ELI THOMPSON FRYER, USMC
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Medal of Honor Citation
Original General Order
Brigadier General Eli Thompson Fryer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in April 1914, died 6 June 1963 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
He was born in Highstown, New Jersey, on 22 August 1878. He entered the Military Academy on 19 June 1897 and was honorably discharged on 19 June 1899. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, 21 March 1900; promoted to first lieutenant, 3 March 1903; captain, 13 May 1908; major, 29 August 1916; lieutenant colonel (temporary), 1 July 1918; lieutenant colonel (permanent), 4 June 1920; and colonel, 27 August 1928.
After a course of instruction at Marine Barracks, New York, New York, Lt Fryer served at the Marine Barracks, Newport, Rhode Island, from August 1901 to June 1903 except for a period of detached duty with the Marine Battalion in Panama from 13 September to 8 December 1902. From 5 June 1903 to 14 March 1905 he served with the Marine Expeditionary Battalion on board the USS Panther and at Camp Roosevelt, Culebra, Puerto Rico, and commanded the Marines at Dry Tortugas, Florida. Following a one year tour at the Marine Barracks, New York, 1stLt Fryer joined a battalion organized for service in the Philippines. From April 1906 to November 1908, he served at Olongapo, Polloc, and Cavite, as Adjutant of the 2d Regiment, Commanding Officer, and Post Adjutant, respectively. During the next five years, Capt Fryer worked as Post Quartermaster for the Marine Barracks and the School of Application at Annapolis, Maryland, and commanded the Marine Detachments on the USS Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Alabama.
Assigned to the 2d Advance Base Regiment in November 1913, Capt Fryer served at Pensacola, Culebra, and Vera Cruz. He was awarded the Medal of Honor “For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, April 21st and 22nd, 1914… was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.” He returned with the 2d Regiment to the United States in November 1914 and was assigned duty as Regimental Adjutant.
Shortly after the arrival of the 2d Regiment in Haiti, 4 August 1915, Capt Fryer was relieved of duty as Adjutant and was assigned to command the 20th Company. One year later, he was detached from Haiti and assigned to the Marine Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana, as Post Quartermaster with additional duty as Inspector-Instructor of the Marine Company, Louisiana Naval Militia. From June 1918 to November 1919 he served on the USS Brooklyn as Fleet Marine Officer and as aide to the Commander-In-Chief, Asiatic Fleet. As a result of Allied intervention in Siberia, the Brooklyn remained in the vicinity of Vladivostok during most of this period.
After World War I, LtCol Fryer served in Charleston, South Carolina, Quantico, Virginia, and with the Marine Corps Expeditionary Force in Panama, and on Culebra. In August 1925, he again joined the Marine Brigade in Haiti, serving as Chief of Staff and Officer-in-Charge of Operations and Training until 26 July 1927 when he was detached to Quantico, Virginia, as a student in the Field Officers’ Course. After completing this instruction Col Fryer was assigned duty as Chief of Staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, and Commanding Officer of the 1st Regiment.
Colonel Fryer joined Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina, 15 July 1929, and served as Post Commander until 1 October 1929 when he assumed command of the Naval Prison. Detached from Parris Island in September 1933 he served two months as Commanding Officer of the Marine Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard before he assumed command of the 2d Regiment in Haiti. He continued in command of the 2d Regiment, with brief periods as Brigade Commander, until July 1934 when he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, New York, to await retirement.
Colonel Fryer was placed on the retired list on 1 October 1934 and was appointed brigadier general on the retired list on 23 February 1942.