Private Carl Heinz Meyer

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NAME:
Carl Heinz Meyer
NICKNAME: SERVICE NUMBER:
354208
HOME OF RECORD:
Newport News, VA
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Ilse Meyer
DATE OF BIRTH:
1925
ENLISTED:
January 19, 1942
DATE OF DEATH:
September 27, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal B/1/7 Private KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Unknown
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.


Birth and Early Life:
Carl Meyer was born in Germany around the year 1925. His father, a master mariner, secured passage out of the country in 1928 and the family–Otto, Ilse, and Carl–emigrated to the United States. After a few years in Catonsville, Maryland (and the birth of Betty Meyer in 1936), the family moved to Newport News, Virginia in 1939.

With a ship’s captain for a father and living in a shipbuilding town, Carl may have had his own dreams of following the sea once high school was behind him. However, American entry into World War II put a hold on civilian plans,  and within weeks of Pearl Harbor seventeen-year-old Carl was at a Marine Corps recruiting station. Not to be outdone, Otto became a captain with the US Merchant Marine, while Ilsa volunteered with the local American Red Cross Motor Corps.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Meyer joined the Marine Corps on January 19, 1942. He trained at Parris Island, and after finishing boot camp was assigned to Company B, First Battalion, 7th Marines.

Wartime Service:
Private Meyer underwent additional training with the 7th Marines at New River, North Carolina, and spent several months performing garrison duty in American Samoa. He finally saw action on September 18, 1942, when his regiment arrived on Guadalcanal – a Japanese fleet shelled their bivouac, causing some casualties and much confusion among the untried troops. They got a chance to strike back on September 24, but their patrol along the Matanikau ran into much heavier resistance than was expected, and was turned back with several casualties – Company B lost their commanding officer, Lieutenant Alvin C. Cockrell, and returned to the Marine lines on the orders of their battalion commander, Lt. Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller.

Date Of Loss:
Orders came through for Meyer’s company on the morning of Sunday, September 27. After bolting a quick breakfast, they were hustled to the beach and loaded aboard Higgins boats for a short voyage around the tip of Point Cruz. As they splashed ashore, some realized that they were now behind Japanese lines. Their instructions were vague – advance inland, destroy any opposition, and re-group on a location marked as Hill 84 about five hundred yards from the beach.

The Japanese were waiting and hit the Marines with heavy mortar and machine gun fire, killing the battalion commander and wounding several other officers. The expedition quickly became a disaster, and it took the rest of the day for the Marines to fight their way out of the trap and back to the boats. They lost 23 men wounded and 24 killed and unaccounted for in the regiment’s bloodiest day of the war thus far.

One of those killed in the disastrous attack was eighteen-year-old Carl Meyer. His remains, if located, have not yet been identified.

For more on this action, see Little Dunkirk.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Ilse Meyer

Status Of Remains:
Unknown

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines

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