Photo source: Desert Sun
Richard Francis Gill
|HOME OF RECORD
300 Andreas Road, Palm Springs, CA
|NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Safrona (Prona) Gill
|DATE OF BIRTH
October 11, 1922
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT
December 17, 1941
|DATE OF LOSS
November 10, 1942
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
Killed in Action
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
At 0600 on 10 November 1942, the First Battalion, 2nd Marines began advancing west from the positions they held around Point Cruz. At the crest of a grassy ridge, Company A ran into a hornet’s nest of machine gun, rifle, and mortar fire that stopped them in their tracks. No reinforcements could be spared, and the company was forced back in what was euphemistically termed a “strategic withdrawal.”
PFC Richard Gill of Company A was shot and killed during the abortive fight for the ridge. His body could not be recovered from the field, and he has not been accounted for to this day.
|LAST KNOWN RANK
Private First Class
|STATUS OF REMAINS
“Presumably buried in the field at place of death… in vicinity of 500 yds west and 1000 yds inland fr beach of position 03, Map 104.”
Manila American Cemetery
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The day was the hottest I can remember on the Canal. We formed a skirmish line on the ridge and lay there waiting for our artillery preparation and the word to push off…. In due time the word came to move out and we advanced into a heavily wooded valley. The descent into the gorge was uneventful as was most of the climb up the opposite slope. However, when we reached the crest of the hill and started to move into the tall grass… all hell broke loose…. [A] hail of machine gun and rifle fire cut into us…. The Japs then went to work with mortars, dropping round after round on us. I don’t think they wasted a single round, long or short.
A Company was taking a beating. Richard Gill, William Schreiner, James Majercak and Amos Gray lay dead…. My squad was decimated…. There was no help for it – we had to leave our dead…. We had our asses whipped and withdrew back to the line we kicked off from.
– William W. Rogal, A/1/2, in Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Beyond: A Mud Marine’s Memoir of the Pacific Island War.
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