Sergeant James Rall

Service Number: 363649

Birth and Early Life:
Little is known about James Rall’s early life; he was born in Washington State around the year 1920.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
James Rall joined the Corps on April 25, 1938, and attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego.

Service Prior to 1941:
After completing his training, Private Rall joined the Sea and Field Music School at the San Diego base; a few weeks later, he was en route to the nearby Naval Air Station. By November 7 1938, Rall was aboard the USS Henderson and on his way to Guam – his home until May, 1941. He spent a fair amount of his time in the hospital, which may have influenced his commander’s decision to send him back to a Stateside post.

Wartime Service:
Corporal Rall was in Bremerton, Washington when Pearl Harbor was attacked; he was soon transferred from guard duty at the Puget Sound Navy Yard to the Ninth Marines, and was promoted to sergeant. In the spring of 1942, Rall was transferred again, to Company K of the 22nd Marines, stationed with the troops defending American Samoa.

Date Of Loss:
Sergeant Rall collared Private Ira Kohler, also of Company K, on the evening of August 30, 1942. The two planned to go fishing; after getting permission, they hired a local Samoan to take them out in his canoe. They pushed off from shore at 2130 hours.

Neither Marine was ever seen again. It was assumed that they had drowned on their expedition, but no trace of them could be found. (1)

Next Of Kin:
Guardian, Mr. Edward M. Rall

Status Of Remains:
Presumed lost at sea

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.
(1) This unusual cause of death was recorded in the company’s muster roll of October, 1942.

The identity and fate of the canoe’s owner is unknown.

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