Reuel Dring Allison
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Parents, John & Lizzie Allison
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7/22/1942 – 11/3/1945
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Reuel Allison was born and raised in Chester, Illinois by John and Lizzie Smith Allison. John was an insurance salesman, and the trait ran in the family; each of the three Allison children – Vivian, Reuel, and Dale – were working in sales by 1940. Reuel left his job with the local grocery store to join the Marine Corps in 1942.
Not long after he completed boot camp, Private Allison came under formal investigation for falsifying information when he joined up – a “fraudulent enlistment.” However, he was cleared of all charges, then promoted to private first class. Allison was detailed to the recruit depot’s headquarters, where he became an assistant and then a fully trained drill instructor. Starting in late 1943, raw Marine volunteers and draftees would cower before the wrath of Corporal Allison as he made them into fighting men. Despite the beliefs of his recruits, Allison was human – he found time away from his schedule to get married in August, 1943.
For all his impressive bearing, Allison had not yet experienced combat. Late in 1944, he joined up with the 24th Replacement Draft, and within a few weeks was on his way to Iwo Jima.
Allison’s unit was intended to be broken up and parceled out as the front-line regiments took casualties. It was hoped that they would not be needed, but by evening of D-Day, February 19 1945, some elements of the draft were already ashore helping to clear the beach, carry the wounded, dig foxholes, and carry ammunition. As a squad leader, with the voice and command presence he developed as a DI, Corporal Allison would have had the raw marines of the draft jumping even as he himself struggled to adjust to combat conditions.
On February 24, Corporal Allison and a handful of other NCOs were assigned groups of privates and PFCs to lead to the front lines. Allison and his group became part of Baker Company, 24th Marines – they had four days to adjust to their new surroundings before their battalion was thrown back into combat.
Somehow, Corporal Allison managed to survive the battle of Iwo Jima without a serious wound. He returned to Maui as a permanent member of Baker Company, and was promoted to sergeant in the summer of 1945. Allison ended the war as a rifle squad leader, and was detailed for a few days to the 25th Marines before his honorable discharge on November 3, 1945.
After the war, Reuel and his wife returned to Chester, Illinois, where they raised two children. He died in 1994, at the age of 76.