Gillette, Melvin E., COL

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Service Branch
Signal Corps
Last Primary MOS
8500-Pictorial Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Adjutant General (Officer)
Primary Unit
1945-1947, 0210, US Army Forces, Middle Pacific
Service Years
1916 - 1947
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Presidential Certificate of Appreciation

Signal Corps

Colonel



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Illinois
Illinois
Year of Birth
1892
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Gillette, Melvin E., COL.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Berwick
Last Address
Presidio of San Francisco, CA

Date of Passing
Sep 11, 1947
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961


 Unofficial Badges 

Signal Shoulder Cord




 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Colonel Melvin E. Gillette, the "architect of Military Pictorial Service" organized and direct Fort Monmouth's first training Film Field Unit in 1937 and the first Training Film Production Laboratory in 1940.


When the laboratory was moved to Long Island City, New York, in 1942 and was incorporated into the new Signal Corps Photographic Center, Long Island City, New York, Colonel Gillette became the Center's first commanding officer.


Colonel Gillette was born in Berwick, Illinois, on Nov. 15, 1892. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree from Des Moines (Iowa) College, he served with the Iowa National Guard, first on the Mexican Border and, with the outbreak of World War I, with the Guard's Quartermaster Corps.


In 1920 he received a Regular Army commission in the Infantry and served for the ensuing nine years as an Infantry officer. Three of those nine years were spent in the Canal Zone.


His Signal career started in 1929 when he transferred to the Signal Corps. He became immersed in the Corp's Pictorial Branch and studied motion picture production methods in Hollywood, headed the Signal Corps Photographic Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and was actively engaged in the production of military educational film before organizing the field film unit at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.


Gillette served as the Army pictorial representative on General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Allied Headquarters staff in North Africa and as photographic officer with the Fifth Army in Italy under General Mark Clark. He was decorated with the Legion of Merit for his service with the Fifth Army for "planning and establishing an effective photographic system to cover the Allied operations in Italy." His citation states further:


"His filming of special motion picture sequences and rapid distribution of photographic news events to the United States was a tribute to (his) brilliance in the field of photography and organization ."


In 1945 he served as pictorial officer for MIDPAC and later as deputy signal officer and chief signal officer, AFMIDPAC.


He returned to San Francisco in January 1947, suffered a heart attack that July and died on September 11, 1947.


Colonel Gillette also held the Bronze Star for his service with MIDPAC, the World War I and II Victory Medals, the World War I Mexican Border Service Medal and several campaign ribbons.


In 1948, the Pictorial Center of the Presidio, San Francisco was dedicated in his memory and named the Gillette Pictorial Center. Colonel Gillette is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.


   
Other Comments:
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit

Melvin E. Gillette
Signal Section Headquarters
Fifth Army


for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service in Italy from 8 October 1943 to 5 June 1944. In connection with the planning for and the establishment of an effective photographic system to cover the Allied operations in Italy, Colonel Gillette, organized a Photographic Division within the Signal Section, Headquarters, Fifth Army and was responsible for the administrative organization of the supporting units and for the supervision and coordination of all the photographic services in Fifth Army. Through his experience with the Army Pictorial Service and his foresight, tact and industry, photographic service was established on a firm foundation whereby regular missions of providing news pictures for release to the public and official pictorial war records were provided. His filming of special motion picture sequences and rapid distribution of photographic news events to the United States was a tribute to Colonel Gillette’s brilliance in the field of photography and organization.
   
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 Unit Assignments
ARNG, IowaPanama Canal DepartmentSignal Units5th Army (Fifth Army)
US Army Pacific (USARPAC)
  1916-1920, ARNG, Iowa
  1929-1932, 1542, Panama Canal Department
  1929-1943, Signal Corps Pictoral Center
  1943-1944, 5th Army (Fifth Army)
  1945-1947, US Army Pacific (USARPAC)
  1945-1947, 0210, US Army Forces, Middle Pacific
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1916-1917 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)
  1918-1918 Champagne-Marne Campaign/Battle of Chateau-Thierry
  1941-1943 WWII - American Theater
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1943-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Naples-Foggia Campaign (1943-44)
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rome-Arno Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater
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