Service Number: 353798
Birth and Early Life:
Raymond Rosalik was born on Christmas Day, 1924. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan by John and Sofia Rosalik, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps as a teenager, and when Pearl Harbor was attacked dropped everything to enlist in the Marines.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Ray joined the Corps on January 8, 1942. He trained at Parris Island with the Eleventh Recruit Battalion, and after completing boot camp was assigned to Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines.
Rosalik trained in North Carolina and in New Zealand through the spring and summer of 1942; he was promoted to Private First Class on July 16, 1942. Less than a month later, he was splashing ashore on Guadalcanal with the rest of his company.
Date Of Loss:
The Fifth Marines spent a nervous morning on August 13 – a patrol from their headquarters had gone out at dusk and heavy gunfire could be heard from their area. Their worst fears were confirmed when one of the men appeared at Division headquarters at 0530. The man reported that the patrol, led by Colonel Frank Goettge, had been ambushed and was pinned down on the beach – he had left them nearly seven hours earlier and had swum almost five miles through the ocean to report.
Company A was roused out of their foxholes and hustled into landing craft. They departed at 0650, chugging off to the scene of the massacre. They found no American survivors, but did locate a large Japanese camp, and made several probing attacks before discovering that the area was heavily fortified and withdrawing to their perimeter. (1)
One of these attacks claimed the life of Raymond Rosalik. His company commander, Captain William P. Kaempfer, wrote the following letter to his mother, Sofia.
It is with my deepest regret that circumstances do not permit me to personally explain to you the great sacrifice which your son made for our country here on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. While Death can never be satisfactorily explained away to beloved ones, I know that my own mother and father would have some of their grief, at least, transformed into pride if I ever respond to the Lord’s call in the same heroic manner that your son has done. That is why I am writing to you now.
Ray was killed in the front line while firing at the enemy. He was protecting the forward advance of other members of his squad so that he and they could drive the enemy from an entrenched position. The enemy was later driven out. To the last Ray obeyed the military orders of his country until a greater order came from Above. More could not be expected of any Marine.
I have talked with those who fought at the side of your son. It is my hope that someday you may do the same. If you do, that which I have so inadequately expressed here will develop into its fullest meaning.
My company and I salute your son and yourself.
With heartfelt sympathy and soldierly pride, I am,
W. P. Kaempfer
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Sophia Rosalik
Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) 1st Marine Division Commander’s Final Report on Guadalcanal Op, Phase III (Annex J)