Iwo: D+13. March 4, 1945.

Wilderness

Anthony Marquez couldn’t stand the indignity of death.

hq_marquez
Anthony Marquez on the day he joined the Navy.

He believed in Heaven and Hell, ever since his first Mass as a little boy in Jalisco, Mexico. Pablo and Geronima Marquez instilled strong Catholic values in their large family; it was a comfort during long hours of toil on another man’s beet farm, and strength to carry the “alien” status attached to their name after moving to the United States.[1] Faith was a fundamental part of young Antonio’s life as he grew up in Omaha, went to school, and eventually started working on his own. He was drying eggs for Omaha Cold Storage when he decided there was more to life and joined the navy at the age of seventeen. “Anthony” Americanized his name and place of birth, added a year to his age for good measure, and was sworn in as Apprentice Seaman Marquez.[2] From land-locked Omaha, he went to land-locked Farragut, Idaho, for Hospital Corps schooling. Within six weeks, he was proficient enough to save a life and could shoot well enough to end one.[3]

marquez_a_wounded
Doc Marquez (left) helps a wounded man to the rear during the battle of Iwo Jima.

On 9 September 1943, he joined the First Battalion, 24th Marines as a Hospital Apprentice, First Class. Suddenly, he was an alien no longer. His peers had names like Ben FloresEloy Manzanares, and Alfonso Guerra, and they were accepted by any Miller, Smith, or Brown who carried a rifle or machine gun. Once in combat, they were beloved by the wounded men they treated. “Doc Marquez” believed in life after death, but he fought like hell to keep his buddies in Baker Company alive. On Saipan, he set up a forward aid station and treated casualties in the middle of a fierce counterattack, even as Japanese tanks bore down on his position. It took a lot of faith to face a volley of 37mm shells. But Marquez never went anywhere without his rosary beads around his neck, and he “calmly and efficiently directed the evacuation of the casualties.” Battalion officers recommended a Silver Star Medal for his exploits, but Marquez probably cared little for the decoration. He was proud of his combat-meritorious promotion; prouder still of the lives he helped to save.[4]

Pharmacist’s Mate Marquez faced untold challenges on Iwo Jima. He was barely nineteen years old, a combat-tested veteran in one of the toughest assignments a corpsman could have – a front-line rifle platoon. When the assistant surgeon, Lt. (j.g.) Richards P. Lyon, commented that his corpsmen “knew their business and the rules for survival,” Anthony Marquez was one of the men on his mind.[5] In the early days of the battle, Marquez’s selfless bravery was his defining characteristic. He had been to Mass aboard ship, and his rosary dangled around his neck. In the words of the regimental chaplain, “he was more than prepared to meet his God.” [6]

And then his buddies started noticing how the bodies of the dead preoccupied Doc Marquez. PFC Stanley “Chick” Cupps watched as Marquez risked life and limb to reach fallen Marines, pulling them out of grotesque positions, rearranging limbs and facial expressions into an attitude of dignity and peace. “Doc, whoever shot him is looking right at you,” Cupps warned.[7]

Marquez didn’t listen. Some things were simply too important.

Corporal Thomas E. Underwood was just as attached to Baker Company as Doc Marquez. At home in St. Petersburg before the war, “Ellis” made fishing lures and wound rods for the Florida Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company. More than anything, he wanted to be back home – riding a horse, hunting, or casting a line for trout. His rod and reel were gathering dust since his enlistment in October 1942, but Ellis was plenty busy. “There’s plenty of water around me, but I haven’t been fishing for anything other than Japs,” he quipped in a letter to his parents, George and Cora Underwood.[8] He developed a proficiency with the deadly Browning Automatic Rifle and used it against living targets on Roi-Namur when his company withstood a banzai charge.

underwood 3
“The Weary Warrior” – PFC T. E. Underwood, photographed by W. Eugene Smith on Saipan.

Ellis was more than a killer; he was a leader. After the Marshall Islands campaign, he took charge of a fire team of three other Marines. Although still a private first class, he took command of his squad on Saipan and earned a special commendation for “courageous leadership, initiative, and devotion to duty… and his willingness to give battle.” [9] He received a promotion on the battlefield, and his grizzled face caught the attention of photographers Stanley Troutman and W. Eugene Smith. With the quick clicks of their shutters, Ellis became one of the most recognizable faces of the Pacific War – a fact he absorbed with some bewilderment. “I never had any idea it would get home,” he admitted. “I just bent down low to take a drink, and my picture was taken.” [10] He was more concerned with letting his family know he was “okeh” after weeks of heavy combat.

The Japanese came close to turning the tables on Ellis Underwood. On D+3, something struck him a heavy blow on the head, raising an awful bruise and sending him to the rear for medical treatment. The corporal spent four days in the USS Hocking’s sickbay and two more on the beach before returning to Baker Company. He picked up a new carbine, collected his squad, gruffly greeted his replacements, and on 3 March 1945 led them into action in the Meat Grinder. Every day brought him a little closer to the trout at “the Pass” in St. Pete.

On 4 March, Captain William A. Eddy, Jr.’s Baker Company was responsible for the entire battalion front. To their left was their own regiment’s Second Battalion; on the right, they could just make out the foxholes of the 23rd Marines.[11] The weather was “grey and sullen, and intermittent showers fell from the overcast skies,” notes Lt. Col. Whitman Bartley. Doubtless, the atmosphere reflected the mood of many in the front-line foxholes – especially because “visibility was so limited that all airstrikes were canceled and aerial observation seriously curtailed.” [12]

To make up for this deficit – and to offset the ongoing shortage of 81mm ammunition – the 60mm mortars were getting a serious workout. Baker Company’s three teams started lobbing shells the previous day and never stopped, “firing continuously for 24 hours… within 30 yards of [company] lines” in the words of the battalion After Action Report. This was a testament to the mortarmen’s endurance and skill – thirty yards was considered dangerously close to friendly troops. It was worth the risk, for “as the 60mm mortar fire continued, the amount of enemy fire decreased.” [13]

Baker Mortars Iwo Jima

A mortar team from B/1/24 – note the “413” UNIS mark on the assistant gunner’s sweater – has set up shop in a captured Japanese fighting position. Official USMC photo.

Thanks in part to Baker Company’s hard-fought 125 yard gain on the previous afternoon, the Marine line was beginning to edge past Turkey Knob, leaving the Amphitheater as a salient for mopping-up units to handle. However, they were still mired in the thick belt of defenses that ran through Iwo’s northern area. Many of the gullies and draws in this sector ran down from Hill 382 to the southeast. The Marine advance shifted in direction, moving with the terrain rather than attempting to traverse the dangerous defiles.


“The mortars started their ghastly song…”

As American artillery shells arced overhead in search of Japanese gun emplacements, and 60mm bombs pelted known and suspected strong points, Baker Company jumped off at 0730. For about an hour, everything went as smoothly as it could. The Marines even noticed a rare sight – dead Japanese troops in the open, killed by the mortar fire. Effective as the mortars were, however, they could not reach every emplacement. At 0830, Baker Company ran into yet another complex of mutually supporting strong points. And, as they struggled to reorganize, another rain of Japanese mortar shells came sighing down.

In the Wilderness… there is no quarter and no respite from the song of death.

The song is sung by mortars, among the desolate crevices and gouged shell holes of the Wilderness. An accompaniment is played by rifles and machine guns, keeping the men down in the crevices and shell holes, where the mortars can get them.[14]

PFC John Pope vividly described the experience of being caught in a bombardment during a frontal attack:

We were trained to spread out, never bunch up because one shell can kill several men. Besides, riflemen would rather fire into a group than at an individual…. When a bullet hits a man, he grunts and collapses. You may hear him say, “I’m hit!” but most of the time, there is so much noise you are just conscious of it. You need to keep moving.

When a shell lands, shrapnel may miss you completely, but concussion will knock you for a loop even if it is some distance away. If close enough, it will rip your head or limbs off. If you escape that, it still feels like you have been hit by a giant bat, and when you land, you are addled for a while. But you better get up and keep moving, or the next one may blow you to bits. If shrapnel does hit you – which it will unless you are living a charmed life – even a small piece will carry a piece of dirty cloth from your clothes into the wound, which must be dug out by corpsmen before bandaging you up.

I have seen the bodies of my friends land with no legs or arms, naked except for a smoking web belt around their middle. The thought, if you have the time, is “the war is over for him.” [15]

The shooting war ended for Private Lawrence A. TrowerThe young Marine was carrying the BAR he’d inherited from a dead buddy on the previous day. He had not been fully trained in its use – the BAR, while powerful, was a notoriously complicated weapon prone to jamming – and Trower had to watch what he was doing when he reloaded. As he bent his head to check the magazine, a shell screamed through the air and exploded four feet behind him. “I was knocked unconscious, and my body was pierced by shrapnel,” he said. “The bones in one hand were crushed. When I came to, I ran back to where the radio operator was. I was going so fast I missed the foxhole and had to turn around and come back…. I don’t even remember going back to the beach, don’t even remember going to a hospital. I suppose I was in shock.” [16]

Corporal Underwood refused to succumb to shock. After deploying the remnants of his squad, the veteran NCO went after a Japanese trench only to have his carbine shot from his hands. Without missing a beat, Underwood grabbed a discarded BAR – perhaps the one dropped by Private Trower – and “valiantly led a spirited attack” with his buddies right on his heels. Then a shell exploded behind him, shredding his back. The Marine with the famous face (he would eventually appear on the cover of LIFE Magazine) died attacking a nameless position on Iwo Jima. He would receive a posthumous Bronze Star in exchange for his life.[17]

Fighting at close quarters negated the American advantage of supporting weapons. Although a pair of tanks supported Baker Company, they were hard to maneuver in the tight confines of northern Iwo. Robbed of the full effectiveness of tanks and artillery, Captain Eddy sent for an assault team and assigned Sergeant Harlan Jeffery’s squad to support the struggling First Platoon. Jeffery quickly sized up the situation: four or five caves, all heavily manned. There was nothing for it but to get up close with satchel charges. “Before we could throw a charge into the caves, we had a little hand grenade fight with the Japs,” he wrote in his diary.

Well we finally worked our way to the caves and threw plenty of explosive into them, closing the mouths of the caves up. During the time we was doing all this my asst. squad leader Cpl. Art Stanek was hit by a sniper and had to be evacuated. Later we got in a big shell hole when mortar[s] started landing too close for comfort, they was trying to knock out [two] of our tanks which were right close to us. One shell landed right on the edge of our hole but thank God it was a dud, so we figured it was time to change our position, and brother we did.[18]

Iwo_PoleCharge
Another tool in the demolition man’s arsenal was the pole charge. This Marine is about to pitch the bundle of explosives into a cave ahead. Still from “To The Shores of Iwo Jima.”

In dozens of actions like these, the Marines gradually managed to silence one strongpoint after another, and even drove some Japanese soldiers out into the open, shooting them down without mercy. However, as the battalion’s report noted, “several men were killed and wounded” in the assault and the unabated rain of mortar shells.[19] And behind this position was another – and another, and another, all manned and waiting. The defenders in this area were exhausted and running out of food, water, and ammunition, so they made every shot count. Time and again, Marines approached unassuming rockpiles or crevices only to be shot down by point-blank rifle fire. While the platoons on the left and right flanks managed to move slightly forward, the center of the company – led by 2Lt. Nicholas J. Barbarotto and Platoon Sergeant Wilton C. Fulton – bore the brunt of the violence. Both Barbarotto and Fulton were wounded by shell blasts, as were many of their men.[20]


Counting Cards

The Marine Corps maintains a database of index cards at their Historical Division in Quantico. These yellow and taupe “casualty cards” contain a great deal of useful information – particularly a synopsis of wounds suffered by individual Marines, compiled from a variety of sources in the days, weeks, and months after the event. While they often contain contradictory information (particularly concerning dates) and vary in their degree of detail, Casualty Cards can provide a harrowing glimpse at an event that other sources reduced to a sentence or less.[21]

Thirty-seven Baker Company men were wounded in action on 4 March, and an additional five were killed outright – equal to the size of a full-strength rifle platoon. The majority of these wounds were caused by shell fragments or shrapnel. In addition to Ellis Underwood, PFC Richard E. Jacques and Pvt. Elery W. Lewis lost their lives to explosive projectiles. So too did Private Rondall Baird, the eighteen-year-old replacement who would never meet his baby son.[22] A burst struck Sergeant Charles A. Townsend in the right arm, right shoulder, and head; another hit Private George H. Beisel in the left shoulder and thigh; Sergeant Noel S. Aasen was hit in the face, and Corporal Cloise E. Duncan took a piece through his chest and into his lungs. Blast concussion was a serious worry in the cramped confines of the draws; the traumatic change in pressure felled Platoon Sergeant Fulton and PFC Otto W. Schwarz, Jr. The “point-blank” rifle fire may have caused the wounds to PFC Maynard S. Cosner’s right side, back, and left arm, or clipped the fingers of Corporal Casimir P. Pelc’s left hand. And the shock of battle is evident in the case of Private Ivar Tveter, one of the youngest men in the battalion. Tveter joined Baker Company as a replacement just days after his eighteenth birthday; the action on 4 March was his breaking point. While he also suffered some physical wounds, the main cause of his evacuation was the dreaded (and amorphously ascribed) “combat fatigue.” [23] Casualty reports also reveal a large number of wounds to the back, buttocks, or spine – suggesting that many Marines were ambushed and shot from behind.

Mills_ME CC 1

Four of the thirty-seven wounded men later died, an unusually high number that speaks to the severity of the close-in fighting. Private Marsh E. Mills, Jr., survived a close hit from a shell that would have been kinder to kill him outright. He was carried from the field with shrapnel wounds in his head, chest, spine, right thigh, and right forearm, and sent to the USS Doyen for surgery. The ship’s medical report notes that Mills came aboard at 1600 hours. Doctors quickly assessed the most severe damage – a compound skull fracture and broken vertebrae, with damage to the spinal cord – and declined to operate. Mills was made as comfortable as possible; he died at 0200 on 7 March 1945 and was buried at sea. Similar scenarios played out for Corporal Richard F. Schmidt, Jr., PFC Charles Rospopand Private Anthony J. Scaramellino – none lived for more than three days after being hit.

Marquez_Mother_Medal
The Omaha World Herald, 2 April 1945

More men would have died if not for the actions of corpsmen like Anthony Marquez. He was always on the move, bandaging, splinting, and sprinkling sulfa powder on bloody wounds, soothing his buddies with well-chosen words, and corralling healthier men to assist with evacuations. He took cover when he could – the watchword for the corpsmen was “think and act” – but when a man cried for help, Marquez simply ignored the bullets and shells.[24] At one point during the day, he wound up beside PFC Stanley Cupps as a volley of mortar shells landed nearby. “Chick” and “Doc” waited for wails from the Marines they knew were in the area, but none came. Cupps saw the corpsman’s body tense up and knew what he was thinking. “Don’t go,” he cried. “They’d yell out if anybody was hurt.” Marquez took off at a run.

Cupps saw many broken and bloody bodies on D+13, but the one that stuck in his memory was Marquez. The corpsman’s intuition had been correct: there were wounded men who needed help, unable to speak. As Marquez set about his work, “a mortar shell lighted right next to him,” said Cupps. Shrapnel ripped out most of the corpsman’s neck and the lower part of his head.[25] Again, he would be recommended for the Silver Star; again the award was reduced.[26] Hazel Marquez would receive her son’s posthumous Bronze Star (with “V” device), Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and Purple Heart in ceremonies after the war.[27]

The result of the bloodshed was a gain of 75 yards and control of another stretch of high ground. Baker Company received orders to dig in at 1700, barely out of hand grenade range and well within sight of Japanese gunners. “Whenever a Marine exposed himself, the enemy opened up with machine gun and rifle fire,” noted the After Action Report. “It was deadly to stand up on any part of the high mounds.” [28] The Americans also noticed to their surprise and disgust that several Japanese bodies were partly clad in Marine uniforms. PFC Charles Kubicek recalled this deception as part of an infiltration attempt:

 We didn’t sleep at all that night, because we had infiltration going on all the time. They were getting uniforms off of dead Marines and dressing themselves up, and they would come in carrying a litter with another body on it, another Japanese on the litter. Everybody would let them come through – you couldn’t tell at night – and they would try to get down to the ammo dumps or the beach. We had that going on all night long.[29]

This was particularly hazardous for Marines helping take the wounded to the rear. Chick Cupps was “volunteered” for this duty one night. “I just knew I would be shot by our own men,” he said. “I followed the phone wire back to the aid station, the whole way yelling ‘Marine coming! Marine coming!’ They told us to say that because supposedly, the Japanese soldiers couldn’t pronounce the word Marine.” The strategy worked; Cupps delivered his wounded charge and returned with a case of hand grenades.[30] Baker Company caught and killed five infiltrators on the night of 4 March.

In this sequence shot on 4 March, A/1/24 moves down from the Hill 382 area to reserve positions – and then, in the final frame, back up closer to the front.
All official USMC photos by Sgt. Theo Hios, 4th Marine Division.


Signs Of Progress

For the front-line Marines who hunkered down in their foxholes, watching for infiltrators and listening to mortars and rockets explode to their front and rear, the battle for Iwo Jima was a dispiriting sameness: every day, little progress for a tremendous cost. Yet elsewhere on the island, there were a few indications that the situation was improving ever so slightly. The Turkey Knob and the Amphitheater had been cut off and isolated; while not fully de-fanged, neither position could be supported or supplied. The high ground which had served Japanese spotters so well in the past few days was now in American hands; Kuribayashi’s artillery fire was less accurate, and his mortars were forced to fire blind. And then there was the scene at Motoyama Airfield Number 1.

Marines recognized the buzzing sound of the little “Grasshoppers” that carried artillery observers over the front lines, and they well knew the engine pitch of a friendly fighter making an attack run. On 4 March, they heard an unfamiliar drone over the sounds of combat – a four-engine bomber in distress. A B-29 appeared in the overcast sky, made a circle around Mount Suribachi, and then came in so low that men on the ground braced for a crash. The pilot lined up on the main runway of Motoyama Number 1, recently re-named “South Field,” and prepared to land.

Iwo_DinahMight_1
Dinah Might attracted an immediate, admiring crowd on 4 March. USMC photo.

Private Robert Owensby was enjoying his time in reserve – “not what you would call R&R, because we frequently came under Japanese mortar fire” – and idly watching the Seabees at work on the runway. The massive bomber touched down, rolled towards Owensby’s foxhole, and “came to a stop not far from where we were dug in. The pilot hurried up and turned that plane around and gunned it back down towards the south end of the runway because he was starting to take mortar fire.” [31] Safely out of range, the four massive propellers whirred to a standstill and B-29 42-65280 – Dinah Might – became the first American bomber to land on Iwo Jima. 1Lt. Raymond Malo’s crew tumbled out of the hatches and kissed the ground. Their bomb bay doors had frozen open over Tokyo; the extra drag cut their fuel supply and made ditching impossible. They were as good as lost until Malo got a fix on Iwo Jima. Curious Marines and Seabees descended on the crew, gawking at the massive plane and jokingly offering the crew a place to stay for the night. Within an hour, Dinah Might was airworthy again and earned the additional distinction of being the first B-29 to take off from Iwo Jima.[32] In the months that followed, some 2,400 emergency landings were made on Iwo – saving tens of thousands of lives and offsetting the cost still being paid by hundreds of Underwoods, Marquezes, and Bairds.

Iwo_dinah_might_2
While Dinah Might awaits repair, a Marine stands guard over a Japanese anti-aircraft emplacement. USMC photo.

While Dinah Might was the most noticeable air traffic over Iwo on D+13, she was by no means the only departing flight. South Field was now ready to receive and dispatch transport aircraft, and many of these were casualty evacuation flights. A Marine could be treated in a well-equipped and quiet hospital on Guam within hours of being hit. Chest and abdominal wounds were disqualified – the changing air pressure was deemed too dangerous – but hundreds of Marines departed Iwo on these flights. Sergeant Noel Aasen and PFC Edward W. Chepulis, both Baker Company men suffering from head wounds, were the battalion’s first air-evacuation casualties.

There would be many more, for the Japanese still had plenty of fight. Private Harold J. Oberheide was on guard atop Hill 382, gazing at the remains of a wrecked Japanese radar station.[33] A godawful screeching started somewhere in enemy territory and grew louder and louder. Oberheide peeked over the edge of his hole and saw “a ball of fire coming through the sky.” The Japanese still had some of their massive rockets, and one was headed straight for the top of the hill. Oberheide felt time slow down as he watched the missile streaking towards the foxhole he shared with a few buddies. The only question on his mind was “should I wake these guys up and let them know what’s going to happen, or let them sleep?”

 I decided – what good would it do? So I just got back down in the foxhole. It came over the top and hit that radar thing and went CLANG – through the radar and kept right on going. Didn’t hit solidly enough to explode.

As he re-told his story for an interviewer nearly seventy years later, Hal Oberheide laughed at the memory. “It was funny; it really was – afterwards.” [34]


The Fallen

hq_marquez b_arsenault b_underwood ega-xz_nophoto b-baird
PhM3c
Anthony Marquez
Age 19
Corpsman, B Co.
Shell fragment, head
Corporal
Roger N. Arsenault
Age 20
Machine gunner, B Co.
Cause unknown
Corporal
Thomas E. Underwood
Age 22
Squad leader, B Co.
Shrapnel, back
PFC
Richard E. Jacques
Age 18
Machine gunner, B Co.
Shrapnel, neck
Private
Rondall M. Baird
Age 18
Basic, B Co.
Shell fragment, head
b_lewis

 

Private
Elery W. Lewis
Age 25
Antitank Gunner, B Co.
Shrapnel, head
WOUNDED
COMPANY Name Assignment Cause Destination
Headquarters Cpl. John L. Ford
Cpl. Arnold F. Stanek
Field Lineman
Fire Team Leader
Gunshot, abdomen
Gunshot, left side
USS Callaway
Evacuated
Baker 2Lt. Nicholas J. Barbarotto
PlSgt. Wilton C. Fulton
TSgt. John F. Nash
Sgt. Noel S. Aasen
Sgt. Corpus A. Gallegos
Sgt. Hugh Stevenson
Sgt. Charles A. Townsend
Cpl. Cloise E. Duncan
Cpl. Erwin F. Gerner, Jr.
Cpl. George L. May
Cpl. Casimir P. Pelc
Cpl. Michael E. Pitoniak
Cpl. Richard  Schmidt, Jr.*
PFC Edward W. Chepulis
PFC Russell S. Clay
PFC Maynard P. Cosner
PFC Herbert Darmstadter
PFC Norman S. Lesavage
PFC Charles Rospop*
PFC Otto W. Schwarz
Pvt. Howard Albertson
Pvt. George H. Beisel
Pvt. Leslie L. Bennett
Pvt. Alva D. Glidewell, Jr.
Pvt. Teddy W. Groger
Pvt. Audubon L. Luna
Pvt. Francis L. Mauzey
Pvt. Marsh E. Mills, Jr.*
Pvt. Ben R. Phillips
Pvt. A. J. Scaramellino*
Pvt. Dennis Saville
Pvt. Charles W. Smith
Pvt. Wilbur F. Snelling
Pvt. Lester F. Stanley
Pvt. Jack D. Timmons
Pvt. Lawrence A. Trower
Pvt. Ivar Tveter
Pvt. Robert S. Van Sickle
Platoon Leader
Platoon Sergeant
Mess Sergeant
Rifle Squad Leader
Clerk
Small Arms Tech
Rifle Squad Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
MG Squad Leader
Fire Team Leader
BARman
Machine Gunner
BARman
Rifleman
Basic
Machine Gunner
Rifleman
Rifleman
Basic
Basic
Antitank Gunner
Antitank Gunner
Mortarman
Antitank Gunner
Antitank Gunner
Basic
Antitank Gunner
Basic
BARman
BARman
Basic
Rifleman
Rifleman
Rifleman
Basic
Shrapnel, left leg
Blast concussion
Shrapnel, left side
Shrapnel, face
Shrapnel, head
Unknown (slight)
Shrapnel, right arm & head
Shrapnel, lungs
Unknown (slight)
Shrapnel, left arm & chest
Gunshot, left hand
Shrapnel, right chest
Shrapnel, chest & back
Gunshot, scalp
Unknown (slight)
Gunshot, chest & right side
Shrapnel, left arm & side
Gunshot, left shoulder
Gunshot, spine
Blast concussion
Shrapnel, right shoulder
Shrapnel wounds, multiple
Shrapnel, right arm
Shrapnel, left buttock
Shrapnel, left shoulder
Shrapnel, right shoulder
Fragment, right leg
Shrapnel, head & spine
Unknown (fatal)
Unknown (slight)
Fracture, right arm
Unknown (slight)
Gunshot, right shoulder
Unspecified head injury
Shrapnel, back
Shrapnel, left hand
Shell shock
Gunshot, chest
Evacuated
USS Bolivar
USS Callaway
To Guam, via air
Evacuated
Not evacuated
USS Bolivar
USS Callaway
Not Evacuated
USS Hamlin
USS Bolivar
USS Knox
USS Callaway
To Guam, via air
Not evacuated
USS Bolivar
Evacuated
USS Callaway
Evacuated
USS Hamlin
USS Bolivar
USS President Jackson
USS Fayette
USS Bolivar
USS Bolivar
USS Bolivar
USS Knox
USS Doyen
Evacuated
Not evacuated
USS Bolivar
Evacuated
Evacuated
USS Almaack
USS Knox
USS Knox
Evacuated
USS James O’Hara
Charlie PFC Joseph M. Doyle
Pvt. Robert H. Swanson
Rifleman
Basic
Shrapnel, left arm
Unknown
USS Doyen
USS Solace

* PFC Rospop died of his wounds on 5 March 1945.
Pvt. Scaramellino died of his wounds on 6 March 1945.
Corporal Schmidt and Private Mills died of their wounds on 7 March 1945.

JOINED / ATTACHED / TRANSFERRED
Action Name From To Duty
Returned PhM3c Walter R. Hajost Hospital HQ/1/24 Corpsman
Returned 2Lt. Robert C. Euler
PlSgt. Walter S. Shamray
Cpl. Wendell C. Ricker
Hospital
Hospital
Hospital
B/1/24
B/1/24
B/1/24
Platoon leader
Platoon leader
Squad leader
Joined PFC Francis X. C. Knobeloch 24th Replacement Draft HQ/1/24 Radio Repairman

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 Footnotes

[1] According to his draft registration card and US Census records, Marquez was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1925. The family moved to Colorado when he was three years old, then to Omaha, Nebraska; in the 1940 Census, the Marquez family were still “aliens.” His parents went by “Paul” and “Hazel” while living in the United States.
[2] Anthony Marquez, Official Military Personnel File. Marquez claimed he was born in San Jose, California, on 11 November 1924.
[3] Ibid. Marquez graduated 190th in a class of 308; his final grade was an 82.85, with excellent marks in nursing. He also qualified as a rifle marksman.
[4] Ibid. Marquez ultimately received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Saipan.
[5] Richards P. Lyon. Personal correspondence with the author. Compiled online.
[6] Chaplain J. M. Keefe, letter to Mrs. Hazel Marquez, 8 May 1945.
[7] David Harper, “Month in Hell Lingers in Memory,” Tulsa World, 19 February 1995. Accessed 4 February 2020.
[8] “Marines Doing Quick Job Routing Japs In Pacific, But Pause For Souvenirs,” The Tampa Bay Times (17 September 1944).
[9] Thomas Ellis Underwood, Official Military Personnel File.
[10] The Tampa Bay Times (17 September 1944).
[11] Company C was in regimental reserve, while Company A was temporarily attached to 2/24. This caused some frustration:

Companies, battalions, and regiments should definitely operate AS A UNIT [emphasis in original] with assigned zones of action for maximum efficiency in combat. The reasons are obvious. On the past operation this battalion was often split up. On one occasion we had one company on line, another company on line but attached to BLT 2/24, and the third company in Regimental Reserve. By moving the company attached to BLT 2/24 to our left flank, this battalion could have operated as such. As it worked out we had one company only under our contolr with a battalion staff about equal to the size of the company attempting to run it. 

Major Charles L. Banks, “Final Report on IWO JIMA Operation, Battalion Landing Team 1/24,” in Annex George to Fourth Marine Division Report on Iwo Jima: RCT 24 Report (20 April 1945), 139. Hereafter, “Final Report.”

[12] Lt. Col. Whitman S. Bartley, Iwo Jima: Amphibious Epic (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, USMC, 1954), 166.
[13] “Final Report,” 129.
[14] Dan Levin, From The Battlefield: Dispatches of a World War II Marine (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995), 92-93. Although Sergeant Levin experienced Iwo with 2/24, “the Wilderness” is the same area fought over by 1/24.
[15] John C. Pope, Angel On My Shoulder, Kindle edition.
[16] Lawrence A Trower, “Lawrence ‘Slats’ Trower, PFC,” in The Muted Trumpet’s Call: Stories of the Everyday Heroes of World War II ed. Chuck Knox (Chicago: Authorhouse, 2011), 142.
[17] Underwood Official Military Personnel File.
[18] Harlan Chester Jeffery, unpublished diary entry dated 4 March 1945, collection of Domenick P. Tutalo.
[19] “Final Report,” 129.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Casualty cards are used throughout this narrative to provide details of individual wounds. Date discrepancies between cards and unit muster rolls are fairly common. This is likely due to delays between the actual time of wounding and the generation of casualty reports on which the cards were based. It is not unusual for a single card to have multiple dates and diagnoses of a single wound – but fortunately, each card also lists its sources. (In cases of date discrepancy in this narrative, the author considers the battalion’s muster roll to be authoritative.)
[22] Baird’s wife, Irene, mailed him a pair of their son’s booties to keep as a good luck charm. The unopened package was returned shortly after she received word of his death.
[23] These injuries led to Tveter’s medical discharge on 17 July 1945.
[24] Richards P. Lyon correspondence.
[25] Harper, “Month In Hell Lingers.”
[26] Coincidentally, there was a HA1c Anthony Francis Marquez who received a Silver Star for his actions on Iwo Jima while serving with the 5th Medical Battalion. The two are so commonly confused that the National Archives has misfiled some of their documents together. Anthony F. Marquez was killed in action on 21 March 1945.
[27] According to Nebraska newspapers of the time, Hazel Marquez first learned of her son’s Saipan decoration on 12 March 1945. Notification of his death followed two weeks later
[28] “Final Report,” 129.
[29] Bill Crozier and Steve Schild, “Uncommon Valor: Three Winona Marines at Iwo Jima,” Winona Post, 25 October 2006. Online edition.
[30] Harper, “Month In Hell Lingers.”Like many veteran’s anecdotes, the exact date of this adventure is not known.
[31] “Robert Owensby” in Bruce M. Petty, Saipan: Oral Histories of the Pacific War (McFarland & Company: Jefferson, NC, 2002), 114.
[32] Neither “Dinah Might” nor her crew would survive the Pacific war. Raymond Malo and crew were lost on a night bombing mission on 14 April 1945; Dinah herself was destroyed in a crash landing at Tinian on 23 May. Her crew on that mission escaped unhurt.
[33] Hill 382 was also called “Radar Hill” because of this installation; Oberheide uses this name in his recollections.
[34] Harold J. Oberheide, interview conducted by Gary Rhay (Harold Junior Oberheide Collection, AFC/2001/001/34224), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.