MAX W. SCHAEFFER, LTCOL, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Max Schaeffer '28

Date of birth: September 30, 1905

Date of death: January 29, 1945

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1928 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Max was lost on January 29, 1945, while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. It's unclear exactly which path he took, though he was aboard Oryoku Maru. It is likely that he was then taken aboard Brazil Maru, which reached Moji on January 29.

Prior to his capture at the fall of Corregidor, he was the Services Company Commander for the 4th Marines; he was in command of the regimental reserve during the Japanese assault on that island.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

From Corregidor.org:

The new organization went into bivouac in Government Ravine as part of the regimental reserve. The reserve had heretofore consisted of men from the Headquarters and Service Companies, reinforced by Philippine Air cadets and Marines from Bataan. Major Max W. Schaeffer, who had replaced Major King as reserve commander, had organized this force of approximately 250 men into two tactical companies, O and P. Company O was commanded by Captain Robert Chambers, Jr. and Company P by Lieutenant Hogaboom; the platoons were led by Marine warrant officers and senior NCOs.

A good part of Schaeffer's men had primary duties connected with regimental supply and administration, but each afternoon the companies assembled in the bivouac area where the troops were instructed in basic infantry tactics and the employment of their weapons. Despite the constant interruptions of air raids and shellings, the Marines and Filipinos had a chance "to get acquainted with each other, familiarize themselves with each others' voices, and to learn [the] teamwork" so essential to effective combat operations. Frequently, Major Schaeffer conducted his company and platoon commanders on reconnaissance of beach defenses so that the reserve leaders would be familiar with routes of approach and terrain in each sector in which they might fight.

There is more mentioned about Max's actions during the frenetic action on Corregidor following the Japanese landing.

Remembrances

From History Net:

Major Schaeffer, the bravest man I have ever known, asked for volunteers to see if there was anything left of Battery Geary, and up the hill we went.

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

Major Max W. Schaeffer (MCSN: 0-4357), United States Marine Corps, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Major

Related Articles

Francis Williams '30 was closely and frequently involved with Max on Corregidor.

Memorial Hall Error

One memorial, and the USMC casualty lists, have his rank as LTCOL. In Memorial Hall he is a Major. Posthumous promotion? Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1945 has Major. (Have been unable to locate a 1946 edition of this document.)

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1928

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT John Heil '28.

January 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT John Heil '28.

April 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT John Heil '28.

July 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Hampton Roads, Virginia

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28.

October 1929

2nd Lieutenant, for assignment, Asiatic station

January 1930

2nd Lieutenant, for assignment, Asiatic station

April 1930

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

October 1930

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

January 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

April 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

July 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

October 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

January 1932

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

April 1932

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

October 1932

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

January 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Headquarters, Department of the Pacific

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20.

April 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington

July 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington

October 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington

April 1934

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington

July 1934

2nd Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20 and 2LT Chandler Johnson '29.

October 1934

2nd Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Ronald Boone '20 and 2LT Chandler Johnson '29.

January 1935

1st Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Ronald Boone '20 and 1LT Chandler Johnson '29.

April 1935

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California

Others at this command: 1LT Chandler Johnson '29.

October 1935

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California

January 1936

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California

April 1936

1st Lieutenant, USS Argonne

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Knowlton Williams '25 (Base Force).

July 1936

1st Lieutenant, USS Argonne

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Knowlton Williams '25 (Base Force).

January 1937

Captain, USS Argonne

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Knowlton Williams '25 (Base Force).

April 1937

Captain, USS Argonne

Others at or embarked at this command: LT John Wymond '24 (Base Force) and LT Knowlton Williams '25 (Base Force).

September 1937

Captain, Motor Transport School, Camp Holabird, Maryland

January 1938

Captain, Motor Transport School, Camp Holabird, Maryland

July 1938

Captain, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at or embarked at this command: CAPT Lofton Henderson '26 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), CAPT John Heil '28 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 1LT Hector De Zayas '32 (1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 1LT John Butler '34 (1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), and 2LT Robert Moore '36 (1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

January 1939

Captain, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at or embarked at this command: CAPT Lofton Henderson '26 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), CAPT John Heil '28 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), CAPT Chandler Johnson '29 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 1LT Hector De Zayas '32 (1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 1LT John Butler '34 (1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), and 2LT Robert Moore '36 (1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

October 1939

Captain, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at or embarked at this command: CAPT Ernest Pollock '28 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), CAPT John Heil '28 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), CAPT Robert Brown '31 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 1LT John Butler '34 (1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), and 1LT Robert Moore '36 (1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

November 1940

Captain, Motor Transport Company, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: MAJ Charles Kail '23, CAPT Hector De Zayas '32, 1LT Robert Moore '36, and 1LT James Bromeyer '37.

April 1941

Captain, Motor Transport Company, 4th Marine Regiment, China

Others at this command: MAJ Charles Kail '23, CAPT Hector De Zayas '32, 1LT Robert Moore '36, and 1LT James Bromeyer '37.


Class of 1928

Max is one of 17 members of the Class of 1928 on Virtual Memorial Hall.