STEPHEN OLMSTEAD LT GENERAL USMC (Ret)
Last Marine Corps Officer on Active Duty from Chosin Reservoir Campaign on Korea Private to Lieutenant General
Of Annandale, VA. Stephen Goodwin Olmstead, Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps (Ret.). Lt. Gen. Olmstead passed away on July 20, 2022 following a brief hospital stay.
Steve was born on November 10, 1929, in Albany, New York and attended PS#16 and Bethlehem Central High School excellent in track, basketball and football. Following a year of college at Champlain College where he played basketball, Steve enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1948 and was assigned to the reserves with initial active-duty assignments at Camp Pendleton, CA, and Marine Barracks, Bangor, WA. Following a brief return to Champlain College, he was called to active duty again with the commencement of the Korean War and reported to the 1st Marine Division where he served as a rifleman and platoon runner with “George” Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines participating in Operations Ripper and Killer and the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. His calmness under fire earned him a battlefield promotion and selection to attend the Officer’s Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1951 and throughout his forty-one year career served in all three active Marine Divisions, commanding at every level to include the 9th Marine Regiment and the 3rd Marine Division/III MAF. Additional combat tours included the Dominican Republic Crisis in 1963 and Vietnam in 1966. Other highlights included command of Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, CA, and Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. After a brief retirement in 1986, Steve was recalled to active duty, appointed to the rank of Lieutenant General, and served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Policy and Enforcement, the Pentagon, Washington, DC. Retiring in 1989, he was the last surviving Marine officer from the Chosin Reservoir Campaign still on active duty.
Throughout the years that followed, Steve remained active in service to the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Community through his participation as chairman of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and as a consultant for the Marine Corps League. He was founder of Partners Against Drug Abuse, President of the Marine Corps Youth Physical Fitness Program, and National Chairman of the Marine Corps Expositions Committee. Additionally, he served as President of the Chosin Few and was an active member of the Military Coalition.
Steve was an avid tennis player, thoroughly enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing, Pike’s Pond and Lake George, NY, and was a huge Duke basketball fan. His own degrees were earned from the University of Maryland and George Washington University in addition to attending the Naval War College and the Harvard School of International Security Affairs Senior Executive Program.
Steve is preceded in death by his father Leo Henry Olmstead of Albany, NY, his mother Charlotte Boody Olmstead of Delmar, NY, and his sister Jane McWilliams of Colorado. He is survived by his wife of seventy years, Vera Mead Olmstead; two daughters, Barbara Schneble, Elizabeth Love (Mike Love), son Stephen G. Olmstead, Jr, (Loretta) all of Swansboro, NC; grandsons Kyle Schneble (Jennifer) and Matthew Schneble (Amy) of Leesburg, VA; Weston Love (Bethany) of Dallas, TX, Cody Love (Molly) of State College, PA, and Stephen G. Olmstead III (Carrie) of Surf City, NC; in addition to six great grandchildren: Jordan Schneble, Rush Schneble, Scott Schneble, Stephen Olmstead IV, Porter Olmstead, and Quinn Love.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 from 5 pm to 8 pm at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Rd., Fairfax, VA 22032.
Funeral services will be held on July 28, 2022 at 1 pm at the United States Marine Memorial Chapel, 3251 Embry Loop, Quantico, VA 22134 followed by interment at the Quantico National Cemetery.
Published by The Washington Post on Jul. 24, 2022.
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