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Ultimate Marine (Foss vs Hulbert)


Who is the Ultimate Marine’s Marine? Each day, we’ll compare two Marine Corps legends across three categories: Service (actions while in uniform), Legacy (how their service continued to impact the Corps and the world) and Motivation (esprit de corps and overall badassery). The Marines Blog will judge initial rounds internally and guest writers will take over for the final rounds. Be sure to make your voice heard by voting in our simultaneous fan bracket here on the Marines Blog. Share your opinion on our Facebook page, or tweet your thoughts with us @usmc using the hashtag: #UltimateMarine

ViewBracketBoth Capt. Joseph Foss and Gunner Henry Lewis Hulbert served in two wars; Hulbert in the Second Samoan Civil War and World War I, Foss in World War II and the Korean War. They both earned the Medal of Honor and other awards for valor in combat.

With Hulbert, we know he risked his life to make sure the Marines with him in ViewFanBracketSamoa withdrew safely after being ambushed. Foss is tied for the most aerial victories, 26, in the Marine Corps. What you may not know is Hulbert was endorsed and praised by everyone around him for his excellent leadership and fighting skills. They were both very heroic during their time in the Corps, however, during the Korean War, Foss saw fit to join the Air Force. Even though Foss served his country admirably, no matter which branch of service, this round goes to Hulbert for being a Marine’s Marine to the end.

Service: Hulbert

Hulbert served in the Corps from the age of 31 to 51 when he was killed in action at Mont Blanc Ridge in France. He is believed to be the first Marine to attain the rank of Gunner. A U.S. Navy destroyer was christened in his name in 1919 and embodied the fighting spirit of its namesake when it shot down a Japanese torpedo bomber in 1941.

Most of the stories about Hulbert revolve around his keen leadership, but it’s difficult to find much in regard to his actions. While he contributed greatly to the Corps during his time, he leaves behind one of the least well-known legacies of the men in this tournament.

Foss only served in the Corps for five years, but all his actions, in and out of the Marines, are remembered. When the U.S. entered World War II, Foss was told “You’re too ancient, Joe. You’re 27 years old.” He didn’t give up and later joined Marine Fighter Squadron 121. After fifteen days in the war, Foss brought back a total of four Wildcats too damaged to fly again and shot down 11 enemy aircraft, becoming a double ace, further proving old men can fight. That same week he became the Marine Corps’ first ‘ace in a day.’ After the war, Foss helped organize the South Dakota Air National Guard, went into politics and was overwhelmingly elected as the Governor of South Dakota and was president of the National Rifle Association. More people know Foss for his work both in the Corps and in his community than Hulbert.

Legacy: Foss

Hulbert was born in England in 1867. His grand parents likely fought against the Yankees during the revolutionary war. But, that didn’t stop him from joining the most elite fighting force in the world. He made a name for himself fighting in France, and many Marines looked to him as an ideal leader. Although he was in his 50s at the time, he more than held his own with the young officers half his age. An adjutant serving with his battalion remarked, “If the Fifth Regiment ever goes over the top, I want to go over with Mr. Hulbert.”

Embodying “Every Marine a rifleman,” Foss, along with other pilots, occasionally went on foot patrols in the jungles of Guadalcanal during World War II, until his commanding officer put an end to it.

After his 23rd kill, Foss’ plane was shot so may times, he was forced to land in shark-infested waters. He escaped the plane and swam to a nearby island inhabited by friendly natives, including a number of Europeans, Australians and two nuns who had been there forty years and had never seen an automobile. Foss said the steak and eggs served there were much better than the powdered eggs he was use to eating on base. Marines picked him up the next day and put him right back into the fight.

Even though Hulbert crossed the Atlantic to fight as a Marine, Foss’ skill as an aviator wins him the category, and the round overall.

Motivation and Winner: Foss

— — — — — —

Round One

Daly vs Lejeune

Foss vs Hulbert

Diamond vs Gray

Basilone vs Johnson

Puller vs Barnum

Hathcock vs Mawhinney

Vittori vs Glenn

Butler vs Davis

Round Two

Daly vs Foss

Diamond vs Basilone

Puller vs Hathcock

Glenn vs Butler

Final Four

Daly vs Basilone

Puller vs Butler

The Ultimate Marine’s Marine

Daly vs Puller

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6 Responses

  1. Marine Corps Production says:

    No, but cut and paste works too. Semper Fi

  2. Terry Mahoney says:

    You have that saved to a hotkey?

  3. Marine Corps Production says:

    We’ve never met a Marine who didn’t love Gen. Mattis, but all Marines in this tournament have to have left the Corps more than 20 years ago for us to rate legacy.

  4. Carley Mickle says:

    Hulbert!!! a Marines, Marine!!

  5. Chris Hutchinson says:

    Where is Gen. Mattis? This bracket is null and void without.

  6. Terry Mahoney says:

    :Foss saw fit to join the Air Force.
    Enough said. Verdict, Hulbert.