PERSONAL AWARDS, AND CASUALTIES OF THE SECOND MARINE DIVISION


THE MEDAL OF HONOR

During World War II, eight members of the Second Marine Division earned the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for heroism in combat. Only one of the medals was awarded to a living recipient—Col David Shoup—who later went on to serve as the 22nd Commandant of the Marine Corps.

The roster below lists the Division's World War II Medal of Honor recipients alphabetically. Ranks shown are those held at the time of the cited actions and an asterisk denotes a posthumous award. The individual names are hyperlinked to external sites with more information. This will take the visitor away from WW2 Gyrene to the USMC History Division.

Pfc Harold C. Agerholm, 4th Battalion, 10th Marines *
1stLt Alexander Bonnyman, Jr., 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines *
Pfc Harold G. Epperson, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines *
1stLt William D. Hawkins, Scout-Sniper Platoon, 2nd Marines *
SSgt William J. Bordelon, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines *
Col David M. Shoup, 2nd Marines
Sgt Grant F. Timmerman, 2nd Tank Battalion *
Pfc Robert L. Wilson, 2nd Battalion, 18th Marines *

THE NAVY CROSS

117 men of the Second Marine Division earned the Navy Cross for heroism in action during the war. One Marine—LtCol Robert Hill—earned two Navy Crosses while commanding 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, on Guadalcanal. Another Marine—LtCol Raymond Murray—earned the Navy Cross while in command of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, on Saipan, and later earned a second Navy cross during the Korean War. 39 of the Navy Crosses awarded to 2d Division Marines in the war were posthumous. Ranks shown are those held at the time of the cited actions and an asterisk denotes a posthumous award.

Sgt Elman A. Anderson, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, July 2, 1944 *
Pvt Norman Arsenault, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, July 8, 1944 *
2ndLt Joseph J. Barr, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pfc Robert J. Blaha, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 8 & 9, 1944
Capt William T. Bray, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pfc Walter J. Brehm, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944 *
Pfc Lloyd A. Brixley, Jr., 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, June 24, 1944 *
Cpl Orville E.W.   Broeker, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, November 23, 1943
Capt Louis V. Brooks, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 8, 1944
Capt Kenneth L. Brown, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, November 21, 1943 *
Pfc Ralph L. Browner, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 8 & 9, 1944
1stSgt Wilbur McC. Burgess, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Cpl Phillip R. Burke, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, November 20, 1943
Maj William C. Chamberlin, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, November 20 - 24, 1943
Cpl Richard L. Close, Corporal, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pfc Frederick W. Cramer, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, June 17, 1944 *
Capt Edgar J. Crane, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines (Rein.), August 7 - 9, 1942
Cpl Herbert D. Crotts, 2d Tank Battalion, November 20 - 24, 1943
Maj William L. Crouch, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944 *
Maj Henry P. Crowe, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, November 20, 21 & 22, 1943
Capt Ralph H. Currin, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines (Rein.), January 15 - 17, 1943
Pfc Hugh V. Denton, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944 *
2ndLt Conrad C. DeRouen,1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 3 & 8, 1944 *
Sgt Onel W. Dickens, 2d Armored Amphibian Battalion, June 15, 1944
Sgt Emmett L. Dimon, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
Pfc James Dunn, Jr., 3d Battalion, 6th Marines (Rein.), January 20, 1943
Capt Charles R. Durfee, 2d Marine Division, November 22, 1943
Cpl Martin R. Dyer, Jr., Headquarters Company, 6th Marines, July 1, 1944 *
Pvt Clarence L. Evans, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, November 23, 1942 *
PltSgt Walter Fieguth, 2d Tank Battalion, November 21, 1943
Cpl Raymond H.Forbus, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944
2ndLt Hugh D. Fricks, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, November 22, 1943 *
Pfc Guy L. Gabaldon, Headquarters Company, 2d Marines, June 15 - August 1, 1944
Sgt James L. Gerst, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, November 27, 1943 *
Sgt Edward R.Godwin, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pfc James F. Goldman, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20 - 24, 1943
Pfc John M. Gross, Headquarters Company, 2d Marines, November 20 & 21, 1943
Cpl Warren R. Herbst, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, July 26, 1944
Sgt Eugene L. Hill, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 21, 1943
LtCol Robert E. Hill, (First Award) 1st Battalion, 2d Marines (Rein.), October 9 - 12, 1942 (Second Award) 1st Battalion, 2d Marines (Rein.), November 1 - 10, 1942
Pfc Herbert J. Hodges,1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
1stLt Wilbur E. Hofmann, Jr.3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
1stLt Arnold C. Hofstetter, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944
Pfc Stanley L. Howard, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944 *
Pfc Robert J. Hund, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
2ndLt Toivo H. Ivary, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pfc Thomas E. Jabour, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, July 10, 1944 *
Pfc Robert J. Jamison, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 9, 1944
Cpl Robert W. Johnsmiller, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Sgt Roy W. Johnson, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
Pvt John W. Jones, 6th Marines, January 22, 1943 *
LtCol William K. Jones, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 15 - August 1, 1944
Pfc Donald R. Jordan, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944 *
PltSgt Frank W. Justice, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, July 31, 1944
Pfc Lauren H. Kahn, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pfc Demosthenes V. Katsulis, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, November 27, 1943 *
Cpl Jack Keiningham, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944
Pfc John Klunk, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Cpl Anthony B. Kouma, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944
2ndLt Robert M. LaPrade, 2d Marine Division, January 20, 1943 *
2ndLt Leor B. Larsen, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, July 1 & 11, 1944 *
Maj Henry G. Lawrence, Jr., 2d Amphibian Tractor Battalion, November 20 - 23, 1943
Sgt Benjamin R. Livesey, 2d Armored Amphibian Battalion, June 15, 1944
Cpl Hubert C. Luther, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
Pfc Ettore J. Marsolo, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
LtCol Kenneth F. McLeod, 6th Marines,   June 25, 1944 *
Pfc Charles D. Merritt, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pfc William J. Micklick, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, July 8 & 9, 1944
Sgt Charles J. Monges, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, July 2, 1944
Pfc John J. Murphy, Jr., 2d Marines (Rein.), September 9, 1942
LtCol Raymond L. Murray, (First Award), 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 15, 1944
Pfc Horace A. Narveson, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Capt Harold E. Nelson, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944
Pfc James J. Nelson, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pfc Quinten G. Nelson, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944
Pfc Gerard B. Nevle, 2d Marines (Rein.), September 9, 1942
Cpl Osbaldo R. Paredes, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
Sgt Clarence E. Petrie, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 21, 1943
2ndLt James F. Prendergast, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, June 15 & 26, 1944
1stLt James R. Ray, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944
Pvt Robert S. Reed, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pvt William F. Richey, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines (Rein.), November 23, 1942 *
2ndLt William B. Rippee, 2d Battalion, 18th Marines, August 4, 1944
Maj Michael P. Ryan, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20 - 24, 1943
1stLt William H. Sanders, II, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 21, 1943
1stlt Joseph O. B. Schulte, 3d Battalion, November 20 - 21, 1943 *
GySgt Howard D. Self, 1st Battalion, 6th July 2, 1944 *
Pfc Jack L. Selk, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 15, 1944
Pvt Charles W. Shriver, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, August 2, 1944
Sgt Clyde A. Simmons, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pfc Harvey L. Simonson, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, November 27, 1943
Sgt Robert E. Simpson, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943 *
1stSgt Orvan S. Slaughter, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 22, 1943 *
Sgt Alex B. Smith, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
Pfc George O. Smith, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
2ndLt John J. Smith, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines (Rein.), August 7 - 9, 1942
Cpl John J. Spillane, 2d Amphibian Tractor Battalion, November 20, 1943
2ndLt Melvin J. Spotts, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, August 4, 1944
Capt Clement J. Stadler, 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, June 16, 1944
Pvt Jack R. Stambaugh, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, November 22, 1943 *
Pfc J. D. Thaxton, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, November 20, 1943 *
Pfc Leo A. Ticconi, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, July 1, 1944 *
Pfc Max E. Timmons, 3d Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944
Pvt James W. Tobey, 2d Tank Battalion, November 20, 1943
Sgt Robert C. Toler, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, November 20, 1943
2ndLt Mark Tomlinson, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, November 20, 1943 *
LtCol Rathvon McC. Tompkins, 1st Battalion, 29th Marines, June 17, 1944
Cpl John E. Watson, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, June 17, 1944
PltSgt Charles A. West, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16 & July 3, 1944
Sgt Vincent H. Wiehardt, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20 - 21, 1943 *
1stSgt Harry B. Williams, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, June 21, 1944 *
Capt Maxie R. Williams, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20 - 24, 1943
Cpl Henry J. Witkowski, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, November 20, 1943
Pvt Joseph E. Wood, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, June 20, 1945 *
Pfc George R. Woolsey, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, June 16, 1944 *
Pvt John T. Yaksich, 2d Battalion, 2d Marines (Rein), November 12, 1942
Pfc Dennis E. Youngblood, 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, July 7, 1944

 

SECOND MARINE DIVISION CASUALTIES IN WORLD WAR II

I slumped down to the deck, too exhausted to think. The battalion sat around me and there were only muffled whispers, like the whispers of the guys who had sat on Betio a week ago. Seemed to me I was on a cloud, hanging on in midair. I heard everything but it was like hearing it through a fog. There was the clanking against the coral of the gravedigging party. Clank, then the whisper of sand falling from a shovel to fill a hole...and another...and another. The sound of the alligator rumbled on the way to the barrier reef where the landing craft waited to transfer the wounded to the destroyer.

Battle Cry by Leon Uris



The Second Marine Division Cemetery on Tarawa as it appeared immediately after the island was secured in November 1943. US Marine Corps

 

The gate at the Second Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan as it appeared in 1945.

Southern Methodist University Frank J. Davis Collection

 


SECOND MARINE DIVISION CASUALTIES IN WORLD WAR II

Below is a table listing casualties for the Second Marine Division extracted from Follow Me! The Story of the Second Marine Division in World War II, page 305. Casualty records do not include attached Naval personnel for the division. The table does not list Marines who were incapacitated by sickness, combat fatigue or disease, nor does it include Marines killed or incapacitated during non-combat (i. e. training) operations.

Campaign
KIA
DOW
WIA
TOTAL
 
officer
enlisted
officer
enlisted
officer
enlisted
Guadalcanal area
12
228
3
29
57
858
1,187
Tarawa
48
846
8
76
102
2,086
3,166
Saipan
73
1,029
6
205
256
4,946
6,515
Tinian
9
129
2
34
38
865
1,077
Okinawa
1
45
0
12
10
382
450
TOTALS
143
2,277
19
356
463
9,137
12,395


Notes regarding the above table:
KIA = Killed in Action
DOW = Died of Wounds
WIA = Wounded in Action

Headquarters, Marine Corps, tracked and tabulated World War II casualties through the early 1950's and made the final accounting on 26 August 1952. Due to the way Headquarters, Marine Corps, accounted for wounded Marines, substantial numbers of DOW are included in the WIA columns.

There is no centralized source for tracking awards and casualties of attached Navy medical personnel during World War II. These brave men performed heroic and sacrificial service to their Marines under the most challenging conditions. To a man, Marines of that era have the highest respect for their "docs." The bond between Marines and their Corpsmen was strong during the war, and has remained so to this day.

At left are still images from the motion picture With the Marines at Tarawa and they graphically illustrate the cost paid for victory by the men of the Second Marine Division in World War II. US Marine Corps

 

To you, who lie within this coral sand,
We, who remain, pay tribute of a pledge,
That dying, thou shalt surely not have died in vain.
That when again bright morning dyes the sky
And waving fronds above shall touch the rain,
We give you this—that in those times
We will remember.

We lived and fought together, thou and we,
And sought to keep the flickering torch aglow
That all our loved ones might forever know
The blessed warmth exceeding flame,
The everlasting scourge of bondsman's chains,
Liberty and light.

When we with loving hands laid back the earth
That was for moments short to couch thy form,
We did not bid a last and sad farewell
But only, "Rest ye well."
Then with this humble, heartfelt epitaph
That pays thy many virtues and acclaim
We marked this spot, and murm'ring requiem,
Moved on to westward.

Epitaph on the gate to the 2nd Marine Division Cemetery on Betio. Written by Capt Donald L. Jackson, USMC

 

 

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