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.
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.
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.
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.