Stories by Sixth Division Marines
Every Picture Tells a Story
by Harry McKnight (29th Mar-3-H)
Lately I have been thinking about how fortunate we have been to have so many years at the reunions. Yes we are sad when one of our Marines or Wives' names are called during the Memorial Service. Jesus said, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." We take comfort in the resurrection, but some of our buddies were never able to attend a reunion.
I am always reminded that four of my close friends – not even 20 years old – were killed very close to me: Bob McTureous, Melford McDermott, Bill Daily, and Carl Haller. Their mothers only received their personal effects and had no knowledge of how they died or who was next to them. They only could put a Gold Star in their window and maybe keep a few letters in a box.
On June 4, 1945 we made the final landing on the southern end of Okinawa and set up our machine gun on the sea wall to prevent a counter landing by the Nips. During a lull I was drawing cartoons on my tablet, and Bill Daily was writing a letter to his mother. He asked me, "Hey Mac, could you draw a picture of me so I can send it with this letter? My Mom does not have a picture of me." I said, "Yes. I had a good art teacher in high school." So I drew the picture and I saw him put it and the letter in his breast pocket. He was killed the next day.
On the next day – June 5 – Carl Haller asked me to draw a picture of him. Same result.
Don Mahoney was also wounded on the 5th but survived. Bob McTureous was wounded on the 7th and died on the hospital ship heading for Saipan. Just before we shipped out to Guam from San Diego, the three of us went downtown and had photos taken – Bob, Don and me. I sent all three to my mother with the addresses of the other two. Bob's mother responded to say how she was thankful for the picture, but the next day she got word that Bob had died of his wounds.
So my good friends, be thankful for having so many still able to enjoy our reunions.