William Becker

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No photo available.
NAME:
William Becker
NICKNAME:
SERVICE NUMBER:
859148
HOME OF RECORD:
Denver, CO
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Minnie Becker
DATE OF BIRTH:
9/18/1924
SERVICE DATES:
6/14/1943 – 8/22/1946
DATE OF DEATH:
9/2/1980
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE RESULT
Iwo Jima A/1/24 746 PFC WIA
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class

William Becker was the youngest son of Dave and Minnie Becker, Russian Jewish immigrants who owned and operated a grocery store in Denver, Colorado. Following Dave’s death in the mid 1930s, Minnie continued to work the store while older son Joe drove a truck and William attended high school.

Becker enlisted in the Marine Corps in June, 1943. After completing boot camp at MCRD San Diego, he hoped to join the infamous Second Raider Battalion and trained with them for a time, but in the end was disappointed; he and a handful of other Marines washed out of Raider training in October and were sent to the far less glamorous post of a rear-echelon service company at the Fifth Amphibious Corps transient center.

The transient center was meant to be a holding pool for Marines on their way to new assignments; it was rare for anyone to stay there more than a few weeks. PFC Becker was the exception; he wound up as part of the Service Company staff and spent most of 1944 as a truck driver at the center.

In the fall of 1944, Becker traded his keys for a BAR and joined Company A, First Battalion, 24th Marines as an automatic rifleman. From September through the following January he trained at Camp Maui, busting the rust off his infantry training. He would need every bit of it; on February 19, 1945, William Becker landed on Iwo Jima.

Becker’s time in Iwo Jima was, mercifully, quite short. He was hit on February 25; six days on Iwo were more than enough to convince anyone that even a nasty wound was better than staying on the front lines. And William Becker’s wounds were serious indeed; he remained in the hospital until long after the war ended, receiving his honorable discharge at last in August, 1946.

Further details of Becker’s life are few. He died in Wyoming in 1980, and is buried in Golden Hill Cemetery, Lakewood, Colorado.

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