NAME
Aaron Leslie Gelzer
NICKNAME
SERVICE NO.
292230
HOME OF RECORD
300 North 3rd Street, Harrison, KY
NEXT OF KIN
Parents, Joseph & Pauline Gelzer
DATE OF BIRTH
~1919
DATE OF ENLISTMENT
August 21, 1940
DATE OF LOSS
August 13, 1942
REGION
Solomons
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Guadalcanal / Matanikau-Point Cruz
CASUALTY TYPE
MIA/Declared Dead
August 14 1943
UNIT
H&S/5th Marines
DUTY
R-2 Section
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Corporal Gelzer served with the R-2 section of the 5th Marine Regiment on Guadalcanal On the night of 12 August 1942, he joined a patrol led by Colonel Frank Goettge, intending to investigate reports of a surrendering Japanese encampment.
The patrol was ambushed, isolated on its beachhead, and all but annihilated. Corporal Gelzer was one of those who did not return. Initially listed as missing in action, he was declared dead as of 14 August 1943.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
Corporal
STATUS OF REMAINS
Observed on Guadalcanal, but not recovered.
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

Biography:
Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.


On the afternoon of August 12th, I along with two of my section watched the embarkation of Colonel Goettge’s patrol. It was an odd collection of personnel including a Navy doctor, Japanese prisoner and for the most part the remaining personnel were certainly not combat marines.

We recognized a member of the patrol – Corporal Gelzer. We talked with him and he was in high spirits – like the others he had volunteered to make the patrol. I recall some discussion about his being awarded with a medal. As we left Gelzer and returned to our position we talked about the odd absence of fighting troops with the patrol.
– Sergeant Benjamin Selvitelle, L/3/5


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