USN 1915 Haitian Campaign Medal, issued to Pvt. John H. Mann, USMC

This 1915 Haitian Campaign Medal is an original Bailey, Banks & Biddle strike with USN reverse, numbered on the rim “3161”. Many collectors aren’t aware that the 1915 Haitian was only officially produced with the USN reverse, which was issued to both USN and USMC recipients. In 1917 BB&B struck 5,000 numbered medals and in 1924 they produced an additional 300.

Research shows that this medal was issued in 1919 to Pvt. John H. Mann, USMC. Mann was part of the Marine guard of the USS Washington that landed in Port Au Prince in July 1915 and occupied the city until December of that year. He also had brief service in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Mann applied for the Haitian and Mexican campaign medals with the same letter, less than three months after he was discharged in 1919. While the Haitian Campaign Medal was issued to him free of charge, he was informed by the Marine Corps that he would have purchase a Mexican Service Medal from a private supplier (BB&B) at his own expense.

The following is from

The development of a revolutionary movement in Haiti during the last week of June, 1915, caused the State Department to request that a naval force be sent there for the protection of American interests. On June 27, 1915, the U.S.S Washington, Flagship of Rear Admiral W.B. Caperton, U.S. Navy, Commander of the Cruiser Squadron, sailed from Mexican waters via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Cape Haitian, Haiti, where the vessel arrived on July 1, 1915. On July 3, 1915, 1st Lieut. J.P. Wilcox, U.S.M.C., in command of eight men were sent ashore to establish and operate a portable radio station at Cape Haitian. Additional marines were sent ashore on July 3rd and July 9th. On July 27, 1915, Lt. Wilcox and detachment of 18 marines reported aboard the U.S.S. Washington.

On 28 July, 1915, a landing force, consisting of marine detachment, U.S.S. Washington, 12th Company of Marines, and three seamen companies and pioneers, under the command of Captain George Van Orden, U.S.M.C., was landed from the U.S.S. Washington, at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The marine battalion consisted of 2 officers and 162 men, and was commanded by Captain Giles Bishop, U.S.M.C. The bluejacket battalion consisted of 7 officers and 215 men and was commanded by Lieutenant Fred. W. Poteet, U.S. Navy. Captain E.L. Beach, U.S. Navy, landed to take charge of the military and civil functions as Senior Naval Officer ashore at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Two bluejackets wee killed in the action ashore. A portion of the bluejackets battalion landing force returned aboard the U.S.S. Washington on August 14, 1915, and the balance on August 18, 1915.

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