Charlie

31 survivors of Company C, 24th Marines, after the battle of Iwo Jima. Photo by PFC James Cochran (H&S/24) and provided by Brad Logan
31 survivors of Company C, 24th Marines, after the battle of Iwo Jima. Photo by PFC James Cochran (H&S/24) and provided by Brad Logan

Charlie Company was the third of the battalion’s line rifle companies. During the battle of Iwo Jima, Charlie Company took so many casualties that their company was temporarily disbanded and was divided amongst the remnants of Companies A and B; they were reconstituted with replacements after returning to Maui in April, 1945. Perhaps the most famous veteran of Charlie Company is “Iron Mike” Mervosh who, upon his retirement as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps set the record as the longest serving enlisted man in the history of the Corps.

Roster

View individual biographies of the members of Company C.

Skippers

c_masters c_parks c_stott c_parks c_stott c_esterline
William D. Masters
December, 1942 –
February, 1943
Horace C. Parks
March, 1943 –
July 4, 1944
Frederic A. Stott
July 4, 1944 –
July 12, 1944
Horace C. Parks
July 12, 1944 –
August 5, 1944
Frederic A. Stott
August 5, 1944 –
November 6, 1944
William Esterline
November 6, 1944 –
February 25, 1945
c_stott b_swoyer c_klopfenstine a_salvaggio hq_mcgilvray b_selinger
Frederic A. Stott
February. 25, 1945 –
March 1, 1945
WIA
Joseph D. Swoyer
March 1, 1945
WIA
Roy Klopfenstine
March 1, 1945 –
March 7, 1945
Killed In Action
Marshall Salvaggio
March 7, 1945 –
March 27, 1945
Arthur McGilvray
March 27, 1945 –
April 15, 1945

Robert S. Selinger
April 15, 1945 –
End of War

 

Casualties

Campaign Landing Strength
(Joined Mid-Battle)
Killed Wounded Sick
(Not Returned)
Total Percent
Namur 192 2 11 0 13 6.7%
Saipan 227
Joined: 1
25
0
68
0
15
0
108
0
48%
0%
Tinian 168
Joined: 10
10
0
28
0
7
0
45
0
27%
0%
Iwo Jima 215
Joined: 38
47
7
112
23
4
0
163
30
76%
79%

Decorations

Note: This chart only shows decorations awarded for service with Company C, and is a work in progress.
Click on a name to read the citation. Posthumous awards are noted in italics.

                         Navy Cross Silver Star Bronze Star
Namur Frank W. Celentano Horace C. Parks
Saipan Thomas A. Schultz Jack W. Aeby
Miller M. Blue
Glen H. Knisley
Samuel P. McNeal
Stanley Sander
Alexander Santilli
Charles F. Burton
Thomas W. Cox
Wilson L. Cook
Horace C. Parks
William E. Reynolds
Harold A. Risberg
Tinian John J. Loughrey
Frank Vallee, Jr.
Elmo A. Burns
J. Murray Fox
Iwo Jima Michael F. Murray, Jr.
Franklin C. Robbins
Jack Coutts
Joseph Dill, Jr.
Thomas M. Harris
Samuel P. McNeal
Jack W. Fansler
Arthur T. LaPorte
Bob Moss
Jack C. Manning
Frederic A. Stott

 

13 thoughts on “Charlie

  1. Are there any of these Marines still around??? Charlie Company 1/24 is now part of the Marine Corps Reserve in Lansing, MI.
    I was the Company Gunny from 2001 – 2003……
    Semper Fi
    Phil Zamora – GySgt (ret)

    1. Hi Phil,

      There are some WW2 veterans of Charlie Company still around. The only one I’ve corresponded with is J. Murray Fox, their mortar section commander – he was living in Greenbrae, California the last I know.

      Their most well-known Marine, “Iron Mike” Mervosh, is not only still alive but even went back to Iwo Jima earlier this year – climbed Mount Suribachi at the age of 88.

      There are some great interviews with Charlie Company Marines in the books “By Dammit We’re Marines” by Gail Chatfield, and “Iwo Jima” by Larry Smith.

      Charlie didn’t have much luck with their Gunnys during the war. The first three (Philip J. Nelson, John E. Cornell, and Willard E. Wacklor) were dropped from the rolls either for sickness or training injuries. All three spent at least a month in Pendleton’s sick bay before being replaced – Wacklor happened to be out when they embarked for overseas, so they fought in their first action at Namur without a Gunny. They picked up two (William J. Adams and Howard L. Burton) in the spring of 1944. Adams was wounded on Saipan on June 16, and replaced by Harry H. Perry.

      Perry was one of the more colorful Gunnys in the battalion, as related by one of Charlie Company’s officers:

      “Lt. Loughrey, speaking to Gy. Sgt. Perry of “C” Company, instructed him, “Gunny, bring your C.P. up here for the night.” The Gunny, a 5’4″ Marine Corps Napoleon with a waxed handlebar moustache (he saved the wax from the outside of “K” ration boxes), protested, “but Lieutenant, there’s snipers up here and they’re shootin!” “Aw, bring that goddam C.P. up anyhow,” growled Loughrey. Whereupon a spent bullet whacked into Perry’s helmet, knocking him down and stunning him slightly. Flat on his back he turned to Loughrey with a dazed expression and said — “See what I mean bud, see what I mean; them snipers can shoot!”

      Perry was company Gunny on Iwo Jima, as was Elmo A. Burns. Burns was wounded on Iwo, while Perry made it through and was promoted to First Sergeant. When they were disbanded at the end of the war, the Gunny was Robert T. Nichols.

      If you’re interested, you can email me at webmaster@ablecompany24.com and I’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide some more detailed biographies.

      Thank you for continuing the tradition of service and excellence that they began.

      Cheers,
      Geoff

      1. What can you tell me or do you have any information about Carl Starns. All i know is he was one of the 31 men who survived from the 240 of the charlie company.

    2. Hey Gunny, Iron Mike Mervosh is still alive and kicking – and kicking hard. My uncle Sil and Mike were a part of C Company. SIl has passed on, but Iron Mike has a recent biography published – “Hardcore Iron Mike – Conqueror of Iwo Jima.” It’s available on Amazon and I would be pleased to make an introduction if you like.

  2. Phil and I served together for about three years. He was my Gunny while I was still a Lance Corporal in Weapons Platoon. I served with Charlie Company 1/24 from August 2001 till July 2007. I got to serve with the current generation of Chuck Co. Marines in Fallujah. They’re a great group of people and would love any historical insight you may be able to provide via the web. Right now I am teaching down here in Texas and am working with the high schools and local universities’ history departments in the Houston area. I would love to do some research of my own. I would appreciate any help you can offer.

    Sincerely,
    Sgt. Matt Bunin
    1/24 USMC

  3. What wonderful site. I came across it while doing some research on my family and found my great uncle, Edward Ternove, here. Thank you so much for this.

  4. My grandfather Adrian J. DeWitt was in 1/24 during Iwo. Unfortunately I was only 10 when he passed away, I am 41 and served in Corps as well. I have visited Iwo Jima and climbed Mt Suribachi during a west pak in south east asia in 2001. It was an honor to have touched the black beach sand and know the sacrifice so many took there. All i know was he was wounded and received a purple heart during the attack. Semper Fi Devil Dogs

  5. My grandfather LeRoy Starkey has passed, he didn’t like to talk about the war much so unfortunately I don’t have much information. I see he was listed as WIA. Can you tell me what the wound was? Was he sent home or was he able to stay with C company? This website is really nice, thank you.

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