BEAUFORT, S.C. August 20, 2015 — Thousands of Marines and civilian personnel drive on Geiger Boulevard to come arrive and depart Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort each day. The road was named after Gen. Roy S. Geiger, the fifth Marine aviator and first Marine to lead an Army.
Geiger enlisted in the Marine Corps as a Private in November 1907 and attended basic training on Naval Station Norfolk, Va. After submitting his college degree with a request to become a Marine officer, Geiger was accepted, and earned his commission as a second lieutenant in February 1909.
In the years following his commissioning, Geiger was stationed aboard two Navy battleships and in several foreign nations. Upon his return to the United States, Geiger became an aviator June 9, 1917.
Geiger arrived in France approximately one year after graduating flight school, and served with the Royal Air Force at Dunkirk, France. He commanded a squadron of the First Marine Aviation Force attached to the Northern Bombing Group, consisting of Navy and Marine Corps squadrons tasked with scouting and bombing German submarine bases during World War I. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his distinguished leadership and service.
Geiger attended various military courses and served in high roles within the Marine Corps aviation community after World War I. In 1931, he was assigned a four–year post as the officer in charge of Marine Corps aviation, known today as the deputy commandant for aviation.
In April 1941, Geiger was attached to a British command and became the first U.S. military observer at the beginning of World War II. He then became the commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, upon his arrival back to the U.S.
One year after becoming the commanding general of 1st MAW, Geiger was stationed at Guadalcanal to lead the Cactus Air Force, an Allied Forces air power assigned to Guadalcanal, during the early part of the Campaign. Geiger was the commander of the combined Army, Navy and Marine Air Forces stationed there during a portion of his time spent on Guadalcanal. He was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for his leadership and service during the conflict.
Geiger was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed as the Commanding General of Fleet Marine Force Pacific in July 1945. Three months later, Geiger was the only Marine Corps representative aboard the USS Missouri for the formal surrender of Japan Sept. 2, 1945.
Upon his return back to the U.S., Geiger was transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps in November 1946.
Months after his transfer, Geiger passed away from lung cancer Jan. 23, 1947. Geiger was posthumously promoted to General by the 80th Congress, Jan. 23, 1947. Geiger is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Geiger’s legacy in the Corps and aviation community is carried on to this day, not only as a road name but in the passages of history where he etched his name.