|Pvt. Backus served with these marines from the 23rd Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima.|
Ray E. Backus could have been 100 years old today.
He was born on April 16, 1917 in Ohio. His parents were also both born in Ohio. His father was a timber cutter and later a coal miner. His mother had been previously married and had four daughters and three sons with her first husband. Ray had one older brother with the same father.
Ray became a private in the 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. I don't know if he was with this unit when it participated in the battles of Kwajalein, Saipan, and Tinian. He was serving in the 23rd Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima. It landed on Yellow Beach on February 19, 1945. Pvt. Backus and his fellow 23rd Marines were able to reach Airfield No. 1 by the end of the first day. A fellow Marine, Darrell S. Cole, died earning the Medal of Honor during this advance. Pvt. Backus endured nine more days of brutal fighting until he was killed on February 28, 1945 as the 23rd Marine Regiment cleared the Japanese away from Airfield No. 2 and Hill 382.
This map shows were the 23rd Marine Regiment was when Pvt. Backus was killed on February 28, 1945.
Pvt. Backus was one of 6,821 Americans who died in the battle. Fighting continued until victory was declared on March 26, 1945.
His remains were returned to be buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
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