Tuesday, July 3, 2018

WW2 Iwo Jima Fallen - "Taxi" Wanagaitis, 4th Marine Division

Corporal Bartholomew Wanagaitis served with the 4th Marine Division on Iwo Jima.
For Independence Day, let us remember these words from the third verse of America the Beautiful, written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1911:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

Bartholomew Robert Joseph "Taxi" Wanagaitis never had a chance to reach 100 years old on July 4, 2018. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 4, 1918 in Pennsylvania. His parents Joseph and Margaret were both born in Lithuania and came to America in 1898. His father worked as a coal miner and died of myocarditis in 1935. Bartholomew had one older brother and two younger sisters. By 1940 Bartholomew had completed four years of high school and worked as a laborer while living with his widowed mother.

He enlisted in the US Marines on October 6, 1942. He became a corporal in Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. 

While he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California during the summer of 1943, his unit became extras in the movie Guadalcanal Diary which was filmed there. Bartholomew pick up his nickname "Taxi" at this time, a character from the film.

The 4th MD was sent to the Pacific in January 1944. Over the next 13 months it played important rolls at Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima at the cost of 17,000 casualties. Cpl. Wanagaitis made it safely through Kwajalein and Saipan but was wounded at Tinian and spent several weeks in the hospital. He was back with his company when the Americans invaded Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.

On the night of February 20, 1945, Cpl. Wanagaitis unit was hit by both Japanese artillery and American artillery using the wrong firing coordinates. Thirteen men were wounded and another nine killed, including Cp. Wanagaitis.

His grave is at Saint Josephs Cemetery in Throop, Pennsylvania.

Thank you Cpl. Wanagaitis for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Bartholomew.

Last year on this date I profiled US Naval Academy graduate Ray Penrod, USS Meredith. You can read about Ray 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.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

No comments:

Post a Comment