Roy James Sellers never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 11, 1918 in Ohio. His parents Arthur and Lena were born in Kentucky and Ohio, respectively. His father worked as an ice company foreman and later ice company proprietor. Roy had one older sister. Roy played semi-pro football and worked at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company as a machinist. He was married to his wife Mildred and left behind a two year old daughter.
He enlisted in the marines at some unknown date. He became a private first class and machine gunner in Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
The 1st Marine Division landed on Okinawa on April 1, 1945. It's initial involvement attacking north met less resistance than expected, but once it joined the fighting in the south on May 1, the casualties grew much higher. The 1st Marine Division would lose 1,655 men KIA before hostilities ended on June 22.
Pfc. Sellers was the subject of one of the very last articles written by the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Pyle wrote about an amusing incident where he observed Pfc. Sellers riding a bike with only one pedal and had an awkward bowing experience with a native Okinawan. Pyle died on April 18, before the article was run, but newspapers ran it anyway as a tribute to the beloved war correspondent.
By mid June Pfc. Sellers was back on the front line for the final phase of the battle. He took part in the 5th Marine Regiment's four day attack on Kunishi Ridge, the Japanese last ditch position. Despite clear knowledge of certain defeat, the Japanese made sure the Americans paid a heavy price to take this last stronghold. Pfc. Sellers was killed on June 19, 1945. The Battle of Okinawa was declared over three days later. It was the last American-Japanese land battle of the war in the Pacific, so Pfc. Sellers was one of the last marines killed in action in WW2.
His grave is at Laurel IOOF Cemetery in Madisonville, Ohio. I don't know what happened to his wife or daughter.
Last year on this date I profiled marine Gerald Larsen who fought in the Battle of Saipan. You can read about Gerald here.
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!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100