Saipan. D+1. June 16, 1944

0500 – 0700

“Nights, especially the first few, are terrifying mainly because of the unknown,” mused Lieutenant Frederic Stott, the liaison officer from battalion headquarters. “Hence the morning light unaccompanied by a banzai charge furnishes the greatest relief.”[1]

When dawn broke on D-plus-One, 1/24 discovered that they had been lucky, relatively speaking, despite the shelling and the “moderate casualties” of the night before. The Japanese garrison, having failed to destroy the Americans on the beach, attempted to push the Marines back into the sea. Their attacks were disjointed – indicative of the serious disruption that plagued their communications – and there was little chance of success. Screaming Japanese soldiers, intent on zemmetsu (annihilation), were riddled by the defensive fires of the 23rd and 25th Marines. In a nightmarish scene illuminated by burning vehicles, artillery, small arms fire and naval star shells, the lines of the 25th bent back nearly 400 yards, but refused to break. Marine halftracks rattled up and down firing their big 75mm guns, while the Japanese walked artillery shells along the beach all night. The 23rd Marines, while not as heavily engaged, faced the threat of infiltrators; theirs was a personal, vicious battle for individual foxholes with bayonets, knives, and fists. Only 200 Japanese soldiers managed to make it through the swamps of Lake Susupe into Charan Kanoa, where they caused some minor havoc before Marines hunted them down.[2]

The ruins of the sugar refinery in Charan Kanoa.

The shelling in 1/24’s sector hadn’t really stopped during the night, but its accuracy had diminished noticeably – thanks to the efforts of Corporal Robert Williams of Company A. Williams and his foxhole buddy were forced to change positions no less than three times during the night, taking their lives into their hands with each movement and finally settling into a captured Japanese earthwork. As they scraped some extra earth away, the Marines spotted something unusual. “It was a bundle of five or six wires going through where we were digging,” remembered Williams. “Being a demolition man, I had wire cutters…. There’s no way of proving it, but I figure we must have found the telephone wires going back to their spotter and luckily we cut ‘em and they couldn’t find us. The luck! You have to depend half on luck.”

Not all of the communication problems were on the Japanese end. American radios like the SCR-300 and the SCR-536 “Handie Talkie” were frustratingly unpredictable, so Marine battalions relied heavily on yards of copper wire connecting “sound power” telephones. While more reliable than the radios, phone wires were easily cut by shrapnel, tank treads, or Japanese ambushers. Repairing breaks was a difficult, dangerous, and time consuming task, frequently performed by the hard-working wire section of a battalion comms platoon. In 1/24, this section was led by the popular and capable Sergeant John Waytow. At some point early on June 16, communications between one of the rifle companies and Headquarters went out, so Waytow grabbed a spool of wire and a reliable wireman and went out to solve the problem. The connection was apparently made, but neither Waytow nor PFC Paul Miller were ever seen alive again; they were “found dead in the field” some time later. Both were recommended for the Bronze Star medal. “Sergeant Waytow fearlessly advanced with a companion [Miller] across an open area swept by withering, intense enemy small arms and artillery fire to establish vitally needed communications but was mortally wounded while carrying out his perilous mission,” reads one citation. “Sergeant Waytow’s daring initiative, his cool courage in the face of grave danger and unwavering devotion to duty throughout were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”[3]

Getting ready for the boondocks. Camp Pendleton, California, April 24, 1943.

John Waytow as a corporal at Camp Pendleton, 1943.
The holster on his web belt contains his wire cutters, essential tools of the trade.

Despite bad communications and busy corpsmen, Stott found “the elements of the battalion in good contact, satisfactory position, with moderate casualties only, and uncertain of the location of the front. This last uncertainty is S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) in the early phases of all operations, and unknowingly some of the companies were a part of the front line.” Movement ahead was detected, but true to their training, the Marines checked their fire. This was fortunate, as “the first of the civilian population started trickling into our lines. They had suffered, were filthy, diseased, and wounded. Yet the faces of all save the children showed no expression or at most uncertainty; fear did not show.”[4]

W. Eugene Smith took this photo of a father and daughter approaching Marine lines on Saipan.

As guards hustled the civilians away from the lines, the Word came via a headquarters radioman. Battalion senior officers were summoned to a briefing with the regimental commander, Colonel Franklin Hart. Stott, Captain Gene Mundy (battalion operations officer) and Lieutenant Colonel Maynard Schultz made the thousand-yard hike shortly after daybreak. “Heine” Schultz, “a fearless bull of a man, yet subtle in his powers of understanding,” was leading the battalion in combat for the first time.[5] “He was Col. Dyess’ executive officer, and as good a man as Dyess was, ‘The Dutchman’ is much better–the best CO we’ve had yet,” opined First Lieutenant Phil Wood of Company A. “It’s hard to tell just what goes to make up a good commanding officer–thoughtfulness for his men, sense of humor, intelligence, willingness to work & fight the higher ups for breaks for his Bn.–he’s got them all, though.”

Still, Stott worried that the regiment was in a decidedly unfavorable defensive position. To make matters worse, someone had picked a conspicuous clump of trees as the regimental command post. The constant stream of bustling orderlies, messengers, and officers might have been comic at Pendleton, but not when it was so highly visible across a shell-torn clearing, mute testimony to the work of Saito’s gunners. To a Japanese artillery spotter, the clump of trees was as inviting as a blinking neon sign.

0730 – 0900

The party from 1/24 arrived at the CP shortly before 0730, and the first Japanese shells were hot on their heels. “We were soon hugging the ground throughout a bombardment the equal of anything undergone the previous day or night. Cover was scarce, several casualties were suffered, but the conference of battalion commanders continued in a dugout,” wrote Stott.

For some reason, Schultz didn’t get into the dugout with the others, and stayed sitting atop the hole. Perhaps he was trying to make an impression on the other officers, or set an example for the handful of enlisted men in attendance. It proved to be a mistake, and a fatal one at that. “A close round sent a piece of shrapnel into his head, and he died in a matter of seconds,” recalled Stott. “His death stripped the Battalion of its most-needed man, for good battalion commanders are practically indispensable.”[6]

Sigma Phi Epsilon journal, November 1944.
A correspondent’s dramatic re-telling of Lt. Col. Schultz’ death in the Sigma Phi Epsilon journal, November 1944.

Poor Captain Mundy, who had arisen that day prepared to argue about supplies and operational logistics, was suddenly thrust into the role of battalion commander pro tempore until the next senior officer could take over. Technically speaking (and according to the record) that officer was Major Robert N. Fricke, the battalion’s executive officer. According to Stott, though, “the real job of running the battalion devolved upon Mundy, with what aid Captain [George] Webster (the Intelligence officer) and I could furnish him. He responded magnificently, and was the man chiefly responsible for knitting together the splendidly functioning companies with the staff and the succeeding commanding officers.” On paper, Fricke was in command until relieved by Lt. Colonel Austin R. Brunelli on June 18.

0900 – 1230

The death of Schultz and the ever-present Japanese shells that continued to fall at random delayed the division’s 0900 jump-off until a general attack launched at 1230. The infantry, supported by tanks, were to take the previous day’s objective in hopes of neutralizing some defenders and taking higher ground. The route meant that the 23rd and 25th Marines would spread out as they moved, causing the 24th to stretch like elastic between them.

This recon photo from February, 1944, shows the general area of operations for 1/24. The refinery’s smokestack is at left; 1/24 bivouacked at right, and advanced through the field towards the O-1 ridgeline.

1230 – 1730

By all accounts, the attack was a Herculean undertaking. A private in the 23rd Marines recounted how “Every one of us who came over the top was a sitting duck waiting to be shot. We were sent over in waves of 20 (plus or minus) men about two minutes apart. Our plan had been anticipated and their guns of all kinds had been zeroed in on every inch of this battlefield… all hell broke lose.” Gradually, the Marines gained a little ground; as 1/24 approached road junction CR 85, they ran into increasingly heavy machine gun and sniper fire.

“As I remember, there was a ridge running the length of the island mostly down the center,” wrote PFC John Pope. “We had to come straight in and secure the high ground as soon as possible so they could not shoot down on us. It was well fortified and we had a hard battle getting to the top. We were under heavy rifle and machine gun fire, as well as mortar shells almost all the way up. It was pretty steep and wooded. We were making good progress up and we had to reach the top before dark.”[7]

As they climbed the slope of Fina Susu Ridge, Japanese mortars began to fall. Pope was struggling uphill near his friend Aldo Passante when a near miss “knocked us goofy for a few seconds. I looked at Al and his right foot was gone. I rolled him over and grabbed the stump just below his knee and squeezed as hard as I could. Thank the Lord a corpsman was quick to get there.”[8]

a_passanteAfter applying a tourniquet and administering morphine, the corpsman left Passante in Pope’s care until a stretcher became available. Woozy from shock, blood loss, and morphine, Passante began badgering Pope for a cigarette. “You don’t smoke, Al,” Pope reminded him, but Passante was adamant: “Dammit, I said give me a cigarette!” Pope gave in and placed a lit cigarette in Passante’s mouth; the wounded man inhaled, choked, and spit it out. Just then the stretcher arrived; as Pope gathered his gear and continued up the ridge, Passante was looking glumly at his stump and moaning, “This is a helluva price to pay for a Purple Heart.”[9]

Marines on foot were not the only casualties of the steep terrain. Pope also saw a Marine halftrack fire its 75mm gun while facing up the incline. The recoil caused the vehicle to “rear up and fall over backward, mangling some of the crew.”

John Pope with capsized truck on Saipan.

John Pope stands next to another capsized vehicle–this one Japanese–during the battle of Saipan.

Pope wondered at the negligence of the halftrack crew – surely their training should have prevented such a tragedy. To be hit by random chance was understandable, but to be killed by bravado (as “Heinie” Schultz had been) or by a foolish mistake seemed somehow worse. And it was not the last example Pope would see on June 16. First Lieutenant James Donovan, the assistant CO of the 81mm mortar section, made himself fatally conspicuous. Although Donovan had only been with the mortars for a few months, he did have previous combat experience as a machine gun platoon leader during the battle of Namur. “We had been in battle enough to know some things you don’t do, such as act like an officer,” commented Pope – so he could barely contain his surprise when someone  shouted, “Look at Donovan!”

There he was several yards out front crouching behind a palm tree no more than six inches in diameter with a map spread out in front of him. Oh hell, we better cover him quick. The first squad moved forward on line with him; however we were not quick enough. A Jap sniper already had him in his sights. I stooped behind him just as a bullet hit him in the side and he went limp. I remember asking, “Where are you hit?” He said “I don’t know, but I can’t feel my legs.” I pulled his jacket up and saw a bullet hole in his side just under his rib cage with a small blister of gut bubbling out.[10]

Lieutenant Donovan was evacuated to the USS Pierce for treatment; he would die of his wounds two days later and be buried at sea.

1/24 reached the crest of the ridge at about 1730; they fell back a few yards, “so we could see anything coming up the other side when they were outlined against the sky,” and began to dig in.[11] Few liked the look of the new position. The western slope was heavily wooded and provided protection from all but airburst shelling, while the eastern was clear and under close observation by the Japanese. Machine gunner George Smith recalled that the ridge looked “like a fire break,” while Frederic Stott said, “the position, with its possibilities of by-passed enemy and infiltration, had an unsavory odor.”[12] Luckily, the supply situation had been straightened out somewhat, and the Marines could receive food, water, and ammunition.

A nearby pillbox was spotted; rather than let it be for the night, an abortive attack was ordered. Stott wrote of the affair in disgust:

The attempt produced additional dead and wounded, and there remained insufficient time to evacuate the wounded. This situation, in addition to growing reports about infiltration, confirmed fears that our worst night was imminent. Furthermore the absence of enemy artillery indicated that we might expect the more silent but equally deadly variety of night activity – infiltration.[13]

“Our Worst Night”

a_prambergerIt was standard procedure for Marine machine gunners to stake out their positions in such a manner that they could provide interlocking fire if needed. Positions needed to have a good field of fire, yet be inconspicuous—machine guns were favorite targets for Japanese infiltrators, and generally were not fired unless the line was in danger of being overrun—so choosing a good location was the primary concern of any good squad leader. Able Company’s Corporal Anthony Pramberger, a veteran NCO from Forest Hills, New York, was one such Marine. He and his crew were heavy weapons veterans whose Browning M1917 water-cooled machine gun had seen action on Namur, and Pramberger’s experienced eye fell upon what looked like an excellent spot on a slight rise.

PFC John Pope watched the stretcher-bearers hustling back down the hill before turning his attention to the front. His gun was set up to cover a long stretch of road to the right of the line. Pope could make out the husky form of his friend, Corporal Felix Nawodczynski, who led a Baker Company machine gun squad. A few hundred meters behind Pope’s position, his hometown buddy PFC Jim Rainey was digging in his 81mm mortar, registered to hit any targets that came up the bare eastern slope. Between the heavy weapons, riflemen and BAR gunners tried to remember landmarks and aiming points in the gathering dark. Word was passed that the smoking lamp was out, and 1/24 extinguished their cigarettes and settled in for a very long night.

The trouble began shortly before midnight.

a_asmithPFC Alan Milton Smith probably never knew what hit him. The 27-year-old from Philadelphia had seen a great deal of the world since his enlistment in January, 1942; guard duty in Florida, embassy duty in London, training in California, combat in the Marshall Islands, and rest camp in Maui. He could care less about seeing more exotic locales; he wanted to go back to Philadelphia and see the wife he married shortly before going overseas, and the young child he’d never met. Here on Saipan, however, his buddies on his machine gun team were his family, from squad leader Corporal Pramberger on down to PFC Lawrence Jaster, the youngest ammo carrier. They were clustered together in Pramberger’s carefully chosen position when a single Japanese projectile—a grenade or shell, nobody knew for sure—got them all. The entire crew suffered serious wounds, and Alan Smith was killed outright.

The Word spread quickly down the line. The loss of the gun meant Company A’s line was compromised, and meant that infiltrators were on their way. The hard-and-fast rule about not moving after dark was suspended in the emergency. Corporal Tom Hurley—Pramberger’s counterpart in another squad—tapped his gunner, PFC George Smith, on the helmet.[14] “Come on,” he said, “we’re gonna go up there, get the gun, and bring them back.” Smith grabbed his carbine. Ahead of them, a handful of riflemen had had the same idea, spurred on by the cries of Pramberger’s squad.

This was a favorite Japanese tactic to draw Americans out of their holes. George Smith saw the flashing explosion that killed Corporal Benjamin Duryea and PFC John L. Manson just feet ahead of him. A second shell flew in on the heels of the first, sending Hurley and Smith sprawling to the ground, dazed but unwounded.

Smith was still feeling the effects of his concussion from the day before, and this second near miss was too much.

“A guy alongside of us took a piece of shrapnel to the shinbone, it really hurt me as much as it did him,” he related. “But it shook me a little goofy in the sense that I could not control my emotions. I started to cry. I wasn’t hurt, you know, nothing. We never got to the gun or the men, and we came back, Ski [corpsman Albert Zrimsek] says, ‘What are you crying for?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, this shell went off,” so he said, ‘Here, take some of this.’ He had medical brandy, and that’s all I needed for it.”[15]

a_tuckerThe commotion among the machine gunners attracted the notice of Sergeant Frank Tucker. Tucker was one of the company’s bona fide heroes after earning the Navy Cross on Namur, but rumors of an accidental friendly fire incident caused his removal from the machine gun platoon. Now assigned as platoon sergeant to Lieutenant Paul Rossi of First Platoon, Tucker heard the commotion and evidently gathered that some of his former men were in trouble. Acting alone, and against all better judgment, the Okie sergeant left his position and went from post to post, checking up on the gunners before heading over to the company CP to make a report. The skipper, Captain Irving Schechter, must have been surprised to get such a report from Tucker, but accepted it with thanks and dismissed Tucker to return to his post.

“The poor guy had just started to crawl back to his platoon when he caught a full machine gun blast in his stomach,” Schechter said in 1982. “My God, was he riddled! Even today I can see him, literally cut in half. I used to wonder what the people back home thought when they saw the name of someone they knew on a KIA list. Did they think the corpse looked like the one they’d seen in a funeral parlor back home? Because if they did, they were sadly mistaken.”[16] A different version of the story had Sergeant Tucker shot down by a nervous BAR man for failing to respond to a challenge; instead of giving the countersign, he simply said “It’s me, it’s me.” [17] His body lay on the field until morning.[18]

Miami (Oklahoma) Daily News-Record, July 10 1944.
Miami (Oklahoma) Daily News-Record, July 10 1944.

Not far away, PFC Robert Tierney was crouched in his foxhole, dug in at the edge of a sugar cane field. “Our company dug in two rows, about ten yards apart,” he recalled. “The second row was about 15 yards behind us and offset in checkerboard style.” The 19-year-old BAR gunner, part of Sergeant Mike Frihauf’s special demolitions squad, remembered the sergeant’s admonishment of the previous day, but the sounds that worried him tonight weren’t artillery—it was a scuffling and commotion from a friend’s foxhole.

a_iversonTierney knew his good friend PFC Fred “Staten Ivy” Iverson was in trouble. “Okay, Ivy?” he called. “Okay, Bob” came the response. Another hour passed in quiet, and then a second struggle broke out. Once again, it was “Okay, Ivy?” and “Okay, Bob.” By morning, two dead Japanese lay next to Iverson’s hole.[19]

“He happened to be right on the path where they were trying to get by-past him, trying to get back to their places. He killed them with his bare hands,” recalled Tierney.[20]

Over in Baker Company’s sector, the scene was even more horrific. They could doubtless hear the spat over Pramberger’s gun, and while they might not have known the details, it was clear that something was brewing. Suddenly, they heard a chattering to their front—foreign voices coming closer. The sharper-eared Marines detected female voices, and the word was passed to hold fire. “We heard the voices of women and other rackets indicating [that] a group of people were approaching our lines and would soon come into view on the skyline,” remembered John Pope. “We had never fought on an island where women and children lived so we hesitated to fire when they came among us. A terrible mistake on our part.”[21] Hidden among the terrified civilians were armed Japanese soldiers, who had gambled—correctly—that the Americans would not open fire until it was too late.

The memory of that terrible night would haunt John Pope for the next seventy years.

All of a sudden, we were in the middle of a terrible hand-to-hand, close up fight. We were in two-man foxholes, so we naturally watched each other’s back. It was a wild few minutes before a flare exploded overhead and we could see who was who.

I remember catching a glimpse of [Felix Nawodczynski], a big 200+ pound friend just to my left.[22] A small teenaged looking kid [came up] behind and jumped astride his back with his arms locked around [Felix]’s neck. [Felix] was trying to reach over his shoulder to grab the kid, but a grenade exploded between them. The kid had the grenade under his shirt, pressed tightly between them. It blew [Felix] almost in half.

b_nawodczynskiFelix Nawodczynski

Someone yelled, “Marines stay down,” which was a good idea because this helped to separate us a little. I do not know how long it was before some of the enemy made it back over the ridge and it quieted down a little. During [the attack] neither Bobby [probably PFC Robert Sherrill] nor I fired a shot. We were squatted down waiting for a clear shot.

I heard Joe sobbing in a foxhole close by. I asked, “Are you all right Joe?” He responded saying over and over, “I just killed Murphy,” his foxhole buddy and close friend.[23]

b_murphyJoseph Murphy

Fighting up close is always the worst kind, but it is really bad at night. I do not remember how many men we lost in that little battle, but those of us who survived had a mindset that never again would we be taken in by such a terrible trick.[24]

Even Battalion HQ was worried. Lieutenant Stott noted “a platoon from the Regimental Weapons Company which furnished the connecting link between the front line and the battalion CP was forced back into the CP for lack of flank support,” which was particularly troubling because the battalion aid station was exceptionally busy. “Losses mounted throughout the night, yet evacuation was impossible as any carrying party would have suffered itself without accomplishment of the mission,” Stott continued. “But our wire communication remained operative as on the previous night, thus preserving some measure of control and allowing a fair estimate of the situation. Communications are essential and our men and equipment proved completely dependable throughout.”[25]

Finally, the Japanese melted back into the darkness. To the north, the Second Marine Division was catching hell; 1/24 heard ammunition dumps exploding and sustained machine gun fire from 0430 until daybreak on D+2. For all they could do, that fight may as well have taken place on the moon. The usually resourceful Lieutenant Stott was, by this point, completely out of options. “We could do naught but listen to our own bursts of fire and occasional cries, and wait for dawn and a chance to move out the wounded,” he wrote.[26] For those of 1/24 that survived, the horrible night of June 16-17, 1944 would not soon fade from their memories. One of the wounded, PFC George W. Pelish, summed it up for them all: “The Marshalls show was tame compared to Saipan.”[27]

Not surprisingly, the battalion noticed an increase in combat-induced stress casualties on D+1. A slug of brandy and a rest could calm some like George Smith, but other cases were more serious. PFCs John Czepiel (A/mortars) and Raymond Cable (B/rifleman) were taken off the line; Cable recovered and returned, but Czepiel was through with combat. The senior enlisted corpsman, Chief Pharmacist’s Mate Winston Blevins, was overwhelmed by flow of casualties. When wounded himself, Blevins was hospitalized more for “combat fatigue” than physical damage. Combat fatigue, psychoneurosis, war neurosis—by any name, it was as serious as any wound, and few blamed a man who had reached his breaking point. All knew that theirs was coming; the only question was when.

The Fallen

hq_schultz John Waytow portrait copy hq_miller a_Duryea a_garrett

Lieutenant Colonel
Maynard C. Schultz
Age 30
Battalion Commander
Shrapnel, head & chest

Sergeant
John Waytow
Age 26
Comms Chief, HQ Co.
Head wounds
Private First Class
Paul E. Miller
Age 21
Telephone Man, HQ Co.
Cause unknown
Corporal
Albert B. Duryea
Age 25
Fire Team Leader, A Co.
Shrapnel, head
Private First Class
Sperling G. Garrett
Age 20
BARman, A Co.
Cause unknown
a_manson a_asmith b_harville b_duclos b_nawodczynski
Private First Class
John L. Manson
Age 21
Rifleman, A Co.
Cause unknown
Private First Class
Alan M. Smith
Age 28
MG Ammo Carrier, A Co.
Shrapnel wounds
Sergeant
Jess E. Harville

Age 24
MG Section Leader, B Co.
Cause unknown
Corporal
Edward J. Duclos
Age 23
Fire Team Leader, B Co.
Cause unknown
Corporal
Felix S. Nawodczynski

Age 23
MG Squad Leader, B Co.
Infiltrator Grenade
b_breslin b_lhill b_murphy xz_nopic b_wolfe
Private First Class
Robert L. Breslin
Age 19
BARman, B Co.
Cause unknown
Private First Class
Lee C. Hill
Age 22
MG Ammo Carrier, B Co.
Cause unknown
Private First Class
Joseph T. Murphy

Age 20
Machine Gunner, B Co.
Infiltrator / Friendly Fire
Private First Class
John P. Muscatell, Jr.
Age 30
Rifleman, B Co.
Cause unknown
Private First Class
Glenn L. Wolfe
Age 19
BARman, B Co.
Cause unknown
(USS Arthur Middleton)
c_chucci c_ferrera   c_patton c_richard
Private First Class
Nicholas Chucci

Age 24
Ammo Carrier, C Co.
Cause unknown
Private First Class
Alfonso J. Ferrera
Age 21
Barber, C Co.
Cause unknown
  Private First Class
Archie C. Patton

Age 21
Rifleman, C Co.
Cause unknown
Field Music 1c
Norman J. Richard
Age 21
Musician, C Co.
Cause unknown
WOUNDED
COMPANY Name Assignment Cause Destination
Headquarters 1Lt. Joseph R. Donovan
ChPhM Winston C. Blevins

PhM3c Sam Susman
Cpl. Harry J. Watkins, Jr.
PFC John H. Klanke
PFC Henry E. Lucien
PFC Jacob F. Mohr
PFC Joseph Rozmus
Asst. 81mm officer
Corpsman
Corpsman
Telephone Lineman
Intelligence Man
Driver
Driver
Driver
Gunshot, chest (fatal)
Combat fatigue
Unknown
Unknown
Compound fracture, lt. humerus
Unknown
Blast compression
Unknown
USS Pierce
USS Sumter
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
USS Electra
USS Bountiful
Able 1Lt. David E. Smith
Sgt. Peter Markovich
Cpl. Harold E. Carter, Jr.
Cpl. Anthony Pramberger
Cpl. Ernest M. Cubero
PFC Jesse G. Acklam, Jr.
PFC John J. Czepiel
PFC Luca A. Durante
PFC Leonard J. Forthaus
PFC Edward J. Hackett
PFC Wallace M. Holt
PFC Frederick D. Iverson
PFC Lawrence J. Jaster
PFC Herschell O. Miller
PFC Dale L. Owings
PFC Aldo Passante
PFC George W. Pelish
PFC Dominick Piccolomini
PFC William F. Savoy
PFC Vernon E. Smith
PFC David W. Spohn
PFC Robert N. Wise
Pvt. Wilford M. Goode
Leader, 3rd Platoon
Duty Sergeant
Fire Team Leader
MG Squad Leader
Squad Leader
Messenger
Mortar Ammo Carrier
Machine Gunner
BAR Gunner
Mortarman
Rifleman
BAR Gunner
MG Ammo Carrier
BAR Gunner
Mortar Ammo Carrier
MG Ammo Carrier
Rifleman
Machine Gunner
Machine Gunner
MG Ammo Carrier
Machine Gunner
Messenger
Rifleman
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Combat Fatigue
Psychoneurosis
Shrapnel
Unknown
Wounds, multiple, rt. shoulder
Unknown
Unknown
Shrapnel
Unknown
Unknown
Lost right lower leg to mortar
Unknown
Shrapnel
Shrapnel
Shrapnel
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
USS Bellatrix
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
USS Bellatrix
USS Electra
Unknown
Unknown
USS John Land
Unknown
USS Arthur Middleton
USS Bountiful

Unknown
Unknown
USS Neville
USS Bountiful
Not evacuated
USS Doyen
USS Bountiful
Baker 1Lt. Charles R. Bechtol
1Lt. David E. Lownds
2Lt. William C. James
Sgt. Daniel J. Brandon
Sgt. Guy R. Bulifant, Jr.
Cpl. Raymond S. Cable
Cpl. Murdick S. Hill
Cpl. Paul H. Hoff
PFC Connie H. Allen
PFC Joseph DeVictoria, Jr.
PFC William G. Dore
PFC John O. Edwards, Jr.
PFC Homer Hager, Jr.
PFC Jack D. McCormick
PFC Emil A. Nichols
PFC Loyd Pittman
PFC Charles Podolski
PFC John Poggioli
PFC Richard Schmidt, Jr.
PFC Otto W. Schwarz
Pvt. Julian L. Ettinger
Leader, 3rd Platoon
Leader, 2nd Platoon
Leader, Mortars
Squad Leader
Property NCO
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Ammo Carrier
Ammo Carrier
Messenger
Fire Team Leader
BAR Gunner
BAR Gunner
BAR Gunner
BAR Gunner
BAR Gunner
BAR Gunner
Machine Gunner
Rifleman
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Shell fragment, right arm
Unknown
Combat fatigue
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Blast concussion
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
USS Bountiful
Unknown
USS Leon
Unknown
USS Bountiful
Unknown
Not evacuated
Unknown
USS Electra
USS Solace
Unknown
USS Bountiful
Unknown
Unknown
USS Solace
USS Bountiful
USS Bountiful
USS Bountiful
Unknown
USS Bountiful
Charlie 2Lt. William E. Reynolds
Sgt. Frank A. Harder
Cpl. Frank J. Burgess
Cpl. John W. Ridings
PFC Aubrey W. Bowles
PFC Clarence A. Campbell
PFC Colon A. Pilkenton
PFC Melvin G. Root
PFC John R. Stiener
Leader, 2nd Platoon
Squad Leader
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
MG Ammo Carrier
General Duty
Rifleman
Rifleman
Rifleman
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown (fatal)
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
USS Bellatrix
USS Brooks
Unknown
Unknown
NON-COMBAT EVACUATION
COMPANY Name Assignment Cause Destination
Headquarters Sgt. John M. Siranovich Radio Repairman Sick USS Calvert
Able PFC Burnett P. Fenger Rifleman Sick Unknown
Charlie Cpl. Stanley Shemansky Fire Team Leader Whereabouts Unknown/MIA Unknown

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 FOOTNOTES

[1] Frederic A. Stott, “Saipan Under Fire” (Andover: Frederic Stott, 1945), 3.
[2] Carl W. Hoffman, Saipan: The Beginning of the End (Washington: Historical Division, US Marine Corps, 1950), 71-73.
[3] John Waytow, USMC Personnel Record. Courtesy of Janice Hicks. Waytow is alternately listed as “found dead in field with a wound fragment of the head presumed to be the cause of death” and “head wounds received from enemy rifle butt.”
[4] Stott, 4.
[5] Stott. The nickname “Heinie” is attributed to Captain Irving Schechter of Company A in Henry Berry, Semper Fi, Mac (New York: Harper, 1982), 224.
[6] Ibid.
[7] John Pope, Angel On My Shoulder (Kindle Locations 924-926). John Pope. Kindle Edition, (2013-11-30).
[8] Pope.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Stott, 4.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Although both George Smith and Alan Smith were Philadelphia natives, they were not related and knew each other only by association in the platoon.
[15] George A. Smith, interview with the author, November 2009.
[16] Henry Berry, Semper Fi, Mac (New York: Harper, 1982), 225.
[17] A veteran who wishes to remain anonymous related this story to the author. It cannot be officially verified; Schechter took pains to note that “Tucker had definitely been killed by Japanese fire;” Tucker’s casualty card simply notes he was killed by bullet wounds, and a variety of newspapers gave lurid and conflicting accounts of the hero’s demise. Friendly fire incidents were not uncommon, and neither was their suppression by the men of a unit. Also, the name of the BAR gunner is not known; if this story is true, the unfortunate man lived with the guilt for the rest of his life.
[18] Tucker is officially listed as being KIA on June 17, 1944, which likely means this event occurred at some point after midnight. It is also possible that, if his fate was not known for certain until the morning, the last possible date of death would be given. Over the course of the campaign, several men from 1/24 were listed as “found dead in the field” – killed overnight and not discovered until the morning.
[19] Robert E. Tierney, “My Marine Corps Experience.” Iverson was so nicknamed because he hailed from Staten Island; 1/24 muster rolls note that he was wounded in action on June 16 and evacuated shortly thereafter, probably the result of his scrape with the infiltrators.
[20] Robert E. Tierney, interview with John K. Driscoll, oral history interview, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, March 31, 2005.
[21] Pope, (Kindle Locations 945-947).
[22] Pope approximates this Marine’s complicated name as “Phil Nowengsky.”
[23] “Murphy” is almost certainly PFC Joseph Terrence Murphy, a machine gunner with B/1/24. The identity of “Joe” is not known.
[24] Ibid.,  Kindle Locations 955-959.
[25] Stott, 5.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Anonymous, “With Marines on World Battlefronts,” Marine Corps Chevron, 19 August 1944.

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