Bougainville

The Greatest Generation — Dad’s photos with ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines — Pacific Theater

Charles D. Brodhead (enlisted as a Private and left service as a Sergeant)

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of my father’s passing, and also, of far less significance, the 6th anniversary of this blog. I started it with him in mind, knowing how much family history meant to him. It’s a shame he has not been here to help me fill in pieces I can’t quite pull together or celebrate the discoveries I make with me. But I know he is here in spirit, and, perhaps, it was he who steered my hands last week toward a faded and plain, nondescript envelope containing the below photos from early on in his service during WWII. As you may recall from a past post, he served in A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines. It looks like the photos were all taken on Guadalcanal except one, a view of Samoa.

Pacific Theater – WW II – 1941-1945 (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin)

The photos are an amazing find. I was especially delighted to see the faces of a few of the men my Dad spoke so highly of while I was growing up, especially 1st Sgt Frank DaVanon. So this post and the photos are dedicated to Dad (Charles D. Brodhead), these men, and all the others who served alongside him.

I have included all of his captions (Thank you, Dad!) both on the images and written out separately below so that search engines can find them. Perhaps someone ‘out there’ will find a photo of their greatest generation family member. And if you recognize someone, please feel free to leave a comment below.  Thank you, and Happy Easter, All.

I am repeating the captions below so that search engines can pick them up for any family members who may be searching for their servicemen.

Photo 1: “A” Company specialists at Guadalcanal. Front row left to right: Grier, Co. Property Sgt; Stein, cook; Coleman, runner; DeMarco, Asst. Property Sgt; Rear row left to right: Black, buglar; Butkiewicz, jeep driver; Edwards, signalman; Fiands, cook

Photo 2: Some of ‘A’ Company men with Japanese flag at Guadalcanal, 1943.
Front (left to right): Rothberg, Gresko, Standley, and Wilshere Rear (left to right): 1st Sgt DaVanon, Tezack, Wilson, and Urbanovitch

Photo 3: ‘A’ Co. group at Guadalcanal, 1943: Front (left to right): Murphy, Vaught, Morris, and Callentine Rear (left to right): Morris, Phillips, Kaier, and Thornton

Photo 4: ‘A’ Company Staff NCOs and company commander after Bougainville operation, 1943.
Front (left to right): Gunnery Sgt Rowley; Captain C.F. Quilici; and Gunnery Sgt Urbanavitch
Standing (left to right): Gunnery Sgt Wilson; 1st Sgt DaVanon; and Platoon Sgt Morris

Photo 5: ‘A’ Co. 1st Bn, 3rd Marines – Group of Mortar and Machine Gun Sections, Taken at Guadalcanal after Bougainville operation, 1943 Front (left to right): Fansler, mortar squad leader; Low, mortar gunner; Watson, mortar gunner; and Cort, machine gunner Rear (left to right): Logan, machine gunner; Trott, machine gunner; Rowley, Gunnery Sgt; Colarulli, machine gunner; and Brown, machine gunner

Photo 6: ‘A’ Co. after Bougainville operation, 1943. Sorting accumulated mail and Christmas packages.
Foreground, sitting, 1st Sgt DaVanon; Kneeling, back to camera, Brodhead (Dad)

Photo 7: Taken at Guadalcanal before Bougainville operation, in front of property storage tent.
Front (left to right): Teofilo Romero (killed at Bougainville); Grier; and Rice
Standing (left to right): DeMarco, Steger, and Fiands

Photo 8: On beach at Guadalcanal, 1943. Some of the ‘A’ Co. gang. Note palm trees torn by shellfire.

Photo 9: Pvt. Charles D. Brodhead, US Marines Sept 1943, Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands

Photo 10: Islanders fishing

Photo 11: Guadalcanal, 1943: Sgt. H.B. Grier and a couple of natives

Photo 12: Samoa, 1942

Photo 13: Gunnery Sgt W.W. Wilson, Jr. and BoBo (an orphaned native boy of Guadalcanal)
Photo taken in 3rd Division bivouac area in Lever Bros. coconut plantation.

Photo 14: Guadalcanal, 1943. 1st Sgt DaVanon and two natives.

Photo 15: Photo taken on beach at Guadalcanal showing members of ‘A’ Co., 1st Bn, 3rd Marines digging foxholes of

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Categories: Bougainville, Brodhead, Guadalcanal, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Pop’s WW II Service

Brodhead_Charles_Marines

Company A, 3rd Marines, New River, NC, Aug. 1942

Much to his parents’ chagrin, my dad enlisted in the Marines in 1942. He left home in July of that year (see photo taken below on July 4, 1942), and one month later, he was headed toward the Pacific, not to return home again until November 1944, two-and-a-half years later. But, thank God, he returned. So many of his buddies did not.

He served with Company A, 3rd Marine Division. Above is a very large photo of his company taken in New River, NC, prior to their departure to California and then onwards to New Zealand and finally the Pacific theater of operations. My dad, age 21 and looking very skinny at the time, can be seen standing in the first row of the company photo, on the far right. Because he had extremely good typing skills (120+ wpm), he was tasked with additionally serving as the company’s secretary for the commanding officers. Part of that was helping to keep track of all those sick, killed, wounded, discharged, transferred, and MIA. He noted on the company photo in red ink what became of some of his fellow Marines. Unfortunately, I am not sure what his abbreviations stand for.

Honorable Discharge

Honorable Discharge

During his service with the Marines, he attained the rank of Sargent and was honorably discharged on Nov. 25, 1945. My dad was very proud of his military service, and rightly so, though he rarely spoke of it. He did keep in touch with a few buddies over the years, exchanging Christmas cards and occasional letters, but there were never any reunions.

New Zealand made a great impression on him, and he always wanted to return there some day. He made friends with a family there that he maintained contact with for many years. Samoa was also a highlight. Another family befriended him there and gave him a beautiful tapa cloth which was displayed prominently in our home growing up. They also corresponded for a while but eventually lost touch.

Pacific Theater - WW II - 1941-1945 (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin)

Pacific Theater – WW II – 1941-1945 (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin)

Company A, 3rd Marine Division:
August 1 to October 25, 1943: Under Japanese aerial bombardment at Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands
November 1, 1943 to December 25, 1944: Participated in the capture and defense of Bougainville, British Solomon Islands
July 21 to August 15, 1944, Participated in the capture of Guam, Participated in the consolidation of the Solomon Islands.
February 25 to April 4, 1945: Iwo Jima

Dad received a 30-day furlough home in November 1944 and spent Christmas 1944 with family. He then received orders to remain in Quantico, VA, for six months. He ended up staying there until his discharge.

Furlough notice, probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal, Nov/Dec 1944

Furlough notice, probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal, Nov/Dec 1944

A summary of the 3rd Division’s service can be found here.
More on the capture of Guam can be found here.
For an Iwo Jima chronology, click here.
For more Pacific Theater links, click here.

To view photos in the Gallery in an enlarged format, click on any one of them and then use the arrows to view them as a slide show.

Categories: Bougainville, Brodhead, Guadalcanal, Guam, Solomon Islands, WWII | 2 Comments

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