feland has been largely ignored in the historical record.

In Kentucky Marine, David J. Bettez uncovers the forgotten story of this influential soldier of the sea. During Feland's tenure as an officer, the Corps expanded exponentially in power and prestige. Not only did his command in Nicaragua set the stage for similar twenty-first-century operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Feland was one of the first instructors in the USMC's Advanced Base Force, which served as the forerunner of the amphibious assault force mission the Marines adopted in World War II.

Kentucky Marine also illuminates Feland's private life, including his marriage to successful soprano singer and socialite Katherine Cordner Feland, and details his disappointment at being twice passed over for the position of commandant. Drawing from personal letters, contemporary news articles, official communications, and confidential correspondence, this long-overdue biography fills a significant gap in twentieth-century American military history.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ic-x

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pp. 1-4

The Marine Corps general from Kentucky sat down at his desk and typed. He was sixty-one years old, brown-haired, blue-eyed, and, standing at five feet ten inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, had remained in fighting trim. On the one hand, Logan Feland was a “Marine’s Marine”: tattooed...

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1. The Early Years

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pp. 5-12

Logan Feland’s ancestors came from Virginia, traveling over the mountains and settling in Kentucky in the early 1800s. Records indicate that his grandfather, Samuel Feland, was born in 1811 in Barren County in western Kentucky. A building contractor, he married Nancy Hammil in...

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2. Spanish-American War Service

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pp. 13-32

During the 1890s the United States looked outward: diplomacy and international relations expanded as the nation stabilized in the Gilded Age following the Civil War and Reconstruction. European powers continued to carve out spheres of influence, particularly in Africa and Asia, while also...

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3. Professional and Personal Milestones, 1899-1907

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pp. 33-52

In March 1899 President McKinley signed a bill doubling the size of the Marine Corps to 6,000 men and 201 line officers. The bill also authorized an increase in rank to brigadier general for the Marine Corps Commandant. In the words of Corps historian Allan Millett, “The War with Spain...

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4. Shuttling between the States and the Caribbean, 1907-1913

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pp. 53-66

On March 9, 1907, Captain Logan Feland presided over the Marine Guard on the USS Minnesota as the battleship was commissioned. In April, after a shakedown cruise to New England, the Minnesota joined other Atlantic Fleet vessels off the coast of Virginia in celebrating the Jamestown Exposition...

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5. Prewar Postings, 1913-1917

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pp. 67-82

After returning to Philadelphia at the beginning of May 1913, Captain Logan Feland could finally turn his attention to the Advanced Base School and the creation of an Advanced Base Force. Captain William Fullam, the navy’s aid for inspections, had criticized the Marine Corps...

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6. World War I through Belleau Wood

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pp. 83-102

On the gray, rainy morning of May 28, 1917, nearly 200 men gathered in presumed secrecy at Governor’s Island, New York, to board a White Star Line passenger vessel, the SS Baltic. This group constituted the advance team that would accompany General John “Black Jack” Pershing to initiate...

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7. From Soissons to the Return Home

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pp. 103-120

During the first week of July 1918, the Fourth Marine Brigade finally got a major respite from fighting. Pulled back into reserve, the Marines regrouped, taking in new replacements and preparing for future combat. General Pershing made significant command changes. Second Division...

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8. The Dominican Republic, 1920

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pp. 121-136

On May 13, 1919, the SS Von Steuben arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, with Brigadier General Logan Feland aboard. The rest of the Fourth Brigade would not leave Europe until July, after the peace treaty had been signed at Versailles. Feland spent a few days with his wife in Philadelphia...

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9. Headquarters Marine Corps

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pp. 137-152

Commandant John Lejeune “envisioned the Division of Operations and Training as the springboard for Marine Corps doctrine and planning.”1 As the first director of DOT, Brigadier General Logan Feland would be involved in many issues and responsible for many decisions that would...

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10. Assistant to the Commandant

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pp. 153-166

As the 1920s progressed, the U.S. Marine Corps under Commandant John Lejeune continued to search for its identity. Greatly reduced after the end of World War I, the Corps had difficulty deciding which direction to take. The world situation had changed dramatically. In East Asia, Japan...

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11. Nicaragua, 1927

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pp. 167-184

The United States and the Marine Corps had been involved in Nicaragua since the mid-nineteenth century. In 1855 American soldier of fortune William Walker took a group of men to Nicaragua to support a Liberal Party revolt against the ruling Conservatives. A year later Walker...

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12. Back to Nicaragua, 1928

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pp. 185-208

While Logan and Katherine Feland were moving to the general’s new command at Parris Island, the Marine Corps was still dealing with two difficult situations in China and Nicaragua. Throughout the summer of 1927 the Corps had been withdrawing troops from Nicaragua to sustain...

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13. Postelection Nicaragua, 1929

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pp. 209-230

Nicaraguan voters turned out in large numbers on Sunday, November 4, 1928. The day before, believing the situation was well in hand, General Feland had gone deer hunting. Throughout the difficult year, he had tried to relieve the stress of command by pursuing his hobbies of hunting...

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14. Returning Home

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pp. 231-246

After nearly two years in Nicaragua, Brigadier General Logan Feland returned Stateside to find that the Corps had changed dramatically. After eight years as Commandant, Major General John Lejeune had decided not to seek another four-year term. Consequently, on February 7, 1929...

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15. Retirement

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pp. 247-260

Major General Logan Feland undertook some major personal projects during his time on the West Coast. Although he had started writing a book about Belleau Wood before leaving Nicaragua, in San Francisco he turned his attention to writing a movie script about the battle. During the 1920s, a few Marines wrote successful novels, plays, and...

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pp. 261-266

On November 10, 1942, the observed 167th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, Katherine Feland and Mary Gilmour (the general’s sister) met in Long Beach, California, for the launching of a new ship that would be vital to the United States in World War II. They were joined at the ceremony...

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pp. 267-270

If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes at least several people to create a book. Many kind people helped me. First, I wish to thank my wife, Roi-Ann Bettez, for her tremendous support. From our first visit to Quantico in January 2008, she enthusiastically supported my efforts to...

Appendix-Key Dates

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pp. 271-274


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pp. 275-336

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 337-354


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pp. 355-368

E-ISBN-13: 9780813144825
E-ISBN-10: 0813144825
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813144573

Page Count: 378
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Nicaragua -- History -- 1909-1937.
  • Americans -- Nicaragua -- Biography.
  • Belleau Wood, Battle of, France, 1918.
  • United States. Marine Corps -- History -- 20th century.
  • Generals -- United States -- Biography.
  • United States. Marine Corps -- Officers -- Biography.
  • Feland, Logan, 1869-1936.
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