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Doug Campbell


Date and Place of Birth: July 1, 1921 Missoula, MT
Date and Place of Death:    November 20, 1943 Tarawa, Gilbert Islands
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Second Base
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division US Marine Corps
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

“Douglas Campbell of Missoula [Montana], as fine an infielder as ever spiked a diamond in this state, has an excellent opportunity to advance in professional baseball now.”
The Missoulian, September 1, 1940

Douglas K. Campbell, the son of Senator John L. and Mary Campbell, was born on July 1, 1921, in Missoula, Montana. Young Doug was around baseball from an early age. His father played baseball around Montana and later served as president of the Montana State League, a fiercely competitive independent league that had been a minor league in the 1920s.

Campbell played three years on the Missoula American Legion junior team and captained the team when they won the Montana state championship in 1938. He also captained the football and basketball teams at Missoula High School and was all-state quarterback selection his senior year.

He played for the Bonner Lumberjacks of the Montana State League in 1939, then joined the Missoula Pirates in 1940. He batted .293 that year and the 19-year-old was signed by Tom Downey, a Brooklyn Dodgers scout in September. On October 9, 1940, Campbell played for the Montana State League All-Stars against the American League All-Stars. As the lead-off hitter and second baseman, he had two hits on the day in his team’s 10-3 loss to the big leaguers.

Campbell was originally assigned by the Dodgers to the Olean Oilers of the Class D PONY League, but was sent to California on March 14, 1941, to join the newly formed Santa Barbara Saints of the Class C California League. Campbell was released by the Saints two days before the season started and joined the Fargo-Moorhead Twins of the Class C Northern League, where he got two hits in his first game but only played a handful of games before returning to Missoula. He hit .331 with Missoula for the remainder of the season and batted .364 in 1942, being named outstanding shortstop of the league.

Campbell was just 21 years old when he enlisted in the Marine Corps on December 12, 1942, and was with the 4th Recruit Battalion at Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California, until February 1943. He was then at Camp Elliott, San Diego, before joining the 26th Replacement Battalion, 1st Marine Amphibious Corps in October 1943. Later that month he arrived in Wellington, New Zealand via New Caledonia, where he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

The 2nd Marine Division was engaged in the Battle of Tarawa, the first American offensive in the central Pacific region. Private First Class Campbell was killed in action on the first day of the battle, November 20, 1943.

It was not until January 15, 1944, that Campbell was reported missing in action. The following month, it was confirmed he had been killed and was buried on Tarawa. His remains were later moved to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Doug Campbell Field, home of the American Legion junior baseball team on South Higgins Avenue in Missoula, was named in his honor shortly after his death. The baseball field is no longer in existence and the area, now known as Campbell Park, is the sports facility of the University of Montana.














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Doug CampbellDoug Campbell when he quarterbacked the Missoula Spartans high school football team.

Douglas Campbell
Doug Campbell's grave in Hawaii.

Date Added May 22, 2023

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