William Francis Buchman
224 00 15
|HOME OF RECORD
102 East 176th Street, Bronx, NY
|NEXT OF KIN
|DATE OF BIRTH
August 23, 1923 (actual)
April 19, 1921 (military)
December 19, 1940
|DATE OF LOSS
August 7, 1942
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
(friendly fire incident)
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Hospital Apprentice William Buchman was a Navy corpsman assigned to the Second Battalion, 1st Marines for the Guadalcanal campaign. He was attached to his battalion’s Company H.
On the night of 7 August 1942, the first night ashore, Buchman was assigned to guard duty at his battalion’s position. In the confusion, he challenged a fellow Marine, who in turn shot the corpsman in the chest. Buchman died of his wounds within minutes – the first American to die on the island of Guadalcanal.
The next morning, Buchman was buried in the field. The location of his grave was not recorded.
|LAST KNOWN RANK
Hospital Apprentice, First Class
|STATUS OF REMAINS
“Buried in the hills with no
record of location of grave.”
Manila American Cemetery
Note: Buchman was portrayed as “Corpsman Lewis” in Episode One of The Pacific. The role was played by Brynn Loosemore.
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Once there came a burst of gunfire. It shattered the night. We leaned over our guns, mouths agape in the darkness. But then the night closed in again. Darkness. The trees dripping. The jungle whispering. No one came.
At dawn we learned the import of the gunfire. A medical corpsman had been killed. He had been shot by his own men.
When the sentry had challenged him as he returned from relieving himself, he had boggled over the password “Lilliputian” and so met death: eternity at the mercy of a liquid consonant.
I shall never forget the sad faces of the friends who buried him. In that dismal dawn, the scraping of their entrenching tools was as plaintive as the scratching of a mouse.
– Robert Leckie, Helmet For My Pillow
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