The Most Decorated Marine Officer in World War II

The Most Decorated Marine Officer in World War II

How many Marines remember this Marine who had the Courage to challenge the Enemy in his own town of Occupation?

Peter Ortiz (1913-1988) Colonel Ortiz spoke 5 languages fluently and was the most decorated Marine officer in World War II. He served in the O.S.S. and, before that, was the youngest Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion. In 1940, he was wounded and captured by the German invading army, he escaped and joined the U.S. Marines. Parachuting into France, he became a Maquis (French underground) leader in 1944. He frequented a Lyons nightclub to gain information from the German officers who also frequented the popular club.

One night, a German officer d-mned President Roosevelt, then the USA, and finally the Marine Corps. Ortiz then excused himself, went to his apartment and changed into his Marine Corps uniform. Returning to the club, he ordered a round then removed his raincoat and stood there resplendent in full greens and decorations yelling, “A toast to President Roosevelt!” Pointing his pistol at one German officer then another, they emptied their glasses as he ordered another round to toast the USA then the Marine Corps! The Germans again drained their glasses as he backed out leaving his astonished hosts and disappeared into the night.

After the war, Colonel Ortiz worked with director John Ford, also a former OSS member. The films 13 Rue Madeleine (1947) and Operation Secret (1952) were based on his exploits.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

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9 comments


  • Greg Willard 0311, 8651, 8511, 0142

    When your a Drill Instructor you dream of a platoon full of “recruits” like this.


  • GYSGT. Danny Marso,Transport Co.(-)(+) 6th MT BN,4TH FSSG,4th MarDiv

    I had read about Maj. Ortiz from an article in Leatherneck magazine several years ago. They mentioned tha he was in a John Ford movie,Rio Bravo,with John Wayne. He porter yes a U S Calvary officer,we had a copy of the movie, so my Wife and I watched it to see this real hard core Marine hero. He had balls enough to be Platoon by himself!


  • t. Jack Wireman 2nd Recon1972 -1977

    Maj. Ortiz, is what the Marine Corps is made up as. Men that can look fear in the face an just say get out of my way, I got work to do today.. The Marine Corps has so many of these men that can do their jobs no matter what is going on around them. I know I have seen men like Maj.Ortiz and is was my honor to have been with such great young men.


  • CharlesT

    He was an actor, known for Rio Grande (1950), Retreat, Hell! (1952) and The Halliday Brand (1957). He died on May 16, 1988 in Prescott, Arizona, USA. (link) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0651237/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm


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