Private First Class John Lehneman Delano

NAME:
John Lehneman Delano
NICKNAME:
SERVICE NUMBER:
332099
HOME OF RECORD:
Boston, MA
NEXT OF KIN:
Wife, Mrs. John Delano
DATE OF BIRTH:
~1920
ENLISTED:
December 20, 1941
DATE OF DEATH:
August 13, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal HQ/5th Marines Draftsman PFC KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown. KIA on Goettge Patrol.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Scattered on Guadalcanal
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Service Number: 332099

Birth and Early Life:
John Delano, the third child of George and Catherine Delano, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts around the year 1920. He was married and living in Boston at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Delano joined the Marine Corps on December 20, 1941. He trained at Parris Island and, showing a talent for map making, was posted to the intelligence section of the First Marine Division at New River, North Carolina.

Wartime Service:
Delano was promoted to Private First Class in April, 1942; he quickly built a reputation as “the best draftsman in the division.” (1) While training in New Zealand in July 1942, Delano was reassigned to Headquarters and Service Company, Fifth Marines.

A month after his transfer, PFC Delano landed on Guadalcanal. As the grave inaccuracies of the maps provided to the Marines before landing became more and more evident, Delano spent more and more time at his drafting table with pencil in hand, working to correct the many mistakes that were costing time and lives. (2) When a patrol was organized to capture Japanese troops on Point Cruz, Delano was picked to go along; the reconnaissance opportunity was too good to miss, and it was hoped that Delano could put his skills to use in mapping the previously unexplored area.

Date Of Loss:
The patrol, led by Colonel Frank Goettge, was surprised by a defending Japanese force and pinned down on the beach near the Matanikau River. Of the 25 Marines involved, 22 were killed and mutilated and left where they lay. One of the dead was John Delano, whose map making expertise would be sorely missed in the weeks to come.

Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. John Delano

Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
_____
NOTES:
(1) Thayer Soule, Shooting the Pacific War: Marine Corps Combat Photography in World War II (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), 70.
(2) Delano did find time for his own artwork, creating a watercolor that would eventually be used as the dustjacket for Keith Ayling’s 1943 work Semper Fidelis: The US Marines In Action. First edition copies of this book feature Delano’s illustration. Other sketches, evidently found among his effects, were returned to his wife after his death.

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