Charles Willard Alexander, Jr
|HOME OF RECORD:
|NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Kathryn Alexander
|DATE OF BIRTH:
5/30/1944 – 11/23/1945
|DATE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
Charles Willard Alexander, Junior was born in Chicago and raised by his parents, railroad waiter Charles Senior and Czech-born Kathryn Alexander. Little else is known about his life before the war.
Charles was drafted into the Marine Corps in May, 1944, at the age of nineteen. He would have attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego before receiving additional training in the profession of a Marine anti-tank gunner. Once fully qualified in the operation of the small but deadly 37mm anti-tank gun, Private Alexander was assigned to the 24th Replacement Draft, awaiting assignment to a permanent unit.
That assignment came on February 27, 1945 – and it would not be an anti-tank unit. Private Alexander was ordered to report to Company A, 24th Marines as a rifleman; Corps logic maintained that every Marine was first and foremost a rifleman, and this rifle company had suffered heavy losses in their first five days on Iwo Jima. Alexander had only a few days to get to know his new squad of veterans before being flung into front line combat.
A bullet or shell fragment found Charles Alexander on March 6, 1945, during an attack on the Amphitheater / Turkey Knob complex. He was evacuated and did not see further combat, spending the rest of the war recuperating in in the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. He was discharged on November 23, 1945 with the rank of Private First Class.
Charles Alexander died in 1978, and is buried in Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, WI.