John M. Langdon

John Micheal Langdon
14 Fenwick Street, Boston, MA
Mother, Mrs Elizabeth Langdon
February 19, 1922
January 22, 1942
September 14, 1942
Guadalcanal / Bloody Ridge
Killed in Action
C/1st Raider Battalion
On the afternoon of 13 September 1942, Private Langdon and three other Raiders were “volunteered” to man a listening post in front of the main defensive positions on Edson’s Ridge. After spending a night surrounded in a shell hole, the four Marines attempted to return to friendly lines at first light.

Langdon was killed as he attempted to cross a lagoon on his way back to the ridge. The lone witness to his death, PFC James Mallamas, was unable to retrieve his remains.

Purple Heart
Not recovered.
Manila American Cemetery

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

Sgt. John “Squeaky” Morrell, myself, [Private John J.] Redden, and Boondocks Langdon proceeded down the finger to our left front with a field telephone and without a hole to get into, started listening for the Japs. We didn’t have to wait long. As we no sooner got into position we could hear the devils breaking brush as they worked their way towards us. We relayed this information to the rear and was told to try to see or ascertain how many and what depth they constituted. This was answered with, “They are in front and to our flanks in depth,” due to the noise of their jabber, feet and equipment…. All of a sudden  the telephone goes dead. Someone has cut the line and is following it both ways to its source. I grab the line and pull hard, hand over hand and after about five times the end of the cable is in my hand. Only 25 feet from us. They have enveloped us and are coming down the trail….
Finally the artillery opened up. I thanked them for those rounds. Right into our positions, shells began going off…. Most of the shells were bursting in the trees and flinging shrapnel all over the area. We were all knocked out from the burst – I don’t know how long, possibly only minutes, but anyway, I remember crawling only a few feet before finding this shell hole some three feet deep and possibly ten feet wide…. Both Squeaky and Redden were all right but Boondocks had an awful wound in his right leg a foot above his knee. I tore his trousers away from the wound and placed two of our field dressings over the wound which had a chunk of steel as big as your hand half protruding from his leg. Still he bled very little and never complained of any pain….
As morning came on the smoke and fog got thicker and we were able to go around the Japs blocking the trail. We got below them at the bottom of the hill but were being pursued as we slipped into a lagoon. Morrell and Redden went to the right and Langdon and I went to the left of the pathway down to the lagoon…. We had planned to cross immediately but were not able to cross the open area of the lagoon before they set up positions directly above us. We held our weapons above the water in ready for what seemed like an hour or so. I know I held that BAR over my head until my arms were in a fixed, numb position….
During this time the Japs were talking back and forth and digging in…. One of their number came down the path with an arm full of empty canteens when he spotted Redden, who promptly shot him and he fell back into the lagoon next to Boondocks. Blood was gushing out of his neck and floating on the water when all hell broke loose. Grenades started landing all about us. Boondocks bolted out of hiding and started swimming and wading across with me following to his left. The machine guns above and to our left opened up and I could see splashes all around us in the water and on the mud bank we were approaching. Boondocks stopped at the water’s edge and I grabbed him and started pulling him up on his back. As I had hold of only one arm, he turned over just as we got out of the water. His entire chest area was blown apart. I knew he was dead and had to leave him there as they were still firing full bore, cutting brush and covering us with water and mud. My ammunition belt was shot almost in two, just barely hanging with the help of my shoulder suspended.
I slipped into the jungle and knew I was on my own from that point on….
– Memories of PFC James V. Mallamas, as related to Gloria Mallamas and transcribed in A Marine’s Letters, A Love Story (When Life Was Real).

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