I Was a Spectator in the Greatest Generation
By: H. Lloyd Wilkerson, Major General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) Doctor of Laws (Hon.)
About the Book
The 20th Century took H. Lloyd Wilkerson from rural Obion County, TN to the Pacific in WWII and service with some of the greatest military leaders of his time. Prior to his military service, Wilkerson attended Erskine College and completed his degree during the war.
Pearl Harbor was a turning point for Wilkerson. He rushed to the Marine Corps Recruiting station on December 8, 1941 to enlist. His first assignment after boot camp was orderly-driver for Colonel James W. Webb, CO 7th Marines. Their first overseas deployment was British Samoa. At Guadalcanal Wilkerson became a rifleman under the notorious LtCol “Chesty” Puller. When Marines departed Guadalcanal, Wilkerson was hospitalized in Melbourne for Malaria contracted at Guadalcanal. He was returned to the States for hospitalization. In Pocatello, ID he completed his college degree and met his future wife. Prior to graduation from OCS at Quantico, VA in 1945, Lloyd was in the Marine unit that escorted by train the remains of President Roosevelt to Hyde Park for burial.
Second Lieutenant Wilkerson participated under command of MGen Lemuel C. Shepard Jr. the Japanese surrender in North China. Returning to the States, he welcomed his first son and became a Freemason. In the Korean War in 1950-1 Wilkerson served in the 5th Marines commanded by Colonel Raymond Murray. They defended the Pusan Perimeter, attacked Inchon and invaded North Korea. In the Vietnam War Wilkerson commanded the 1st Marines and subsequently served as G-3 of III MAF. Major career assignments included G-2/G-3 Advisor to Korean Marine Corps; Assistant Professor, Duke University; Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, 3rd Marine Division and III MAF on Okinawa. Lloyd retired as a Major General in 1978.
About the Author
Wilkerson credits his Mother with giving him a solid foundation in life. Susan Ethel Griffin Wilkerson became a widow with two dependent children when her husband took his own life on 30 December 1933. Lloyd was 14 and sister Lillian was 10 years old. Their mother, who only finished the 6th grade, became the inspiration that led all adult descendants to become college graduates.
To compliment the inspiration of his mother, Lloyd’s marriage for 69 years to Jeanne Coffin provided him and their three sons a continuing environment for successful lives. Tom retired as a Marine Major General. Richard retired as Emeritus President of Michelin North America. Fred obtained a BA Degree from New England Culinary Institute.
Lloyd has been a Freemason over 73 years. He served as Master of two Lodges in NC and as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Scottish Rite in NC. In 2003 Lloyd and Jeanne moved to WhiteStone, a Greensboro NC retirement community, where she developed Alzheimer’s and passed away in 2014.
Lloyd is now married to Lillian Jones Gibson who had spent a number of years caring for a disabled husband. They occupy his home at WhiteStone where they participate in the local activities. MGen H. Lloyd Wilkerson celebrated his 100th birthday on October 31, 2019.