Ronald P. Bartels

Ronald Paul Bartels
Meehan Junction, MS
Parents, Albert & Irene Bartels
2/9/1943 – 4/8/1970
Roi-Namur A/1/24 745 Private  
Saipan A/1/24 504 PFC Sick
Tinian A/1/24 504 PFC WIA
Iwo Jima A/1/24 607 PFC WIA
Purple Heart with Gold Star
Private First Class (WWII)
Master Sergeant (Retirement)

Ronald Bartels was born in Wisconsin in 1925. His family  moved to Mississippi later that decade, and took up residence in Washington County. Ronald enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly before his eighteenth birthday; he attended boot camp in San Diego and trained with Company E of Camp Elliott’s infantry battalion before being assigned to Company A, 24th Marines, on August 27, 1943.

“Blackie” Bartels originally qualified as a rifleman; he was reassigned to the weapons platoon when the company expanded, and became an ammunition carrier with the mortar section. He fought in the battle of Namur, after which he was promoted to Private First Class. Bartels stayed with the mortar section during the battle of Saipan; he was evacuated for illness on July 5, 1944. He may have been suffering from shell shock as the company lost heavily in a Japanese ambush – among the casualties were the first and second in command of Bartels’ mortar section. Bartels returned to the company on July 8, in time to participate in the final days of the campaign.

Bartels was wounded in action during a Japanese banzai attack on Tinian; he was evacuated to a naval hospital on Hawaii to recover. He rejoined the company in the fall of 1944, once again taking a position as a mortarman. PFC Bartels was likely one of the senior members of his squad when they landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945; he was one of several mortarmen wounded by Japanese shellfire on the night of the landing.

Log of operations, USS Hinsdale.
Log of operations, USS Hinsdale.

Blackie was evacuated to the USS Hinsdale (APA 120) for treatment; he returned to the battle on February 26 and fought through the rest of the battle.

“Blackie” Bartels after Iwo Jima.

Bartels remained with Able Company through April, 1945; with two wounds and four campaigns under his belt, he had more than earned the right to head stateside, and spent the last months of World War Two guarding the Naval Air Station in Miami, Florida.

Even with the experience of World War Two behind him, Ronald Bartels decided to make a living in the Marines. After he married Elizabeth Snow in June, 1946, Bartels embarked on a career that would stretch until April, 1970. Although he never again served overseas, he is credited with service during the Korean and Vietnam wars, and eventually retired with the rank of Master Sergeant.

Bartels died in 1978. He is buried in Section 67, Site 1354 of Arlington National Cemetery.

6 thoughts on “Ronald P. Bartels

  1. Ronald was my first cousin. He and many others gave their lives to the service of this country. He will always be in my memory.

    1. Mr. Newstrom – Ronald Bartels served in the platoon commanded by my own first cousin, 1Lt. Philip E. Wood. Lt. Wood was killed in action on July 5, 1944 – Ronald was evacuated the same day, and I’ve always thought the two events were connected. I’ve been to visit Ronald’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and pay my respects.

      Lieutenant Wood is the tall Marine standing in this picture, and I’m told that the man by his elbow is Ronald Bartels.

      He had the utmost respect for every man in his platoon, particularly his mortar section, and I hope he earned Ronald’s respect in turn.


  2. Geoffrey, I am sure your information is correct. I am a genealogist and his Mother was my Aunt. Ronald joint the service at a very young age as I did. Still he gave so much more. Thanks, Evans

  3. Geoffrey, I am sure your information is correct. I am a genealogist and his Mother was my Aunt. Ronald joined the service at a very young age as I did. Still he gave so much more. Thanks, Evans

  4. Geoffrey,
    Thanks for the referral. That was an extremely powerful story. As well as you wrote the story it is still hard to even imagine the pain and fear these mostly very young men were going through. The story effectively describes how terrible war experiences can be. i have in mind that most of these young men had just said good by to their families on an adventure they were not equipped to understand. Perhaps just out of high school with few other options than to join the army etc. I can relate to that myself but i can also relate to a view of a wide open field of crosses or other markers where so many of them have been laid to rest. My God take them and keep them. They gave it all. For those who did not die their lives were forever altered by this experience but you have a good understanding of what i am trying to say. Thanks to you from the bottom of my heart.
    Evans Newstrom

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