Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Edward Gill, 3rd Marine Division, Iwo Jima

Marine Pfc. Edward Gill was killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima. 

Edward Henry Gill never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 17, 1917 in Missouri. His parents were also both born in Missouri. His father was a car repairman and later an owner of an ice and coal business. Edward had one older brother, two older sisters, one younger sister, and two younger brothers (who both served in the Navy). By 1940 Edward had completed one year of high school and was still living at home. At some point after the 1940 census, Edward married Catherine Delores Myers.

Catherine Delores Gill. 

Edward enlisted in the Marines on March 13, 1944. He was a private first class, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

The 3rd Marine Division was in action in Bougainville before Pfc. Gill joined the unit. He may have seen his first action at the Battle of Guam in July 1944. He was certainly involved when the 9th Marine Regiment landed on Iwo Jima five days after the February 19, 1945 initial landing. The fight on Iwo Jima cost the 3rd Marine Division 1,131 killed in action and 4,438 wounded, in other words, more than one in three leathernecks were casualties.

On March 6, their eleventh day of bitter fighting, the 9th Marine Regiment resumed an all out effort to break through the final Japanese defense line. They attacked without the normal advanced artillery fire and it caught the Japanese by surprise.

Recognizing the desperate nature of their position, Japanese troops came out of their underground position to fire on Marines from all sides. Pfc. Gill's Company F became totally cut off from the rest of the regiment and fought all day and night before other units rescued them. By that time it was too late for Pfc. Gill who was killed while surrounded by the enemy.

His remains were returned to be buried at Wright City Cemetery in Missouri. His wife never remarried. She died at age 63 in 1985 and is buried next to her husband.

Thank you Edward for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Edward.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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