Sergeant David Alvin Stauffer, Jr.

Alvin Stauffer, 1942.

Note: For additional biographical information and photographs, please visit Chester County Hall of Heroes.

Service Number: 299121

Birth and Early Life:
David Stauffer Junior – known as Alvin – was born on June 22, 1922, to David and Ada Stauffer of Wayne, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Berwyn, attending the local elementary school and Tredyffrin-Easttown High School, where he was very active in athletics, music, and performing arts. Following his graduation, he joined the Marines.

Alvin Stauffer’s yearbook picture.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Alvin enlisted on October 16, 1940, and trained at Parris Island. He was assigned as a private to Company M, Third Battalion, 5th Marines.

Wartime Service:
Alvin served with Company M for the year 1941, traveling as far as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In January, 1942, Stauffer was promoted to corporal; three months later, he was a sergeant serving with the regiment’s intelligence section – a long way from the ground pounder he’d been in Company M just six months before. Sergeant Stauffer trained with his new company in North Carolina and New Zealand before landing on Guadalcanal.

On August 12, 1942, Stauffer was chosen to accompany Colonel Frank Goettge, the division’s senior intelligence officer, on a risky patrol to capture an enemy garrison and gather intelligence about an area near the village of Kokumbona. The sergeant collected his gear, boarded the boat, and after a too-long voyage splashed ashore near the village – where the Marines were immediately taken under fire.

Date Of Loss:
Pinned to the beach, with their colonel and surgeon dead, the Marines tried desperately to find cover and return fire. Only three of the 25 men would survive. One, Sergeant Charles “Monk” Arndt, reported later:

“… he and Alvin were crawling forward together under heavy enemy machine gun fire when Alvin suddenly ceased moving and became inert.  [Arndt] crawled over to Sergeant Stauffer, and spoke to him.  Receiving no answer, he shook him and received no response.  It is his opinion that he was killed in this first burst of fire and probably died immediately without pain or suffering.” (1)

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Ada Stauffer

Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
Great Valley Baptist Church Cemetery, Devon, PA.
(1) Chester County Hall of Heroes.

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