Merritt Austin Edson, known as “Red Mike”, was a general in the United States Marine Corps. Among the decorations he received were the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, the Silver Star, and two Legions of Merit.
He is best known by Marines for the defense of Lunga Ridge during the Guadalcanal Campaign in World War II. He received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marines in October 1917, and served in France and Germany in World War I.
After the war he held several positions until going to flight school in 1922. After graduating flight school and being designated a Naval Aviator, he performed several assignments in Central America and China. It was in Central America where he received his first Navy Cross and the Nicaraguan Medal of Merit with Silver Star.
When World War II started Edson was sent as the commanding officer of the Marine Raiders and earned his second Navy Cross on Tulagi. When his unit was sent to fight on Guadalcanal, Edson led his men in fighting for which he would later receive the Medal of Honor.