Iwo: D+6. February 25, 1945

Scout

0930
King Hour
O-1A Line

Scouts out, Perry.

a_perry_toIwo
Al Perry, 1945.

He’d heard the command so many times that the individual words lost their meaning. They elicited a mechanical response, the unquestioning, immediate obedience to an order that was the trademark of a good Marine. And Corporal Alva Perry was an outstanding Marine. Nineteen years old, a veteran of three battles who’d never missed a day on the front lines due to sickness, wounds, or any other reason, he had his Silver Star from breaking up a Japanese banzai charge on Saipan and his kill count notched on the stock of his BAR. Trusted as the company’s first scout to lead every advance, no matter the terrain or opposition. It was second nature to him, or perhaps even his primary one.

But nothing prepared him for this Iwo Jima business. It was, he knew, the worst island he’d ever seen. Months of jungle fighting and living at Camp Maui thinned his blood; instead of sweating buckets, now he shivered in his dungarees and poncho. He noticed some Marines were layering up, getting field jackets or sweaters from some unknown source, suspected it was from dead men, and he was not yet that desperate. The terrible volcanic ash and sharp rocks were already wearing holes in his boondockers. On one miserable night, cold rain filled his foxhole so completely that he thought he’d surely freeze to death.[1]

Scouts out, Perry.

He’d been out the day before, forty yards ahead, looking through a gap in the trees, taking in the hellish landscape from the beaches to the cliffs. What a view, he thought. In the distance, he saw another company moving up the flats along the beach. And he saw the Japanese come boiling out of their holes with rifles and machine guns. When the Marines come over that rise, the Japs’ll slaughter them. He stood, yelled, waved his arms (I’d give my right arm for a smoke grenade), but only the Japanese heard; they started lobbing knee mortars, Perry hit the dirt, and the Marine company kept coming. He hurled his only frag grenade with all his might, but it fell short. All I could do was watch as the Marines ran head-on into the Jap fire. They hit the Marines hard and retreated into their caves to fight again. I felt sick. I felt awful. No way I could have helped them.

That night, he and Jim Jackson manned a lookout, watching the pass in the trees, the only opening in the thick brush,obvious terrain for a Jap infiltration.They placed trip flares twenty yards away and settled down to wait. At 0200, they heard the scraping sounds of someone climbing the cliff in front of them. Three Japs, running at us…. trip flares went off… stopped them in their tracks.Their cover blown, the Marines decided to send a message. As Jackson gripped his ankles, Perry leaned over the edge of the cliff and ripped off three BAR clips, sixty rounds, one after the other. You better not come up here again.

The Japanese tried again and again, always in small groups, and about an hour apart. At first light, Jackson and Perry counted eighteen bodies just fifteen feet in front of their hole.

Perry went straight for the biggest one. Any fascination with dead enemies had long since left him, and he was not much for souvenir collecting. His boondockers were falling apart, and Perry didn’t relish going barefoot on Iwo. Even a pair of split-toe sandals made from canvas and tire treads were preferable, and within minutes he was wiggling his toes in the dead man’s tabi.

Scouts out, Perry.

It was 0930, and Perry knew the plan – they would try to reach the mythical O-2 line, some 1,600 yards away. Or, failing that, the newly designated O-1B line. Or, failing that, just try to stay alive another day. Another heavy artillery and mortar barrage was falling on the Japanese, had been falling for forty-five minutes already, would fall when requested and when available. It would help, but it would not be enough, they would still need to meet the enemy at grenade range or closer. The Japanese always saw you first, especially if you were a company scout twenty yards ahead of anybody else, and if you were tired or numb or let your guard down for a second or moved just the wrong way, then that was it. But Perry was Rugged Able Company’s first scout, and although tired and numb, he never let his guard down or moved the wrong way.

And so it was that Corporal Perry got the drop on the Japanese.

A Marine BARman takes careful aim. Still from USMC combat camera.
A Marine BARman takes careful aim. Still from USMC combat camera.

On Iwo Jima, the Marines rarely saw their adversaries.

The extensive tunnel network constructed by General Kuribayashi’s garrison spread its tendrils for miles below the surface of the island. The tunnels connected living spaces with storerooms, command posts to fire control centers, hospital facilities to hundreds of gun emplacements, and thousands of one-man fighting positions. Although stiflingly hot, they were wired for electricity and all but bombproof. Only in desperate situations did the Japanese appear aboveground; when surrounded and searching for an escape route, when discipline slipped enough for them mounted a futile charge, or when Marines captured their watering supply. The plain fact, repeated in countless Marine stories, is that the Japanese were not on Iwo Jima, they were in it. “You didn’t see too many Japs. Once in awhile, they’d run from one cave to another,” said Glenn Buzzard. “You more or less saw their fire. You could see dust coming. As soon as we’d see that, we’d zone right in, and when we got up there, they’d be layin’ there.” If Japanese and Americans came face to face, the event was frequently more startling than anything else. “You’d go around the corner, and they’d be standing right there. Whoever shot first was the winner.”

The close-quarters fighters who got right up against the Japanese emplacements stood a better chance of seeing an enemy – but stood an equally high chance of getting shot for that chance. “I saw one Marine shoot another Marine bone dead right in my squad because he went around this way, and the other went around that way,” continued Buzzard. “You don’t have a split second. You just pull the trigger. Shoot first. Whoever does, they’re the one that’s going to win. We had to take the guy that shot the other Marine, take him clear out because he just went berserk.” [2]

Private Domenick Tutalo saw only one living enemy the entire battle. “It was hard to stomach. He came running out on fire. I saw a lot of dead bodies.” [3] 

flamethrowerfuel
The grisly sight of burned bodies was a common one on Iwo Jima. Note the empty cans marked “flame thrower fuel,” bearing the distinctive semi-circle of the Fourth Marine Division. USMC photo.

Other men only saw the shadowy figures of infiltrators or caught glimpses of them as flares lit the sky – just long enough to throw a grenade or, in dire emergencies, to take a quick shot. Many who came eye to eye with infiltrators and grappled with them in the darkness did not live to tell the tale. Every morning, Marines could look out of their foxholes and spot a dead man – friend or foe – who had not been there the night before. They were often startlingly close. Instead of massed attacks, these nighttime operators worked alone or in small groups – rarely more than two or three

So when Corporal Alva Perry crested a hill and beheld nearly 25 Japanese soldiers, alive and well, grouped together in broad daylight, his first reaction was one of utter shock. Then came the realization that none of these men had spotted him, and the strangeness of the scene evaporated as his instincts took over. “Naturally, I opened up with the BAR, caught them completely by surprise.”

In the right hands, the Browning Automatic Rifle was a deadly weapon. Perry’s first shots had an immediate effect. The Japanese screamed and scattered as Perry emptied his 20-round magazine and rolled behind a rock to reload. He could see his buddies hot-footing it to his location and heard the booming voice of his best friend, PFC Eddie Bookwalter, hollering “Let’s get ’em!” Perry took a deep breath, rolled around the other side of the rock, and starting shooting.[4]

 


Leadership

The battalion commander was a man beset by troubles.

Major Paul Treitel was career military. His pedigree began at Annapolis (he was “the life of the party” in his 1940 class) and continued with a second lieutenant’s commission in the regular Marine Corps. He rose quickly through the ranks as a detachment commander at Quantico and head of the Schools Battalion indoctrination course at Camp Lejeune. Promoted to major in the summer of 1943, he joined the brand-new Third Battalion, 23rd Marines, where he demonstrated his versatility by serving alternately as a company commander and temporary battalion exec. He ran HQ/3/23 in combat on Roi-Namur; his performance won him a permanent appointment as the battalion’s second in command. When Lieutenant Colonel John Cosgrove was wounded early in the battle for Saipan, Treitel stepped into the spotlight and led 3/23 through the rest of the Marianas campaign. He was combat tested, professional, and only twenty-eight years old when he assumed command of 1/24 in October 1944.

Midshipman Treitel at Annapolis, 1940 – Major Treitel at Camp Maui, 1944

officer_looking
A Fourth Marine Division officer checks on a distant target through binoculars. USMC photo.

However, Treitel remained a major. The flurry of post-campaign promotions elevated many of his junior peers to staff positions, but Treitel was given additional responsibility without the equivalent rank. It was professionally embarrassing for Treitel to hold the same rank as his executive officer, Horace Parks, and two of his company commanders. If the powers that be deemed him fit to command a battalion, Treitel wanted the rank to match. The young officer made no bones about his dissatisfaction. “He was a career man and naturally resented the fact that he hadn’t been made lieutenant colonel, the rank his job called for,” noted Major Irving Schechter. “Regular officers were always more concerned about their rank than reserve officers. After all, they meant to wear the green uniforms when the rest of us became civilians.” [5] So, Treitel led his new battalion into action with bronze oak leaves on his collar and a chip on his shoulder.

But the battle simply refused to go his way. His four companies were hemorrhaging casualties at an unbelievable rate; their daily advances, while average for Iwo, were far more modest than any commander would want. So Paul Treitel tried to lead by example. He coordinated with Gunner Ira Davidson of the weapons company to take out some pillboxes on D+2. He commandeered an LVTA and went behind enemy lines to personally reconnoiter for his men; still, they ran into interlocking fire that killed some and discouraged the rest. Nothing was working, and that was not good for his men, his unit, or his career.

Something changed in Paul Treitel. It might have been personal frustration at his professional situation or the sheer enormity of a battalion commander’s daily responsibility. Iwo was his fourth campaign in thirteen months; he may have reached the limits of his endurance. Or perhaps he was tired of watching his men die. The major spent increasing amounts of time dug into his command post; eventually, it seemed he never left at all. His subordinates took notice, and not all approved of Treitel’s decision. “Even when in the defilade position in the quarry, and safer than most, I would find him huddled in my foxhole, which I seemed to dig deeper than others,” commented Lieutenant (j. g.) Richards Lyon, the assistant surgeon.[6] 

Foxhole life on Iwo Jima. USMC photo.
Foxhole life on Iwo Jima. USMC photo.

The situation was especially trying for Major Treitel this morning: he was losing a badly needed officer to a regimental order. Major William C. Esterline, the CO of Charlie Company, packed up his few belongings and decamped to HQ/3/24, where he would serve as an operations officer for the rest of the campaign.

Appointing a new skipper was a ticklish business. Ordinarily, the company executive officer would take over, and veteran 1Lt. William Reynolds would have been a reliable commander, but he was wounded and long gone. The remaining company officers — AndersonFanslerGriffith, and Manning — were all junior second lieutenants. They could handle platoons, but Treitel was not ready to entrust them with a company. This left only one logical choice, and so Captain Fred Stott was tapped for the job. Stott was an experienced, hard-fighting combat officer who knew Charlie Company well; in previous campaigns, he served as their exec and led them in battle. Treitel had no doubts about Stott, nor Captain Bill Eddy of Baker Company. The platoon leaders in those companies would gain valuable experience under those decorated and respected commanders.

a_wstewart2
Kirkland Stewart as a captain, c. 1944.

Able Company, with its unusually experienced cadre of junior officers, was a different case. The executive officer, 1Lt. Roy I. Wood, Jr.had been with the outfit since 1942; 2Lts. Walter Russell and Tom Drake were former Able Company enlisted men who knew their mortar and machine-gun sections inside and out.[7] 2Lt. William H. Springman earned his commission in three campaigns with F/2/24. 1Lt. Marshall Salvaggio also began his career as an enlisted man; Iwo was his first battle, and he already rated a Purple Heart. Even bookish 2LtGeorge Burcaw had nearly three years in uniform. Able Company had not yet lost an officer on Iwo.

Then there was the Able Company skipper. Like Treitel, Major William Kirkland Stewart was a career man (Citadel ’41) with an impressive military pedigree. He was a seagoing Marine, drawing his combat and leadership experience from several voyages aboard the battleship USS Mississippi. However, “Kirkland” Stewart was an expert rifleman, and after a refresher course on infantry tactics at Quantico was entrusted with company command. The genteel South Carolinian got his own set of oak leaves on the way to Iwo Jima. Stewart’s star was decidedly on the rise; his actions in this battle had the potential to make his career.

So when the stutter of Alva Perry’s BAR signaled the start of the day’s death-dealing, Stewart started forward to direct the action personally.


The Firefight

Major Stewart never made it to the front line. A Japanese rifleman shot the handsome young officer as the attack was getting underway. “The bullet that hit him traveled through his body and tore up the dirt right between my legs,” said Corporal Robert D. Price. “I was only about five, six steps behind.” [8] A gunnery sergeant helped Price roll the stricken officer into a shell hole and called for stretchers. Doc Porter assessed the damage and summoned a jeep to speed Major Stewart to the beach. Ultimately, nothing could save Kirkland Stewart; he died of his wounds the following day.[9] Command passed to Lieutenant Roy Wood.

Bringing a wounded Marine back to safety. USMC photo.
Bringing a wounded Marine back to safety. USMC photo.

What developed was a classic firefight, the kind taught in training but hardly ever seen in the field. This was no bunker-blasting contest; the enemy was in the open with no more cover than the natural boulders and folds of the terrain. It was a rare – some thought satisfying – chance to demonstrate one’s marksmanship. Marine riflemen squeezed off shots, and some got a little too excited. Captain Stott, newly reinstalled in a combat command, remembered one Japanese defender’s “flair for the humorous. [He] must once have worked the butts of some Honshu rifle range. Having caught a glimpse of his helmet behind some rocks, a couple of patient Marine marksmen waited and sniped at him whenever he reappeared. Three times after their firing he slowly waved a board to and fro over the top of his rock—his improvised version of ‘Maggie’s drawers.’” [10] Still, “over 30 Japs were killed during the firefight.” [11] 

PFC Arthur LaPorte stowed his cargo of machine gun ammo behind a bush and was awaiting the call to bring it forward when he spotted a brazen Japanese soldier. The man was gesturing frantically to an observer out of sight; LaPorte thought “he was giving a motion like there’s Americans on the other side to somebody, and they were getting ready to throw grenades.” LaPorte’s options were limited. He did not trust the M1 carbine he carried. “It was not a very good weapon, especially if the Jap was saki’d or drugged up.” He called to a buddy with a powerful M1 rifle – it took some convincing before they agreed on the target – then counted to three and pulled the trigger. “I shot twice, he shot once, and the Jap sort of swerved sideways,” said LaPorte. “So we got him.” Other Marines pitched grenades at the spot, which meant “no more trouble on that.” [12] 

Iwo_Grenade_NH 104289
A Marine with an M1 carbine hurls a grenade on Iwo Jima. US Navy photo.

The heady rush of victory quickly soured as the Japanese reaction rained down. “Whenever the troops attempted to move forward, they received intense machine gun and rifle fire, knee mortar fire, and air bursts,” wrote the anonymous scribe of the battalion’s journal. “At 1400, the enemy again concentrated all types of fire along our lines. The fire appeared to be coming from high ground about 100 yards to our front. However, some Japs were close enough to throw volleys of hand grenades.” [13] This last rain of mortars and artillery were the last straw for 1/24. The attack shuddered to a halt; the Marines fell back to reorganize, but there were simply too many casualties to go on. Everyone was exhausted and dispirited. “It was extremely disheartening to morale to strive so hard with so little apparent success,” said Captain Stott, with characteristic understatement.[14] 

For Corporal Al Perry, whose shots began the fracas, the end of the fight was more than disheartening – it was heartbreaking.

His name was “Chicken” because he was only 15 years old. The rumor was that his mother was coming to Maui to get him after we got back. He was afraid of nothing.

We had a blistering firefight that lasted about an hour, and we won the fight, about twenty Japs killed, but Chicken was down, he had been hit by a Jap knee mortar and was dying.

We watched Chicken die and felt bad. We loved Chicken. I wondered if his mother was waiting for him on Maui.

I never knew his real name. To me he was a good marine called Chicken.[15]

a_brunson
Harold Brunson

Private Harold Gene Brunson lost his life on 25 February 1945. He was eighteen years old (an anniversary marked with little, if any, fanfare just before they left Camp Maui), but his slight build and smooth face made him appear much younger. He lasted six days on Iwo Jima; a clerk recorded his “Cause of death / Primary” with military precision: “WOUND, FRAGMENT, SHELL, HEAD & BACK, 2584, KEY LETTER K.” He was only the fourth-youngest “Chicken” on Able Company’s roster, but he was the youngest one to die. His personal effects were a rosary, a name stamp, and a wallet that contained a key and a check for five dollars. These were duly forwarded to his mother, Mrs. Mabel Brunson, in Decatur, Illinois.

Brunson may have been the “Chicken” of Perry’s story, but this cannot be known for sure. The outcome of his story could apply to Leon Abrams, to Matthew Garner, to James FreemanEugene Morris, or Charles Powell Junior.[16] The same scene played out hourly on Iwo Jima; only the names and faces changed.

Marine casualties are gathered for the collection team.
Marine casualties are gathered for the collection team.

“It was with joy that we saw relieving troops coming into the line on “D plus 6” afternoon,” wrote Captain Stott. “Neither on the lower flank nor on the clifftop had we advanced more than a quarter of a mile.” [17] Effective 1600 hours, the right flank of the Marine line was the responsibility of 2/24. The First Battalion, 24th Marines, was moved out en masse, and by 1635 were in regimental reserve among the familiar blockhouses of TA 166A.


The Fallen

a_abrams a_morris a_freeman a_brunson_thumbnail a_garner

Cpl.
Leon J. Abrams
Age 24
Rifle NCO, A Co.
Cause unknown

Cpl.
Eugene L. Morris
Age 19
Rifle NCO, A Co.
Shell fragment, head
 Cpl.
James W. Freeman
Age 19
BARman, A Co.
Shell fragment, chest
Pvt.
Harold G. Brunson
Age 18
BARman, A Co.
Shell fragments, head & back
Pvt.
Matthew Garner
Age 21
Machine Gunner, A Co.
Shell fragment, head
a_powell_cf b_iverson_gc b_seitz fry_dh xz_nopic

Pvt.
Charles F. Powell, Jr.
Age 18
BARman, A Co.
Cause unknown

Cpl.
George C. Iverson
Age 30
Rifle NCO, B Co.
Shell fragment, head
 Cpl.
Robert F. Seitz
Age 22
Rifle NCO, B Co.
Gunshot, head
PFC
Don H. Fry
Age 18
Rifleman, B Co.
Shell fragment, head
PFC
Stanley F. Lahr
Age 22
BARman, B Co.
Shell fragment, chest
c_lombard
PFC
Howard L. Lombard, Jr.
Age 19
Rifleman, C Co.
Shell fragment, head
WOUNDED
COMPANY Name Assignment Cause Destination
Headquarters 1Lt. David E. Lownds
Cpl. Stephen Findlay
ACk. Tom S. Zakem, Jr.
PFC Thomas C. Setina
Intelligence Officer (Bn-2)
Scout
Cook
Demolitions
Gunshot, right thigh
Gunshot, face
Compound fracture, left leg
Shrapnel, back
USS Highlands
USS Sumter
USS Dickens
USS Karnes
Able Maj. William K. Stewart*
2Lt. Thomas E. Drake
Sgt. Lewis E. Gregory
Sgt. Maynard S. Worthington
Cpl. Glenn E. Doster
Cpl. James A. Lemma
Cpl. Roger W. Trimble
ACk. William P. Greco
PFC William Becker
PFC Earl R. Crom
PFC William J. Fox
PFC Henry C. Kelley
PFC John W. Mahaffey, Jr.
PFC Floyd E. North, Jr.
PFC Odis Taylor
PFC John A. Trotte
Pvt. Roland J. Hulslander
Pvt. Roy J. Taylor, Jr.
Company CO
Leader, MG Platoon
Duty NCO
Rifle NCO
MG Squad Leader
Machine Gunner
BARman
Cook
BARman
Machine Gunner
BARman
Rifleman
BARman
Rifleman
BARman
BARman
Machine Gunner
BARman
Gunshot, pelvis
Unknown (slight)
Gunshot, left shoulder
Shrapnel, right leg
Gunshot, right chest
Shell shock
Gunshot, nose & left ear
Shell shock
Compound fracture, right arm
Blast concussion
Shrapnel, abdomen
Shrapnel, left hand
Shrapnel, head
Shrapnel, chest & buttocks
Shrapnel, right forearm & thigh
Gunshot, right shoulder
Shell shock
Gunshot, left eye & arm
LST(H)-930
Not Evacuated
LST(H)-931
USS Bladen
USS Dickens
LST(H)-931
Evacuated
USS Pinkney
Evacuated
USS Pinkney
USS Highlands
USS Highlands
USS Newberry
USS Sumter
USS Highlands
USS Dickens
USS Highlands
USS Bladen
Baker Sgt. Daniel J. Brandon
Sgt. Stanley T. Homewood
Cpl. Charles B. Gum, Jr.
Cpl. Frederick C. Martin
Cpl. Alexander H. Schoen, Jr.
PFC Frank L. Burkhard, Jr.
PFC Joe Butler
PFC Edgar L. Casper
PFC Raymond L. Cook
PFC William R. Corby
PFC Raymond P. Haines
PFC John Plewa
PFC Jack C. Saunders
PFC William E. Sempert
PFC Rufus B. Shealy
Pvt. John Ciacco
Rifle NCO
Rifle NCO
Machine Gunner
BARman
Rifle NCO
Machine Gunner
BARman
Rifleman
Machine Gunner
Demolitions
BARman
Mortarman
Rifleman
Rifleman
Machine Gunner
BARman
Shrapnel, left shoulder
Shrapnel, left arm
Gunshot, right ear
Gunshot, right shoulder
Shrapnel, legs, arms & chest
Gunshots, multiple
Gunshot, head
Gunshot, right shoulder
Gunshot, right shoulder
Gunshot, head
Gunshot, right leg
Sprain, left ankle
Gunshot, left buttock
Gunshot, left leg
Wounds, left foot
Shrapnel, nose
Evacuated
USS Bladen
USS Newberry
USS Ozark

Evacuated
USS Pinkney
USS Highlands
USS Dickens
Evacuated
USS Karnes
USS Highlands
Evacuated
USS Pinkney
USS Hanover
USS Dickens
USS Dickens
Charlie Cpl. Patrick T. Curran
Cpl. Clarence A. Slaght
Rifleman
Rifle NCO
Gunshot, left testicle
Gunshot, left chest
Evacuated
Evacuated

JOINED / ATTACHED / TRANSFERRED

Action Name From To Duty
Transferred Maj. William C. Esterline C/1/24 HQ/3/24 Company CO -> Bn-3
Transferred Capt. Frederic A. Stott HQ/1/24 C/1/24 Liaison -> Company CO
Returned Sgt. Fred E. Thomas
Pvt. Clifford W. Burnette
Hospital A/1/24 Rifle NCO
Rifleman

Captain Stewart died of his wounds on 26 February 1945.

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Footnotes

[1] Alva Perry, “The Men of ‘A’ Company,” 2011. Perry, like many Iwo Jima veterans, grows less specific with dates as the battle progresses. He relates this event, and the story about “Chicken” that appears below, as happening at some point during the fighting for Hill 382 – however, Jackson had been wounded and evacuated by then, so the night outpost incident probably took place somewhere in the Quarry.

Perry’s descriptions of weather conditions fit the early days of the battle; and in this specific instance mentions being on high ground, and able to see the beach. He might be seeing F/2/25, which moved into the Boat Basin area on February 24, and suffered heavy casualties attempting to clear out the area. As Perry’s company had just been relieved from the Boat Basin area, the activity going on there would have been of great interest to him. The cliffs he mentions are probably the steep rises surrounding the Boat Basin and Quarry areas. And the Battalion AAR mentions several Japanese killed in infiltration attempts on the night of February 24 – 25.

Finally, the tabi – Perry mentions it took him three days to work up the nerve to take a pair of boondockers off a dead Marine. This would have been around February 27, when Company A was in reserve, and several accounts mention dead Marines stacked like cordwood in the area. Resupplying from bodies or the “dead man’s pile” was not uncommon on Iwo, but Perry probably would have done this while in reserve, instead of on the line.
[2] Glenn Buzzard in Larry Smith, Iwo Jima (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008), 87.
[3] Domenick Tutalo in Larry Smith, Iwo Jima (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008), 105.
[4] Perry.
[5] Irving Schechter, “The Lawyer Who Went to War,” Semper Fi, Mac, ed. Henry Berry (New York: Harper, 1982).
[6] Richards P. Lyon. Personal correspondence with the author. Compiled online.
[7] When a Marine earned a battlefield commission and became a “mustang,” it was common practice to transfer him out of his old platoon – the thought being that his familiarity with his enlisted peers would impair his ability to lead. Springman (formerly F/2/24) and Salvaggio (formerly 3rd Marines / 3rd MAW) were assigned according to this thought process. The cases of Russell and Drake were extremely unusual in that both were long-time company NCOs.
[8] Robert D. Price, oral history interview conducted by Thomas Swope, Robert D. Price Collection(AFC/2001/001/49660), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
[9] “Major STEWART, commanding officer, ‘A’ Company, was hit by an enemy rifle bullet and died shortly thereafter.” 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), 126. Hereafter “Final Report.” The battalion’s muster roll adds: “19-25, participated in the battle of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands; 26, died of wounds: GO#20 does not apply; 27, remains buried at sea latitude 24°-45 North, longitude 141°-19 East.”
[10] Frederic A. Stott, “Ten Days on Iwo Jima,” Leatherneck Vol. 28, No. 5 (May, 1945); 18. To translate the Marine parlance: “working the butts” means pulling targets on a rifle range and marking where the shooter hits. In the event of a complete miss, a red flag – “Maggie’s Drawers” – would be waved over the target, to the embarrassment of the shooter and the irritation of the range coach.
[11] “Final Report,” 125.
[12] Art LaPorte, oral history interview conducted by Matthew Rozell, The Hudson Falls High School World War II Living History Project, October 1998.
[13] “Final Report,” 125.
[14] Stott, “Ten Days,” 18.
[15] Perry. “Chicken” was not as derogatory as it sounds; instead, it was a universal nickname for a very young Marine, applied as readily as “Pop” was to the very old.
[16] Perry says that “Chicken” was with the company in previous campaigns, and Brunson was a replacement. Due to his age, rank, and the fact that Perry “never knew his real name,” the author believes that Brunson is most likely “Chicken” in this story. Corporals Freeman and Morris are two other possibilities.
[17] Stott, “Ten Days,” 18.

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