The annual announcement of the publication of the Marine Corps Gazette’s MajGen Richard C. Schulze Memorial Essay tells us that these essays are made possible by drawing upon the earnings of an endowment established by friends of the late MajGen Schulze. MajGen Schulze died on 10 November 1983, the day of the Marine Corps birthday. There have been 20 essays, published 1 per year since 1984, each solicited from prominent military historians, analysts, and observers. The list of contributors and the significance of their subjects has been impressive, including such as Senator James H. Webb, Jr. writing on “The Military and the Media,” LtGen Victor H. Krulak addressing “A Soldier’s Dilemma,” and Dr. George Heilmaier on “the Influence of Technology on Warfare in the 21st Century,” all major subjects by major authors.
The Gazette annual announcement tells only part of the story. It is true that friends of MajGen Schulze supported the fund, but the announcement doesn’t tell of the importance of the principal financier and founder of the endowment and his friendship with Dick Schulze. At a reception hosted by MajGen Schulze’s widow following a 1983 memorial service for the deceased Marine, Gregor Peterson, a Marine veteran who had served with and been a close family friend of Dick, asked another of the guests what he thought would be a fitting memorial for his former shipmate. The guest, also a Marine and an enthusiastic supporter and frequent contributor to the Marine Corps Gazette, suggested that the funding of an annual essay in the journal solicited from prominent authors would be appropriate. MajGen Schulze had also been a frequent contributor to this professional journal for Marines. Col John E. Greenwood, then-editor of the Gazette once wrote:
Gen Schulze wrote many fine articles for the Marine Corps Gazette throughout his career. He was articulate and thoughtful. He liked to tackle complex problems. His articles tended to be comprehensive and philosophical, but he had a way of coming through to the heart of the issues and clarifying them.1
Mr. Peterson accepted the idea of an annual essay, and a lunch date was arranged with Col Greenwood.
At the lunch Greg wrote a generous check that served as the core of the memorial fund. In his characteristic humility, Greg indicated that he didn’t want to be identified as the sole source of the memorial’s fund and asked that additional contributions be solicited from other friends of MajGen Schulze. The third Marine at the lunch volunteered to solicit contributions from these friends, and the coffers grew to permit endowing articles in the publication.
At the core of this story is the friendship between Greg and Dick that was incubated in their Marine Corps service. They became acquainted while serving at the San Diego Recruit Depot in 1956. They had much in common—both graduates of Stanford University, both native to the San Francisco Bay area, both living in Point Loma and sharing a single car to take them to and from the depot, which gave them ample time to discover their common interests, values, and dedication to the Corps. Their ladies, Sally Schulze and Dion Peterson, had much the same relationship, and their sons were contemporaries. In short, they became good family friends as well as professional shipmates. There was much admiration and respect between the two Marines, and those who knew them recognized that both characterized admirable standards of integrity and honesty.
Then Greg, having completed his 3 years of obligated service, left active duty and returned to Stanford to earn a graduate business degree. Dick, a career Marine, distinguished himself in a series of significant assignments. As all Marines have experienced, leaving active duty is not leaving the Corps. A significant tie to the Corps for Greg was his friendship with Dick. The two couples corresponded and visited often, whenever circumstances would permit. Greg became a successful business executive in the Northern California Silicon Valley arena. In 1961 he cofounded Sutter Hill Co., one of the first and most influential venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley. He served as executive vice president at another venture capital firm, Genstar Corporation. As an avocation, he taught and consulted for the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He joined the Stanford Board of Trustees in 1982 and endowed a professorship at the business school.
Dick Schulze’s career was equally impressive with one of his last tours of duty being the Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, where he and Greg Peterson first met. He had been awarded a Silver Star for combat in Vietnam and had served as Commanding Officer, The Basic School, where he, as cited in Bob Timberg’s bestselling book, The Nightingale’s Song, “…inspired a generation of young Marine officers, becoming a touchstone of fearless integrity and uncommon if understated leadership.”2 He served as Marine aide to two Secretaries of the Navy and retired from the Marine Corps in 1981, subsequently having a short but impressive career in the civilian sector.
Among his other writing skills, Dick Schulze was a poet and left a collection of over 50 poems he intended to offer for publication. Dick and Greg had a postretirement fancy to jointly own a country newspaper; Dick would be the editor, and Greg would be the printer. In 1989, 5 years after Dick’s death, Greg Peterson, who was a collector of antique printing presses and an amateur printer, published a beautiful volume of these poems, titled Leatherneck Square.3 Greg enlisted a professional printer to manage the effort, but, in a labor of respect for Dick, handset every letter himself. There were only 125 copies printed of this elegant book although it was later released in a soft cover edition.
Dick and Greg’s long-term friendship emanating from their Marine Corps careers, one as a professional and the other as a citizen-soldier, as close as it was, is not unique. There are legions of Marine veterans, from private to general from laborer to senior executive, who have fostered the friendships they enjoyed while in uniform. But this does not denigrate the special relationship between Marines Peterson and Schulze that is sustained in part by the Schulze Memorial Essay. They are brothers in the Corps.
1. Greenwood, Col John E., “Poems by a Professional,” Marine Corps Gazette, Quantico, June 1990, p. 82.
2. Timberg, Robert, The Nightingale’s Song, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1995, p. 146.
3. Schulze, Richard C., Leatherneck Square, The Huckleberry Press, Lake Tahoe, NV, 1989.