Raymond E. Bartlett

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NAME:
Raymond Edward Bartlett
NICKNAME:
Ray
SERVICE NUMBER:
375166
HOME OF RECORD:
Denison, IA
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Lena Bartlett
DATE OF BIRTH:
12/19/1913
SERVICE DATES:
4/6/1942 – 6/17/1944
DATE OF DEATH:
6/17/1944
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE RESULT
Roi-Namur C/1/24 653 Corporal  
Saipan C/1/24 653 Sergeant KIA
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Sergeant

Raymond was born on December 19, 1913, in Crawford, Iowa. His parents, William and Lena, presided over a large farming family which by 1930 included Clarence, Raymond, Verl, Lucille, Donald, and Ralph Bartlett. The Bartletts emphasized education, and most if not all of the children received their high school diplomas. Still, their hometown of Denison was strongly rural, and they had little desire to leave. By 1940, Raymond was working as a laborer in a local seed house and encouraging his two youngest brothers to get through school.

The impetus to leave Denison came in the form of the attack on Pearl Harbor, just before Bartlett’s 28th birthday. The following April, he traveled to Des Moines to enlist in the Marine Corps, and was soon on his way to California for training at MCRD San Diego. Bartlett’s first year in the corps was spent on duty in the Receiving Station at Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington; while there, he was promoted to corporal.

 

"Ray home during WWII." Probably taken in the winter of 1942-1943. Bartlett probably paid out of pocket for the dress blue uniform he is wearing. Photo courtesy of Ray's great-nephew, Matt Bartlett.
“Ray home during WWII.” Probably taken in the winter of 1942-1943. Bartlett likely paid out of pocket for the dress blue uniform he is wearing. Photo courtesy of Ray’s great-nephew, Matt Bartlett.

In the early fall of 1943, Corporal Bartlett transferred from chilly Washington to sunny San Diego, joining Charlie Company, 24th Marines at Camp Pendleton. Thanks in part to his age – at near thirty, he was one of the oldest men in his battalion – and to his months of prior service, Bartlett was put in command of a fire team shortly after joining the regiment. He trained with them through the winter months of 1943, then shipped out for Kwajalein Atoll in January, 1944. Bartlett would see his first combat on the island of Namur the following month, and experience the loss of friends and comrades as well. However, he did well enough under fire to merit a promotion to sergeant – and command of his own squad – at Camp Maui in the spring of 1944.

Sadly, Bartlett only led a squad in battle for a short time. He landed on Saipan on the evening of June 15, 1944, and saw some heavy fighting before losing his life two days later. He was buried in the newly established Army cemetery on June 20; Bartlett’s remains would rest there undisturbed for the next four years. Finally, in 1948, his body returned to Iowa.

Today, Raymond Bartlett is buried in Vail Cemetery, Crawford County, Iowa.

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