Smedley Butler (in the car) at Gettysburg during a Pickett's Charge reenactment by Marines in 1922

? Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.

West Chester native Smedley Darlington Butler started as a celebrated war hero and ended it as one of the military-industrial complex’s most outspoken critics.

Along the way, he became a Marine Corps major general, fought in World War I, was awarded 16 medals, and served as Philadelphia’s director of public safety.

Butler was also central to a controversy known as the “Business Plot,” in which a group of fascists allegedly tried to recruit him to lead an army of 150,000 and stage a coup to overthrow then-U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In the meantime, he found time to speak about…dating. Here’s a recap of some of the high points of the wild ride that was Butler’s time on this planet.

Avatar photo

Avi Wolfman-Arent

Avi Wolfman-Arent is a host on 90.9 FM and an education reporter with WHYY News, where he's worked since 2014. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and education technology...