PFC Luther Lerue Rhodes

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NAME:
Luther Lerue Rhodes
NICKNAME:
Dusty
SERVICE NUMBER:
327928
HOME OF RECORD:
Hendersonville, NC
NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Harley Rhodes
DATE OF BIRTH:
March 22, 1924
ENLISTED:
November 11, 1941
DATE OF DEATH:
October 7, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal L/3/5 PFC KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Gunshot wounds
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Presumed buried in the field
MEMORIAL:
Edneyville Cemetery, Henderson County, NC
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Full Biography

PFC Walter Pat Andersen


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NAME:
Walter Pat Andersen
NICKNAME:
Wallie
SERVICE NUMBER:
273370
HOME OF RECORD:
Portland, OR
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Erma Bates
DATE OF BIRTH:
June 17, 1921
ENLISTED:
August 1, 1939
DATE OF DEATH:
October 1, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Corregidor M/3/4 PFC Captured
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown causes. Died in Japanese custody.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Unknown
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Full Biography

Second Lieutenant Richard Furman Dabbs

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Insignia of VMS-3, the Devil Birds

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Service Number: O-009475

Birth and Early Life:
Richard Dabbs was born in Sumter, South Carolina, on June 14, 1920. He was raised by Eugene Dabbs Senior and Stella Glascock Dabbs in Mayesville.

The Dabbs family had a proud military tradition. Eugene Senior was a veteran of the First World War – he served as an infantry lieutenant in France – and kept abreast of European politics. (1) The four boys (Eugene Junior, Furman, Billy and Tommy) would all serve in the armed forces; Eugene and Furman were both graduates of the Citadel.

Cadet staff officers in 1941. Furman Dabbs is at the center.
Cadet staff officers in 1941; Furman Dabbs is at the center. From The Sphinx yearbook.

Dabbs showed an early interest in aviation, and rose quickly through the cadet ranks, graduating with a degree in business administration and a commission as an infantry lieutenant.

Sphinx yearbook, 1941.
The Sphinx yearbook, 1941.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
After graduating, Dabbs joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He enlisted on July 24, 1941 and easily worked his way into aviation training, receiving his commission and his pilot’s wings in March, 1942.

Wartime Service:
Lieutenant Dabbs was posted to VMS-3, a reconnaissance squadron based out of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. He flew an OS2N-1 Kingfisher on patrols across the Caribbean; he and his gunner, PFC  Bert A. Shea Jr, mainly kept watch for German submarines, but occasionally had to search for friendly pilots who had gone missing – as was the case with 2nd Lieutenant David Kerwin and PFC Richard Van Hook.

Date Of Loss:
Lieutenant Dabbs and PFC Shea took off for a patrol over the Caribbean on September 15, 1942. They never returned. The Dabbs family was told that Furman had been searching for a missing pilot off the coast of South America when he ran into bad weather and was forced down. (2)

“Nobody knows what happened,” said his younger brother, Tommy, many years later. “But there was never any tension in the family… [just] tremendous patriotism.” (3)

No trace of Dabbs, Shea, or their plane was ever found. When Eugene Dabbs Senior passed away in 1943, his son’s name was added to his headstone with the inscription “Both served their age as good soldiers – without fear and without reproach.”

Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Eugene Dabbs

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Salem Black River Cemetery, Mayesville, SC.
East Coast War Memorial, New York City, NY.

_____
NOTES:
(1) Vasselli, Gina. “Family’s Patriotism Never Wavered, Despite Death.” Publication unknown, posted May 27, 2010.

(2) The website http://www.aviationarchaeology.com does not have a loss for VMS-3 on September 15. The squadron lost Kingfisher OS2N-1 01324 on September 14; on September 19, the following information was logged in the records of Headquarters, Tenth Naval District:

vms3recovered

It is possible that Dabbs and Shea were searching for Alexakos and Nagy, or that they were “one of the Marine Corps planes reported lost.” Unfortunately, the squadron’s war diary is not readily available, and Headquarters makes no mention of any incident occurring on September 14 aside from “routine patrols, reconnaissance, and training.”

(3) Vasselli

Corporal Harold Cyril Thomure

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Service Number: 294979

Birth and Early Life:
Harold Thomure was born on November 12, 1916; he grew up in Bonne Terre, Missouri, and went to work with his father in a local foundry in his teens. The rest of the family was composed of mother Susie, and his younger siblings Aleta, Paul, and Augustus Junior.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Thomure joined the Marines on September 13, 1940. He was sent to MCRD San Diego for boot camp, and on November 9 received his first orders to report to a permanent unit – Company I, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines. (1)

Service Prior to 1941:
Private Thomure served with the Sixth Marines until he and a handful of other enlisted men were reassigned to “an Asiatic station.” For Thomure, this meant the Navy Yard at Cavite; he embarked on the USS Henderson and sailed for the Philippines on April 9, 1941.

For the next several months, Thomure had a relatively peaceful time in the Philippines. He was promoted to Private First Class on October 3, as elements of the Fourth Marines – the famous “China Marines” – began to arrive. Japanese aggression had compelled the Corps to withdraw the regiment to the Philippines to prepare a better defensive stance. Thomure spent several weeks pulling guard duty on the Bataan peninsula before his garrison was absorbed into the Fourth Marines. Suddenly, PFC Thomure found himself as a rifleman in Company K/3/4; when Pearl Harbor and the Philippines were attacked in December 1941, he would have realized that this new regiment was the one with which he would fight, and potentially die.

Wartime Service:
Thomure made corporal on April 18, 1942; nine days had passed since the fall of Bataan, and his regiment was holed up on the island of Corregidor. By the time the Japanese invaded on May 6, all hope of victory had vanished, and the Marines put up a fierce fight before finally being overwhelmed. Thomure was listed as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and as missing in action by the Americans. (2)

Date Of Loss:
The last report known to contain information about Harold Cyril Thomure was dated September 15, 1942. He died in captivity at an unknown location in the Philippines; how he died, and what became of his body remains a mystery to this day.

Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Augustus Thomure

Status Of Remains:
Unknown.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
____
NOTES:
(1) Harold’s brother, Marvin P. Thomure enlisted on the same day and at the same station in St. Louis as Harold; they went through boot camp together and both were sent to the 6th Marines. Marvin would survive the war and be discharged in 1946 as a Technical Sergeant. He died in 2013.
(2) Thomure is mentioned in the book Oh God, Where Are You? by Abie Abraham, a survivor of the Bataan Death March; unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy of this memoir.
(3) The website www.bataanmissing.com lists Thomure as having died and been buried in a cemetery near Cabanatuan; he may have been re-buried as an unknown in the Manila American Cemetery.

First Lieutenant William Boesser Deuterman

Insignia of VMF-111, the Devil Dogs

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Service Number: O-007127

Birth and Early Life:
William Deuterman was born to William and Edythe Deuterman of Los Angeles on November 16, 1917. He was raised in southern California and attended UCLA, graduating with the class of 1940.

Deuterman in the 1938 UCLA yearbook.
Deuterman in the 1938 UCLA yearbook.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Deuterman joined the Marine Corps on November 15, 1940. His educational background helped secure a spot in a Naval Reserve Aviation class, and PFC Deuterman was soon on his way to Kansas City, where he passed his elimination trials. From there, he proceeded to Jacksonville as a cadet.

Wartime Service:
Upon completing his training, Deuterman was assigned to VMF-121 in San Diego as the squadron’s Transportation Officer. He transferred to VMF-111 in the early spring, and arrived at his first overseas post – Tutulia, American Samoa – in April, 1942. With Wake Island under Japanese control, and with news of the fall of Bataan beginning to circulate, the pilots understood that they were expendable in case of a Japanese invasion – they were to resist until their airplanes were destroyed, then fight on as infantry. May brought the bleak tidings of Corregidor’s surrender, then in June the victory at Midway brought a glimmer of hope, despite the serious losses to the island’s air strength. (1)

In July, the squadron suffered its first personal loss as Second Lieutenant Jack Lyon, a former classmate of Deuterman’s, collided with another Wildcat during a mock dogfight and crashed into the sea. Shortly thereafter, Deuterman declared that he would never bail out of a disabled plane. The reasons for his decision are unknown, but his stance was common knowledge among his fellow pilots.

Date Of Loss:
Bill Deuterman was at the controls of F4F-3 #2515 on September 9, 1942. He was on a routine flight with his wingman, Lieutenant James W. “Jeff” Poindexter; as the flight progressed, Poindexter noticed that Deuterman was in serious trouble. Unable to make it back to base, and unwilling to bail out, Deuterman tried to set his aircraft down for a water landing.

R. Bruce Porter recalled the scene that Poindexter described later that evening.

…Poindexter, who was flying on Bill’s wing all the way down, saw Bill stand up in the cockpit at about the last minute before the airplane impacted. Bill was clearly trying to bail out, but he was too low in any case for his chute to have deployed. Jeff watched in sheer horror as the F4F’s propeller bit into the waves. This flipped the airplane over at great speed and threw Bill against the windscreen and instrument panel. Jeff was certain that Bill died on impact. If not, he was certainly unconscious when he sank forever beneath the waves. (3)

Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Joann Crawford Deuterman
(married October 9, 1941)

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Tablets of the Missing, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
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NOTES:
(1) Many of Deuterman’s classmates – Roy Corry, Bruce Ek, David Pinkerton, William Sandoval, Walter Swansberger, and more – were fast-tracked out to the Pacific and fought in the battle of Midway. Most of those engaged did not survive.
(2) Porter, R. Bruce with Eric Hammel. “Ace! A Marine Night-Fighter Pilot in World War II.” pg 99

Private George Alfred Johnson

George Johnson, 1942.

Photo source

Service Number: 368979

Birth and Early Life:
George Johnson was born on September 26, 1922; he was the oldest of Alfred and Isabella Johnson’s seven children. They moved to Coatesville, Pennsylvania in the 1930s, and George was raised to be “a very hard worker [who] gave himself to his family and friends,” working at the local YMCA and as a welder while attending Scott High School. (1)

Through his youth, George saw the scar on his father’s forehead. Alfred had served with British military intelligence during the Great War, and was wounded in the attack on Bellau Wood, where the United States Marines had earned their nickname “Devil Dogs” from the Germans. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Johnson decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Johnson dropped out of Scott High in his senior year and enlisted in the Marine Corps on January 28, 1942. He went to Parris Island and advanced infantry training at Quantico before joining the First Raider Battalion.

Wartime Service:
Private Johnson was assigned to a special group within the battalion dubbed the Pioneer and Demolition Platoon. Lieutenant John Sweeney and Gunnery Sergeant Angus Goss taught their men more about how to destroy fortifications than how to construct them.

Angus Goss (as a Marine gunner in 1943) training Raiders in the construction of TNT charges similar to those he used on Tulagi

The Raiders made their first combat landing on the island of Tulagi on August 7, 1942. Private Johnson, attached to Company B, was in the first wave of one of the first American amphibious landings of the war. He waded ashore through 100 yards of surf, but fortunately the Japanese decided not to contest the beachhead. The real fighting began as the battalion hit the middle of the island, where the Japanese had prepared strong fighting positions in limestone caves. The demolitions men were in high demand, as the best way to root the Japanese out was either by throwing handfuls of grenades or poking in TNT charges attached to a long plank. The stubborn resistance continued through the evening of August 8.

Date Of Loss:
August 9 saw the Marines on Tulagi patrolling and “mopping up,” a hated detail that occurred only after someone higher up the chain of command decided that organized resistance had ended. The Marines who had to search every foot of an island for bypassed enemy holdouts always maintained that somebody had forgotten to tell the Japanese that the battle was over.

At least one sniper on Tulagi had failed to get The Word, and popped up out of a cave to let fly at a patrol from Company B. George Johnson grabbed a handful of grenades and rushed the cave entrance, pitching missile after missile until one explosion silenced the sniper. Nobody had been hurt, and everyone agreed that it was thanks to the intrepid private from Pennsylvania.

A sergeant from Company B described what happened next.

Johnson picked up a Japanese hara kiri knife, a very beautiful thing, and made the remark that he was going to keep it until he died. He walked about twenty yards and died with a bullet between the eyes. As far as I know, that knife stayed on his body unless someone in a burial detail removed it. (2)

The fighting on Tulagi would drag on for another day, causing more Marine casualties (including Angus Goss, who was wounded blowing up another cave – he received the Navy Cross).

This exhortation to buy War Bonds appeared in newspapers across the country.
This exhortation to buy War Bonds appeared in newspapers across the country.

George Johnson was buried on the island where he fell. For unknown reasons, his gravesite was lost or misidentified when the battle ended, and he is listed as missing in action. For his part in taking out the enemy cave, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. (3)

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private George A. Johnson (MCSN: 368979), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the First Marine Raider Battalion during the seizure of Tulagi, Solomon Islands, from enemy Japanese forces, on 9 August 1942. When his squad came under heavy rifle fire from a Japanese sniper’s nest in a nearby cave, Private Johnson, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, rushed to the mouth of the cave and continued to throw in hand grenades until he was killed by the enemy. By his indomitable fighting spirit and outstanding bravery, he enabled his squad to advance and successfully carry out its assigned mission. His great personal valor was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the defense of his country.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Isabel Johnson

Status Of Remains:
Unknown.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
Destroyer escort USS George A. Johnson (DE 583) was named in his honor.

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NOTES:
(1) Chester County Hall of Heroes
(2) Sergeant Hugh Davis, quoted in The Do Or Die Men: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion at Guadalcanal by George W. Smith, pg 123. Most accounts, and Johnson’s Silver Star citation, state that Johnson was killed while throwing grenades into the cave; Davis’ account may be the only surviving memory of a fellow enlisted man in Johnson’s squad.
(3) Johnson’s citation states he was killed on August 9; both the DPMO list and the ABMC maintain August 10 is the correct date.

Private Harris Burton Yockey

Service Number: 327456

Birth and Early Life:
Harris Yockey was born on March 19, 1920. He was the son of Henry and Mae Yockey of  Brazil, Indiana.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Yockey joined the Marines on December 5, 1941; he had barely made it to MCRD San Diego when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He sped through boot camp and Sea School, and was assigned to the Marine barracks at Pearl in April, 1942.

Wartime Service:
Private Yockey joined the Marine detachment of the USS Vincennes in the summer of 1942. The crew had already attained a veteran swagger, having shot down Japanese aircraft at the battle of Midway; Yockey was probably assigned to one of the cruiser’s 5.5-inch secondary batteries.  He saw action during the landings on Guadalcanal when his cruiser supported the Marine landings and fought off Japanese air attacks on August 7-8.

Date Of Loss:
Private Yockey was killed on the morning of August 9, 1942, when his cruiser was sunk at the battle of Savo Island. His remains were never found.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs Mae Yockey

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea

Field Music Edward J. Shinkle

Service Number: 271202

Birth and Early Life:
Edward Shinkle was the son of Edward and Jeanette Shinkle of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born around the year 1918.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Shinkle enlisted at the Philadelphia Custom House on April 19, 1939. Instead of training at Parris Island, he was sent to the barracks detachment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and then on to the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey. On November 14, his rating was officially changed from that of Private to Field Music.

Service Prior to 1941:
Shinkle served at Lakehurst until early 1941 when, seeking some more excitement than playing reveille and Taps, he applied to parachute training. It proved to be more than he could handle; Shinkle washed out in April, but immediately applied to Sea School. He passed the course, and in the early summer of 1941 joned the Marine detachment of the  USS Vincennes.

Wartime Service:
Shinkle served as the junior field music aboard Vincennes during the last few months of peace and the first few months of war. He escorted the carriers taking Major Jimmy Doolittle on his famous raid, watched enemy aircraft fall from the sky at Midway, and saw the cruiser’s main batteries bombard the shore of Guadalcanal in on August 7, 1942.

Date Of Loss:
Edward Shinkle was killed shortly after midnight on August 9, 1942, when his cruiser was sunk in the battle of Savo Island, off Guadalcanal. His body was never found.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Jeanette Shinkle

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Second Lieutenant Carl Ives Schuessler

Carl Schuessler, 1942

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Service Number: O-009308

Birth and Early Life:
Carl was born on August 26, 1916; his parents, Joseph and Charlotte “Lottie” Schuessler were residents of Columbus, Georgia.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Schuessler probably enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941; he was chosen for flight training and qualified to become a Naval Aviation Pilot. He received a commission to Second Lieutenant and an assignment to VMO-251, a Marine reconnaissance squadron.

Wartime Service:
In July, 1942, Schuessler and Second Lieutenant William Kirby were given an unusual assignment – they would be flying a Curtiss SOC-2 floatplane off the cruiser USS Vincennes.

Vincennes’ sister ship, USS Astoria, launches one of her floatplanes in 1942.

U.S. Navy photo from Naval History and Heritage Command collection NH-97592, linked from www.ussastoria.org

Schuessler saw his first combat action during the landings on Guadalcanal; his floatplane buzzed above the beaches, calling in targets for the cruiser’s main batteries.

Date Of Loss:
Lieutenant Schuessler was killed shortly after midnight on August 9, 1942. His ship was surprised by a strong Japanese force; the hangar, with its fragile planes and flammable fuel, was hit on the second salvo and was turned into a raging inferno. If he was not already at his station, Carl Schuessler probably died on his way there; his remains were never found.

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Lottie Schuessler

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea

Corporal James Leslie Patrick

Service Number: 282464

Birth and Early Life:
James Patrick was born on May 12, 1919. He was the son of Guy Patrick and Anna Maxwell Patrick, who died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1922, at the age of 27. James grew up in Hardin, Kentucky with his older sister Anna and stepmother Rebecca Hobbs; his little stepbrother, John Henry Patrick, succumbed to appendicitis in 1934.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Patrick joined the Marine Corps from Fort Knox, Kentucky on February 15, 1940. He attended boot camp at Parris Island and was selected for the Sea School at Norfolk Navy Yard that April.

Service Prior to 1941:
After completing his training, Private Patrick served with the barracks detachment at Norfolk until September, 1940, when he joined the USS Vincennes in Boston, Massachusetts. Patrick was promoted to Private First Class in January, 1941, and spent the last months of peacetime patrolling the Atlantic with the Vincennes.

Wartime Service:
Patrick was off South Africa when Pearl Harbor was attacked; his ship was speedily recalled to the States, where she underwent a refit before heading for the Pacific Fleet under a new commander, Captain Frederick L. Riefkohl. Evidently, Patrick stood out as a Marine, for Riefkohl picked him to serve as his personal orderly and promoted him to Corporal. His daily routine consisted of guarding the Captain’s quarters and being available for special duties and errands; in combat, Patrick would also serve as Riefkohl’s bodyguard, in a tradition dating back to the first days of Marine combat on sailing ships. He would perform this function three times – the first two, at Midway and during the Guadalcanal landings were uneventful, but the third would be different.

Date Of Loss:
Shortly after midnight on August 9, 1942, Captain Riefkohl was awakened by a message that a firefight was taking place not far from his cruiser’s location. He and Patrick hurried to the bridge, and suddenly found themselves bathed in bright light. Believing he was being targeted by friendly spotlights, Riefkohl sent a snappish radio message for his comrades to turn off their lights – didn’t they know there were enemy ships about? The only answer the Vincennes received came in the form of Japanese high-caliber shells and torpedoes that quickly disabled the ship. In less than thirty minutes, Vincennes took over 85 hits.

Riefkohl knew the battle was lost; with his bridge in shambles and communications out, he cast about for two men to spread the order to abandon ship. Chief Yeoman Leonard Stucker was sent aft with the news; Corporal James Patrick was told to head forward and tell everyone he saw to save themselves. With a salute, Patrick turned on his heel and went to execute his final order from his commander. He was never seen again. (1)

Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Guy P. Patrick

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
St. James Cemetery, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
_____
NOTES:
(1) Newcomb, Richard F. The Battle of Savo Island, pg 182. Leonard Stucker (October 23, 1905 – May 2, 1969) survived the battle unwounded; he is buried in Long Island National Cemetery.