Francis G. Felicia

NAME:
Francis Gordon Felicia
NICKNAME:
SERVICE NUMBER:
730 95 33
HOME OF RECORD:
Lower Brule, SD
NEXT OF KIN:
Grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. George Desheuquette
DATE OF BIRTH:
2/22/1925
SERVICE DATES:
12/18/1942 – 1946
8/14/1950 – 6/11/1954
DATE OF DEATH:
10/13/1959
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE RESULT
ROI-NAMUR A/1/24 Corpsman HA1c
SAIPAN A/1/24 Corpsman HA1c WIA
TINIAN In Hospital
IWO JIMA A/1/24 Corpsman HA1c
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Commendation Medal (WWII)
Silver Star, Purple Heart (Korea)
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Pharmacist’s Mate, Third Class (WWII)
Hospitalman, Third Class (Korea)

Francis Felicia was born Francis DeSheuquette on February 22, 1925. His mother, Edith, was only fifteen and the two lived at the home of her parents, George and Eva. The DeSheuquettes were members of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe of South Dakota.

The DeSheuquettes were not counted on the Indian Census after January 1937; it is not known what became of Edith, or why her son decided to change his last name. However, it was Francis Felicia who joined the Navy on December 18, 1942 and was sent for training at the Field Medical School at Camp Elliott, California.

Hospital Apprentice First Class Felicia joined First Battalion, 24th Marines on December 4, 1943. He went AWOL on Christmas Day, luckily returning before the battalion sailed for combat. Felicia found himself facing the anger of a summary court-martial – had he missed the sailing, he would have received a general court-martial, with the possibility of years in a Naval prison. Participation in the battle of Namur absolved Felicia of his indiscretion; he became “Doc” to the men of Company A, was promoted to Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class, and lost the rating again before landing on Saipan on June 15, 1944.

Three days later, Felicia was on his way back to the beach with a serious wound. He was  evacuated aboard the hospital ship USS Solace and sent to the Naval Hospital at Aiea Heights, Hawaii for treatment. A month away from duty did wonders for his health, and Felicia was soon ready to return to his battalion. And return he did, in time to train up for the battle of Iwo Jima.

The handful of Able Company survivors who made it through Iwo Jima. Doc Felicia is eighth from left in the standing row.

Felicia was the only corpsman from his company to last the entire battle; he was recommended for a Letter of Commendation (later upgraded to a Bronze Star) and promoted to PhM3c once again. He kept this rating through the end of the war, and briefly returned to civilian life.

Like many of his First Battalion comrades, Doc Felicia returned to the service during the Korean War. Unlike most, he would see fierce combat. On August 9, 1952, Felicia would earn the undying respect of nearly fifty Marines, as well as two additional medals for his dress uniform. The citation for his Silver Star outlines his deeds:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Hospitalman Francis G. Felicia (NSN: 7309533), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as a Medical Corpsman attached to a Marine Infantry Company of the FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in Korea, on 9 August 1952. With the platoon pinned down by intense mortar and automatic weapons fire delivered by the enemy at extremely close range, Hospitalman Felicia bravely moved from one position to another to administer first aid and to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. Although painfully wounded by a shell fragment as he moved forward under a barrage of enemy hand grenades, he succeeded in removing a wounded Marine to safety and in rendering aid to the stricken man, remaining at his post for approximately five hours and administering medical treatment to an estimated fifty casualties. By his courageous initiative, marked fortitude and selfless devotion to duty, Hospitalman Felicia served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Felicia left the service in June, 1954, with the rating of Hospitalman Third Class. He married Betty Jean Lee and settled in Littleton, Colorado, but died at the young age of 34. He is buried in Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver.

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