Private Bernard J. Luecking

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NAME:
Bernard J. Luecking
NICKNAME: SERVICE NUMBER:
370533
HOME OF RECORD:
Baltimore, MD
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Ruth Luecking
DATE OF BIRTH:
~1923
ENLISTED:
January 28, 1942
DATE OF DEATH:
September 25, 1942
(September 17, 1942)
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal B/1/1 Private KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Presumed buried in the field
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Birth and Early Life:
Bernard Luecking was a Baltimore boy, born around 1923. Although his parents, Ruth and John, separated when he was a teenager, Bernard managed to attend at least some high school, and was casting about for employment when the war began.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
After enlisting on January 28, 1942, Luecking was sent to Parris Island for boot camp. He graduated with the Second Recruit Platoon and was assigned as a private to Company B, First Battalion, 1st Marines.

Wartime Service:
Bernard served with B/1/1 from New River, North Carolina to their landing on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. For the next six weeks, he participated in front line fighting from combat patrols to defensive actions, all the while struggling to get used to the demands of combat, environment, and the Corps.

Date Of Loss:
Luecking’s platoon was in the lead of a patrol by their parent battalion, 1/1, on the morning of September 17, 1942. They were on the trail of Japanese troops who had recently been defeated in the famous battle of Bloody Ridge, and found them – or, more accurately, were found by them – around 1330 hours that day. The lead platoon ran directly into an ambush, and was completely cut off. After two and a half hours of fighting, the rest of the Marines disengaged, leaving the trapped men to their fate.

Eighteen Marines were lost in the Japanese trap. Their remains were not discovered until September 25, which was officially declared their date of death. Nine of these men – including Bernard Luecking – are still listed as missing in action, their ultimate fates unknown. (1)

For more details about this patrol, see Platoon Sergeant Leon W. McStine.

KNOW HIM?

Editor, The Chevron.

Will you kindly try to get me some information through the Chevron about my son, Bernard Luecking? He was killed in action on Guadalcanal on or about 25 Sept., 1942. The only news I have received of his death was from the Government.

If there would be a possible chance of getting in touch with a boy that knew, Bernard when he was on combat duty on Guadalcanal, so that he may be able to give me some definite news of my son, I would like to do so.

Whatever you do as far as information is concerned will be very much appreciated.

JOHN G. LUECKING
2826 Rayner Avenue, Baltimore, Md. (2)

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Ruth Luecking

Status Of Remains:
Unknown

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
_____
NOTES:
(1) No survivors were located by this follow-up patrol, led by Major Marion Fawcett. Although the Marines were likely all killed on the day they were trapped, they were officially declared dead as of September 25.

Why nine remain “missing” is unknown. Some at least were identified when buried, others may have been impossible to identify. Precise details are not known at this time, but it seems likely that the passage of time made some of the graves impossible to locate (a not uncommon occurrence on Guadalcanal). It seems likely that Private Luecking is still in a “temporary” grave.

(2) Marine Corps Chevron, Vol. 2, Number 39, October 2 1943.

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