John N. McLaughlin papers
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John N. McLaughlin papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: McLaughlin, John N., 1918-2002.
Title: John N. McLaughlin papers
Dates: 1945-1991
Extent: 1.01 cubic feet (1 box, 1 oversize folder)
Identification: MS 2330

Biographical/Historical Note

Lieutenant General John N. McLaughlin was born on 21 September 1918 in Charleston, South Carolina and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. After graduating from Emory University in June 1941, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. His first assignment was with the First Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Marine Division, which left for the Pacific in May 1942. McLaughlin was promoted to first lieutenant in October 1942 and to captain in February 1943. He received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry while leading an assault company ashore at Peleliu in September 1944. Upon returning to the United States in December 1944, he was assigned to the Marine Corps School in Quantico, Virginia. In February 1945 he was promoted to major after completing the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He then served with the Amphibious Training Command in Coronado, California in June 1948. In July 1950, McLaughlin was assigned as an advisor to the Marines' Fifth Cavalry Regiment, for an amphibious landing at Pohang Dong, Korea. He was captured by the Chinese Communists at Chosin Reservoir, North Korea and remained a prisoner for nearly three years. Following his liberation in September 1953, McLaughlin was awarded the Legion of Merit and was later promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1953.

In September 1956, McLaughlin became the Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Fifth Marines and three years later was promoted to colonel. In 1961, he was assigned as the Marine Cops Aide to the Under Secretary of the Navy and in 1963 became the Marine Corps Liaison Officer to the Chief of Naval Operations. Following graduation from the National War College in Washington, D.C., and obtaining a masters degree in international affairs at George Washington University in July 1965, he became the Commanding Officer of the Sixth Marines, 2nd Marine Division and later Chief of Staff of that division. After his promotion to brigadier general on 10 January 1967, he was assigned to the United States Strike Command, where he served as Deputy J-5, Plans, and earned a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit.

McLaughlin became Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division, 18 February 1968, at Danang, South Vietnam, and served in that capacity until May 25, 1968. McLaughlin was then transferred to the staff of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, located in Saigon, where he served as Deputy J-3, Operations. He served in this capacity until August 1969. For service in Vietnam, he earned the Distinguished Service Medal and three Vietnamese Personal decorations. He was promoted to major general, 3 September 1969, and was designated Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He served there until March 1973, when he assumed command of the 4th Marine Division. Following his promotion to lieutenant general on 1 September 1974, he became Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps. He assumed his Pacific assignment in July 1975, and retired 1 July 1977.

General McLaughlin has been awarded two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star Medal, three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star with Combat "V", the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the POW Medal and 16 other campaign medals and foreign awards, including the POW award in 1990, the Emory Medal in 1991 and the Solomon Island Medal in 1996, for the 1st assault landing at Guadalcanal. He died on 8 August 2002 in Savannah, Georgia at the age of eighty three and is buried at the Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Lieutenant General John N. McLaughlin from 1945 to 1991. There are memoirs, a military debrief, letters, photographs, and telegrams that deal with his time as a prisoner of war in Korea. There are also photographs, letters, and clippings regarding his college years and retirement, as well as speeches given by John N. McLaughlin.


This collection is arranged into 1 box and 1 oversize folder:

Box 1: Contains clippings and photographs from John McLaughlin's college days through his military career and into his retirement. There are letters and telegrams from his time in the military, including while he was a POW in Korea as well as congratulations on his retirement. Also included are memoirs and speeches by John N. McLaughlin and a copy of his military debrief after his release from the POW camp.

Oversize folder 1: Contains photographs and John McLaughlin's 1975 Honorary Citizenship certificate for Dallas, Texas.

Index Terms

Artifacts (object genre)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Korea (South)
Korean War, 1950-1953--Personal narratives, American.
Korean War, 1950-1953--Prisoners and prisons.
Letters (correspondence)
McLaughlin, John N., 1918-2002.
McLaughlin, Marilee Hicks, 1925-1987.
Slides (photographs)
Soldiers--United States--Correspondence.
Speeches (documents)
World War, 1939-1945.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

This collection is processed at the Basic Level (or collection level). There is no detailed inventory for this collection as it is not fully processed. To request that this collection be added to our priority list of collections to be fully processed as staffing and funding allow, please contact the Library and Archives staff.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2008 Archives-Basic Projects grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.