Brig. Gen. Evans Fordyce Carlson is known in history as a three-time awardee of the Navy Cross, a Marine who had served in several wars as an enlisted man and officer, the co-founder of the Marine commando organizations in World War II, the man who populized the phrase "gung ho," and a close friend of Jimmy Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. See Wikipedia and this recent article in Naval History Magazine, Tesluk, Michael, "The Marines Commando Experiment" (Aug. 2014).
The Naval History Magazine article compares then Maj. Carlson, who commanded the Marines 2nd Raider Battalion, to Lt. Col. Merrit Edson, who commanded the 1st Raider Battalion: Whereas Edson was "orthodox" and "conservative" and a "tried and true professional Marine officer, Carlson, in the words of an officer who served in both units, "Carlson was extremely liberal. . . . [He] picked up a lot of ideas in China that weren’t too popular with the establishment. He arranged daily meetings with his men to preach his version of Oriental philosophy, the gospel of “gung ho” [Chinese for “work together”]. Any enlisted man had the right to see Carlson without going through the chain of command. Rank had no privileges."
Have any historians, writing about Carlson or the Raiders, discussed just how unpopular was Carlson with the establishment, or whether senior commanders may have suspected him of being a communist? Have any historians discussed why Edson received a Medal of Honor for his unit's heroics at Guadalcanal whereas Carlson's award for that battle was a step lower? Note, Carlson died in 1947 three years before McCarthyism took root.