George H. Beisel

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NAME:
George H. Beisel
NICKNAME:
SERVICE NUMBER:
955189
HOME OF RECORD:
Allentown, PA
NEXT OF KIN:
Wife, Mrs. Mary Beisel
DATE OF BIRTH:
6/30/1912
SERVICE DATES:
3/10/1944 – 12/4/1945
DATE OF DEATH:
3/24/2002
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE RESULT
Iwo Jima B/1/24 521 Private WIA
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private

George Beisel was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1912. His parents, Floyd and Ida Beisel, were longtime residents of Allentown Pennsylvania, and shortly after George’s birth settled their family at 219 Ninth Street. For the next thirty years, George Beisel called this address home – even after his wedding; Mary Beisel moved right in and became part of the family.

In 1942, one member of the family left Ninth Street: twenty-one year old Ralph Beisel joined the Army. For the next two years, he was the only Beisel in uniform. George continued to work at his job as a truck driver, and in 1943 became the father of Judith Beisel. And then, in early 1944, his draft notice arrived. He was instructed to report to Parris Island for Marine boot camp.

Beisel was old for a Marine recruit – he was thirty one when he joined the Fifth Recruit Battalion – and the rigorous training took its toll on him. He took nearly six months to complete boot camp; intermittent hospital stays meant he missed graduating with his original, and then with his second recruit platoon. Finally, in August 1944, Private Beisel marched in review with the Ninth Recruit Battalion and became a United States Marine.

Beisel was assigned to the 30th Replacement Draft in October, 1944. Replacement drafts were intended to be broken apart on short notice, with its men distributed to combat units to replace battle casualties. Such was the lot of Private Beisel; on February 27, 1945, he was assigned to Baker Company, 24th Marines.

George Beisel was flung into the front lines of Iwo Jima without ceremony and little preamble; he had at most four days to acquaint himself with his new comrades before his first frontal attack on the Japanese defenses. Replacement Marines on Iwo were notoriously easy targets – nothing in their training had prepared them for such conditions, and because they were essentially strangers in established combat units, they lacked the camaraderie that held the veterans together. Beisel himself was hit on March 4, and his subsequent evacuation for treatment spelled the end of his association with Baker Company and his combat career.

The rest of George Beisel’s time in uniform was spent in hospital. He was discharged on December 5, 1945, and returned immediately to Ninth Street to continue raising his family, supporting them as a maintenance worker.

Beisel died in 2002, and is buried in Union-West End Cemetery, Allentown.

 

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