Charles F.B. Price ’02 (WWII Marine Commander)

Cadet PriceCharles Frederick Berthold Price was born in Germany of American parents. He and his parents returned to America when Price was six months old. His family settled in Wayne, PA. Price entered PMC in 1898. At PMC, he was a talented musician; particularly in his rendition of “Taps”. In his 2nd Class (Junior) Year, he was appointed Chief Musician, which meant he kept the PMC Bugle Corps in shape. As a First Classman (Senior), he commanded “B” Company as a Cadet Captain. The Porcupine Annual (then the PMC Yearbook) described Price as: “an advocate for the Extermination of Room Inspectors.” It was written that to avoid the “exertion” of making his bed every morning, he “nailed his sheets and blanket to the bed.” He slept on the floor with a spare blanket. Yet, his classmates considered him to be a “good fellow…and a kind officer.”

After graduation, Price was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad and served in the Philadelphia City Cavalry of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In 1906, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and ordered to Annapolis for training. During the Spanish-American War, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered Price and a Marine Expeditionary Force to “protect American lives and property” in Cuba. Price remained there until 1908. He retuned to the U.S., but after a few months, he joined the Central American Expeditionary Force. Later deployments included: Panama during the construction of the Panama Canal; Vera Cruz during the Mexican Intervention in 1914; France, shortly before and after the armistice ending WWI; and Nicaragua. In 1935, he joined the Fourth Marines at the American Legation in Shanghai, China. Price was promoted to Brigadier General in 1940 and assumed command of the Department of the Pacific in 1941. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he was promoted to Major General and placed in command of the Second Marine Division. He assumed command of the Defense Force, Samoan Group, in 1942. His assignment was to secure the approaches to Samoa Islands. His efforts in occupying and developing the U.S. presence on the Ellice Islands made the seizure of the Gilbert Islands possible, thereby opening the Central Pacific. For his ability, perseverance and tact he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal with the Combat “V” for heroism during direct participation in combat operations by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPOA), for U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II.

Price returned to the San Diego area in 1944. The following year he retired. He continued to live in the San Diego area until his death in 1954.