Service Number: 368951
Birth and Early Life:
Blaine Walter was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1916 and was raised in Millersburg by his parents, Blaine Senior and Nellie. He attended the Millersburg High School where he participated in a multitude of sports and the school band, composed a few poems, and earned the nickname “Teats.”
After high school, Walter applied and was accepted to Penn State; he changed schools a few times, also attending Franklin & Marshall College and Eckels College of Embalming. In 1940, he was renting his own room and working in a Millersburg ice cream parlor.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
The attack on Pearl Harbor got Walter out of Millersburg and into Philadelphia, where he joined the Marine Corps on January 27, 1942. Although somewhat elderly for an enlistee – at the advanced age of 25 – Walter did well at Parris Island, and was rewarded with a promotion to Private First Class after completing boot camp.
Walter was assigned to the regimental intelligence section of the Fifth Marines at New River. He trained in North Carolina and New Zealand before landing on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. Walter was on the island for five days before being chosen for a night patrol led by Colonel Frank Goettge, the division’s intelligence officer.
Date Of Loss:
PFC Walter was killed in action in the early morning hours of August 13, 1942, when the Goettge patrol was ambushed by a Japanese garrison near the Matanikau river. His remains were never recovered – his parents received a box of his personal effects, which consisted of a wallet, fountain pen, flashlight, and two pairs of socks. (1)
A surviving officer of the Intelligence section, Lt. Bryan Adams, wrote the following to Blaine’s parents:
You must, as we who knew and admired him, feel extremely proud of the valiant and courageous way which Blaine made the supreme sacrifice for the Marines and his country. At all times he displayed a ready willingness to accept any task or assignment and I pay tribute to his devotion to duty and fearless bravery in action. (2)
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Nellie H. V. Walter
Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) A Celebration of Millersburg’s Bicentenniel, 1807 – 2007; Nancy L. Wert and Edwin D. Schlegel, editors; page 45. Accessed via the Marlan O Walter Family Tree by user lentze.