Sunday, May 28, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Floyd Klemme, 5th Marine Division, Iwo Jima

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5th Marine Division marines on Iwo Jima where Sgt. Klemme and his brother were both killed. 
Floyd Albert Klemme never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 28, 1917 in Oklahoma. His mother was also born in Oklahoma while his father was born in Missouri. His father worked as a farmer and later a bakery truck driver. Floyd had two younger brothers Lloyd and Howard who both also served in World War 2. By 1940 Floyd's mother was single and living with her parents.

Floyd left home before that, joining the Marines in February 1937. He qualified as a Marine parachutist in September 1941. Prior to the war he saw duty in Asia and during the war he served in the South Pacific. He was wounded on September 13, 1942.

Floyd rose to the rank of sergeant in Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division. Howard Klemme, who was five years younger than Floyd, followed his brother's footsteps. He also became a qualified parachutist and he also was in the 26th Marine Regiment (3rd Battalion, Company I). 

The 5th Marine Division was part the first wave that landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1944. Within eight hours 904 men were either killed or wounded. 

Sgt. Klemme was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, in part for this action on D+2: 

Ordered to fill a gap in the front lines to consolidate his company's defensive position on 21 February, Sergeant Klemme gallantly led his men forward and placed them in strategic positions to guard against counterattack by the Japanese during the night. Subsequently detecting enemy activity a short distance to the front of his position, he hurled illumination grenades into the area and, after determining the presence of two hostile Japanese, charged forward and killed them with grenades as friendly and hostile fire swept the field.

On D+3 the 26th Marine Infantry engaged in the worst combat so far during hard rain and poor visibility. Sgt. Klemme's brother was killed and he wrote home to tell his mother about it. The next day, 5th Division marines raised the famous flag on Mt. Suribachi.

His Silver Star award also recognized his fatal actions on March 3:

With one of his men lying helpless in an enemy fire lane during furious action on 3 March, he fearlessly risked his life to attempt a rescue and, while carrying the wounded man to safety, was fatally struck down by a Japanese sniper's bullet. 

The surviving brother Lloyd was immediately discharged from the Navy after Sgt. Klemme's death and sent home.

His remains and those of his brother were returned to be buried at Clinton Cemetery, Clinton, Oklahoma.

Thank you Floyd and Howard for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Floyd.

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.

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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