|Piecing together George E. B. Carls service history with the United States Marine Corps has been a little problematic. The
main source of available information come from monthly returns from U.S. military posts and monthly U.S. Marine Corps
muster rolls. While in theory quite a complete picture could me made from these source of an individual soldier of Marine's
career the available image are all from old microfilm files and the resulting quality ranges from crisp and clear to almost
unreadable. The following information is the best and as complete as I can provide based upon the two afore mentioned
sources and is supplemented by other sources as available.
enlisted as a Private in the United States Marine Crops at the Marine Recruiting Office at Altoona, Pennsylvania on 30
March, 1906 and reported for duty at League Island Navy Yard Marine Barracks the following day. In April Carls was sick for
two days and then in the best tradition of the Marine Corps was assigned to the mess hall as soon as he had recovered. In
April he was assigned to the USS Columbia - a cruiser that was being used as a receieving/training vessel at the time - as a
member of "E" Company, 1st Battalion. Provisional Regiment which deployed to Colon, Panama that same month. While in
Panama Carls was given special duty as a carpenter at the Marine headquarters building. Carls would remain assigned to "E"
Company, 1st Battalion, Provisional Regiment, USMC for his entire term of enlistment.
In August 1906 Carls returned to the United States and was posted to the Portsmouth Navy Yard Marine Barracks in New
Hampshire until September when the 1st Battalion boarded the USS Newark for Camp Taft, Cienfuegos Cuba. Carls was listed
as sick immediately after arrival in Cuba and one might think that he had been affected by the close confines of the ship or by
sea sickness. He remained at Camp Taft until moving to the Marine Barracks at Camp Thomas, Manzanillo, Cuba in
At Camp Thomas Carls would slip into the routine of garrison life. He would in fact spend rest of his overseas deployment
here. In June 1907 he would be appointed Corporal and in August he was granted a pass by his commanding officer to go
hunting from the 18th to the 24th of that month. While the muster roll tells us that interesting bit of trivia it is silent at to what
kind of game, if any, Carls may have returned with.
Several months of muster rolls are missing and it is in January 1908 that we find Carls having been promoted Sergeant and on
detached duty at Camp Columbia, Havana, Cuba, guarding a prisoner and serving as a witness at a general court martial -
presumably of the prisoner he had in his charge. In October, 1908 Carls was appointed Acting Sergeant and assigned special
duty as Seregant of Military Police. In November he travelled to Santiago, Cuba to again serve as a witness at a general court
In December 1908 the 1st Battalion, boarded the USS Prairie for redeployment to the Norfolk Navy Yard Marine Barracks in
Virgina. At this time Carls was appointed Acting First Sergeant in "B" Company. After arriving back in the United States
Carls was granted a 30 day furlough in April, 1909. Returning from furlough he was appointed Bandsman in May 1909. In July
and August he was on detached duty at the Marine Rifle Range at Williamsburg, Virgina. Unfortunately the muster rolls are
again silent as to he actual duties while there.
The only blot in Carls otherwise exemplary career occurred in November, 1909 when he was found guilty of "gross and
deliberate neglect of duty" and was sentenced to 30 days restriction.
Sergeant George Edmund Brehman Carls took his discharge form the United States Marine Corps at the Norfolk Navy Yard
Marine Barracks on 31 March 1910 and was stated to be recommended for the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal should he
reenlist. A hand written note on the bottom margin of the muster states that: "Sergt. George E. B. Carls was awarded Good
Conduct Medal # 1729 delivered Dec 24/10." It may have been a pleasant Christmas gift for Carls arriving when it did.
George E. B. Carls was born on 27 July, 1888 at Sinking Valley, Pennsylvania, the son of Harry V. Carls and Emma Jane Lotz.
After his discharge he married Miss Grace E. Meals and remained a lifelong resident of Altoona, Pennsylvania. Working as a
building contractor for some 35 years he was also worked for the Altoona Highway Department. The couple had six children.
George E. B. Carls died at Altoona, Pennsylvania on 25 June, 1968. In his obituary published in the Huntingdon Daily News it
mentions Carls service in the Marine Corps but also states that he served as a Sergeant Major in the Marine Band in
Washington D.C. I have found no evidence to show that Carls was ever of the Marine Band - an organization separate from
the regular Marine Corps and known as "The President's Own" which was made famous by its most noted leader John Phillip
Sousa. While it is possible that Carls was a member of the Marine Band it is also possible that the reporter writing the obituary
so many years after the fact simply confused Carls' membership in his regimental band with that of The President's Own.
|Above: Sergeant George Edmund Brehman Carls of the United States Marine Corps in a photograph taken at Manzanillo,
Cuba as a Christmas gift to an un-named friend in 1906. He wears a good example of the tropical service uniform worn by
the Marine Corps in the period between the Spanish-America War and World War One. There was a fair amount of
variation the these uniforms - his tunic and pants are of differing fabrics - and in the case of Cuba stations many were
manufactured by local civilian Cuban tailors. I have a Cuban made tropical service uniform dating from World War One
consisting of two tunics and one set of Jodhpur style trousers and all three items while of a Khaki shade of cotton twill are
of differing colors and fabric weave.
7 3/4 Inches by 5 3/4 Inches
(19.8cm x 14.8 cm)
F. Rondon - Photographer
Macco 21, Mazanillo, Cuba
25 December, 1906