Edward Clyde Kicklighter

Kicklighter, USMC (Ret), Colonel Edward Clyde

Colonel Edward Clyde Kicklighter, USMC (Ret) at age 91, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, passed over peacefully at his son’s home in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday December 1, 2013.

Descended from an early 18th century immigrant from Baden – Wuerttemberg, Germany, Colonel Kicklighter was born in Savannah, Georgia on

March 20, 1922.

He began his Marine Corps career by enlisting on January 29, 1942 after two years of study at Armstrong College. Following indoctrination at the Naval Air Facility, Atlanta, he was sent to the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, Florida as a naval aviation cadet, subsequently becoming the commander of the 2,100 member cadet brigade. Upon graduation in his 110-member class, Kicklighter was one of six cadets selected as Second Lieutenants of Marines and was sent for transitional training as a pilot with American Air Lines, Meacham Field, Texas and, later, for the operational training with United Air Lines, flying several of their western routes. This duty continued 1942-43 and was broadened to include flight assignments throughout the United States. By then a Captain, in 1944 he became the pilot of and aide-de-camp to Major General (later General) Roy S. Geiger, Commanding General of the III Marine Amphibious Corps and for a time the U.S. Tenth Army. General Geiger was the Marine Corps’ Aviator No. 5 and was known throughout the Corps as a tough, hard-driving leader. General Geiger became an influential factor in Captain Kicklighter’s development as a Marine Corps officer.

In 1947, Kicklighter joined VMF-212 for a two-year tour of duty, flying off both carriers and air fields, subsequently becoming its Operations Officer. Following this assignment, he served in the Marine Air Reserve Training Command 1950-1953 and as Commanding Officer of VMA-212 in Korea 1953-54, there completing 100 combat missions, including air-to-air encounters with enemy Russian MIG aircraft.

Subsequent assignments included Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 , 1st Marine Air Wing. CO, H&MS-20 and CO VMAT-20 at MCAS, Cherry Point, NC and Instructor U.S. Naval Academy 1956-59 where he was promoted to Lt. Colonel. During 1960-63, Lt. Colonel Kicklighter was assigned as War Plans Officer in the War Plans Division of the U.S. European Command in Paris, France. In 1964 he was transferred to Japan for duty as Assistant Operations Officer of the 1st Marine Air Wing and was promoted to Colonel. Later assignments were Division Air Office, 1st Marine Division, the Commandant’s Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and during the period 1968-71 he was Officer-in-Charge, Western Hemisphere Division, Plans and Policies, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired from the Marine Corp in 1971.

Colonel Kicklighter’s personal decorations include the Distinguished Flying cross, the Air Medal (11 awards), the Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” (two awards) and Gold Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a USEUCOM Certificate of Achievement, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 star, Asiatic – Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars and numerous other medals and citations.

Colonel Kicklighter earned a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in International Affairs degree from George Washington University. He was a graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, RI, the Aviation Intelligence School at Lowry AFB, CO and the Junior and Senior Courses of the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, VA.

In 1951, he married Lorene Claire Kibble, now deceased. He is survived by sons, John Bradford Kicklighter and Thomas Feiler Kicklighter of Annapolis, Maryland; one sister, Gloria K Warren of Dublin, Ohio; nephews, Dr. Stephen D. Kicklighter, Paul A. Kicklighter, USN (ret) and David Smith; nieces, Dr. Martha G. Walker, Judith A. Kicklighter, and Martha Smith; and a cousin, Lt. General Claude M. Kicklighter, US, Army (Ret) of Washington, DC.

Life Member: First Baptist Church, Savannah, GA; Marine Corps Assn.; Marine Corps Historical Foundation; Naval Aviation Museum Foundation; Retired Officers Assn.

Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery with services at Fort Myers Chapel, and a reception to follow at the Fort Myers Officers Club. Date and time are still to be confirmed. Colonel Kicklighter will be present, in strength and spirit. Colonel Kicklighter is remembered by his sons as a loving father concerned about the welfare of his family and by those with whom he served as a dynamic, confidence-inspiring and forceful leader, an outstanding example of the ideal Marine officer.


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Edward Clyde Kicklighter

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James Martin

April 4, 2014

For 8 years I lived next door to Col. Kicklighter in Alexandria (1984 ~ 1992). Each day we would talk, sitting on the porch of our apartment building, watching the people come and go, and in that time I got to know a very devoted, patriotic Marine. Being with the Army (which he did not hold against me) of course I had my view of the service, but he was always ready to point out the vast importance and commitment the Marines had for their country. He was very proud of his service, but very humble when speaking about it. He was a kind man, helping anyone who needed it in the apartment complex, and giving his advise to all. I had a chance to revisit him in 2004, and without pause he came up, shook my hand with those big claws of his, and greeted me warmly. He was still the great man I sat with all those night, telling stories, feeding his old red dog, and watching over the complex. I can truly say that Ed made a difference in my life, and I was, and still am very proud to have known him. I know if has regrouped with his friends, and watches America still today. God Bless Ed.

February 6, 2014

Dear cousins John and Tom, Our Sympathies to your family. I will miss his thoughtful Christmas greetings. Sincerely Chuck and Sandee Miller

Joyce Hancock

December 21, 2013

Sam and Joyce Hancock
Daughter of Col.R.J.Johnson


December 10, 2013

Deepest sympathy to the family. Sorry to read of this great loss to your family. May God comfort and support you.

Carolyn Bierman

December 10, 2013

We just visited with you at my Dad's funeral in August. Your Dad was such a nice man. He called my parents all the time during their time of sadness. He was important to the Silverthorn family. We pray that you will be comforted by joyful memories. We know that those Marine Corps guys are having a great time in heaven. With sympathy, Marilyn Silverthorn and Carolyn Bierman

Lita Kicklighter North-Owens

December 9, 2013

Dear cousins John and Thomas Kicklighter, from our family to yours our sincerest heartfelt condolences on the recent passing of your father! Another GA cousin posted his obit info on our private FB page, Kicklighter Family Reunions of which I am administrator and creator. Courtesy of the US military have lived out in AZ the last 42 years even though I grew up near Savannah GA and still love to visit. Did not want to miss this opportunity to send a sincere thank you to your family for all military sacrifices throughout the years, a very grateful thank you for sharing so many details of your father's extraordinary and honorable career and to welcome anyone in your family who might be interested to join or visit our private FB page where we share info about annual K-reunions and genealogy information and inquiries. Such a truly amazing celebration of your father's life there will though even more amazing is that the two of you are living celebrations of the lives now of both of your parents! Very happy to know your family and very best regards!