Secretary of the Navy Hon. Carlos Del Toro officially upgraded Colonel Louis J. Schott’s Bronze Star medal to the Silver Star medal earlier this year for his heroic actions during the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7472 hosted a ceremony, May 18, celebrating the medal upgrade in Ellicott City, Md.
Many Veterans and family members campaigned for years to have Schott's medal upgraded to the Silver Star Medal, in recognition of his heroic and selfless actions.
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the youngest of eight children, Schott graduated from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, joined the Marine Corps, and was commissioned an infantry officer in 1943.
WWII Era Marine Awarded Silver Star Medal
Photo by Sgt. Benjamin Whitten
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 7472 attend an award ceremony. Retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Lou Schott was awarded the Silver Star Medal, Thursday May 18th, 2023, for his heroic actions during the Battle of Okinawa on June 20th, 1945. Schott, at 102 years old, is the oldest ranking U.S. Marine Corps officer. His Bronze Star Medal was officially upgraded to a Silver Star Medal during a ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7472 in Ellicott City, Maryland.
He deployed to the Pacific, where he led 44 Marines in the bitter Battle of Peleliu in September 1944. Expected to last four days, the battle stretched more than two months. After a week and a half of the fight, only 10 of Schott’s 44 Marines remained. Then he was hit by explosives. Wounded in action, he was medically evacuated and earned a Purple Heart. After recovering from his wounds, he was sent back into action.
On June 20, 1945, as a rifle company commander in the Battle of Okinawa, Schott exposed himself to enemy fire, noticed Japanese forces reinforcing a position through a surrounding cave system, which he helped eliminate, before taking the hill.
According to his Silver Star citation, “He formulated a plan whereby his objective was taken with minimal friendly casualties. By his aggressive initiative and able leadership, 2nd Lt. Schott saved the lives of many of his Marines and Sailors.” For gallantry in combat against enemy forces, he was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States armed forces.
After the war, Schott joined the Marine Corps Reserve, where he served until his retirement at the rank of Colonel. As a civilian he worked as a management analyst for the Social Security Administration and retired in 1977.
At the time of his passing, the 102-year-old Schott was considered the oldest ranking U.S. Marine Corps officer.