Weldon Fader DeLong
|HOME OF RECORD
|NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Jetta DeLong
|DATE OF BIRTH
September 18, 1915
September 20, 1940
|DATE OF LOSS
November 3, 1942
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
Killed In Action
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
In the November 1942 Matanikau Offensive, three Marine battalions trapped several hundred Japanese in a shrinking pocket west of Point Cruz. On 3 November, the Marines moved in to wipe out the last of the defenders.
Corporal Weldon Delong of K/3/5 distinguished himself early in the battle by leading an attack on a Japanese field piece that was causing heavy casualties to his company. While mopping up the area, he was shot through the heart by a sniper and died instantly. His body was buried in the vicinity, but has not yet been accounted for.
Navy Cross, Purple Heart
|LAST KNOWN RANK
|STATUS OF REMAINS
Buried in the field
Manila American Cemetery
Namesake of USS DeLong (DE-684)
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Weldon Delong [sic] started running back and forth with nothing but a pistol and firing whenever he saw a downed Jap make a move. I guess he’d dropped his rifle in the heat of the charge instead of trying to reload. Delong had put several enemy wounded out of their misery when Slim Somerville spotted three or four Japs hiding in some water behind a log. They thought we couldn’t see them, but Somerville noticed their reflections…. “Get down! Get down!” Slim yelled.
I’d always liked going on patrols with Delong because he was always so alert to everything around us. Always looking up in trees and behind the bushes. Always checking out anything that looked suspicious. Other guys in my squad were good, too; they just weren’t as good as Weldon Delong. But on this particular afternoon, he was too intent on looking for Japs to hear Somerville’s warning. One of the Japs in the water fired, and the bulled slammed into Delong’s chest. He went down without a sound and never moved again.
After some other Marines took care of the Japs behind the log, I ran over to Delong. He was lying in a puddle of blood with his eyes wide open and his pistol still in his hand. The bullet had gone straight through his heart. He was as dead as a man could get. …I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. Delong’s death left me shaken as bad as I’d ever been. I considered him the best Marine in my former squad and maybe the best in the whole platoon…. One moment of carelessness had cost him his life.
He was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross for outstanding valor that day in leading the charge against one of those Jap field pieces and then wrecking the gun. He also had a ship named in his honor.
But even more important than that, he was my friend.
– Jim McEnery K/3/5, Hell In The Pacific: A Marine Rifleman’s Journey from Guadalcanal to Peleliu
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