Eugene Martin Andree
|HOME OF RECORD:
|NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Oscar Andree
|DATE OF BIRTH:
1/22/1943 – 2/19/1945
|DATE OF DEATH:
Purple Heart with Gold Star
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
Eugene Andree was born in Clay County, Minnesota on March 3, 1924. His family, headed by Great War veteran Oscar Andree and his wife Bessie Mae, also included Gene’s sisters Adeline and Mildred. The Andrees worked a farm in Kragnes Township near the village of Moorhead, were well-known lifelong members of Oak Mound Congregational Church in Kragnes, and attended Oak Mound School.
He was drafted into the Marine Corps in November 1943, trained at MCRD San Diego, and on January 15 was sent to Hawaii to join the Fourth Signal Battalion.
Andree transferred out of the signal company on February 21; he joined Company B, 24th Marines right after their return from combat on Namur. Baker Company had taken the heaviest casualties of the battalion by far – one platoon in particular had virtually ceased to exist – and replacements like PFC Andree were sorely needed. He would fight with them in the battles of Saipan (1) and Tinian, earning a Purple Heart along the way and showing the distinctive Marine eye for acquiring souvenirs.
On February 19, 1945, the Marine Corps invaded Iwo Jima. Gene Andree’s company was not in the first wave, or even in the initial assault; they came ashore much later in the day, once the devastating capabilities of the Japanese defense were fully known. After landing and picking their way through the debris of the landing, Company B was ordered to hustle up to the front line to take a defensive position on a ridge overlooking a rock quarry and relieve the decimated Company L, 3/25th Marines. It was long past the ideal time to establish an overnight defense – nearly 1700 hours – but the Marines had no choice; 3/25 simply did not have the manpower to hold the front alone.
The Japanese, fully aware of where the Marines were digging in, sent mortars, artillery, and infiltrators against Baker Company all night. At some point in the chaos, twenty-year-old Eugene Andree was fatally wounded. His body lay under a cover until space for a cemetery could be cleared; on February 25, he was buried in Plot 1, Row 4, Grave 198.
In 1948, five years after he left Kragnes Township, Eugene Martin came home. Today, he is buried in Oak Mound Congregational Cemetery, Clay County, Minnesota.
(1) Andree is listed as “sick, evacuated” as of July 1, 1944; this was evidently a clerical error, as his Purple Heart was awarded for wounds sustained on June 22.