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Elias R. Beadle

First Commander of Recruit Training, Parris Island

Lt. Col. Elias R. Beadle
Lt. Col. Elias R. Beadle

Among those prominently associated with the island and the Marine Corps is Capt. Elias R. Beadle, the first commander of the recruit depot at Parris Island. Beadle enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1899. After four years of enlisted service, he was discharged to accept an appointment as a second lieutenant. He completed tours with ship detachments on board the armored cruisers USS Maryland and USS Washington and later was with the 1st Brigade in the Philippines and on expeditionary duty in Cuba. In June 1911, he was ordered to Parris Island to join an incipient recruit training program. He took over Company B, one of three companies training enlisted recruits. The program only lasted a few months, and in August 1911, Beadle and the training section were transferred to the Navy Yard at Charleston, S.C., where the training of the recruits was completed.

Beadle remained with the training section when it was moved from Charleston to the Navy Yard at Norfolk, Va., and in June 1912. Beadle became the executive officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Norfolk. When the section was transferred back to Parris Island in October 1915, the 37-year-old Beadle became the new depot's commanding officer, a position he held until February 1917 when he was succeeded by Col. Thomas C. Treadwell. Beadle, promoted to major, remained and served as the depot’s executive officer until 1921 and was responsible for the training of tens of thousands of Marines for World War I. By the time he left the depot, he was recognized as the Marine Corps’ top expert of recruit training.

After duty in Haiti, he was assigned as the executive officer, Adjutant and Inspector’s Department, Headquarters Marine Corps. He returned to Parris Island from June 1926 to June 1927, serving as both the depot's chief of staff and on occasion its commanding officer. From here, he was sent to Nicaragua where he formed, trained and commanded the Guardia Nacional and oversaw the elections of 1928. He received high praise for his work in Nicaragua and received the Navy Cross for his services. Beadle retired from the Marines as a lieutenant colonel in March 1930. He died Nov. 18, 1946.