James G. Elvington, Sr. never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on July 23, 1917 in South Carolina. His father was also born in South Carolina while his mother was born in North Carolina. His father worked as a farmer and died in 1939. James had six older brothers, an older sister and three younger sisters. By 1940 James was married to his wife Geritlee and they had a one year old son - James Jr. Over the next few years they would add two more boys and a daughter. He worked as a salesman and later worked in a service station.
He enlisted in the US Marines on May 11, 1944. He was assigned as a replacement private to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.
The 4th Marine Division took part in the battles of Kwajalein, Saipan, and Tinian before its final battle on Iwo Jima. I don't know if Pvt. Elivington was with the 2/23 before Iwo Jima.
The battle began on February 19, 1945. Pvt. Elvington would have landed with the first wave. His regiment's mission was to capture Airfield #1 the Airfield #2. Within two days the 4th Marines had suffered 32% casualties but still managed to be in control of both airfields by February 22. The tenacious defenders continued to inflict horrific casualties day after day (or at night from regular Banzai attacks). By March 3, the 4th Marines were under 50% combat efficiency. On D+15: March 6, the 4th Marines was still on the attack, though on this day the average daily advance was only 200 yards. Pvt. Elvington died on this day.
His grave is at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia South Carolina. His widow never remarried and died in 1981. His four children are quite possibly still living since they would be in their seventies.
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