Heroes: the Marines
"...They had to stack dead Marines up for protection from machine gun bullets..."
John Milton Bartlett
- Branch of Service: USMC
- Unit: 3rd Marine Division (Iwo Jima)
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: Pacific Campaign, Iwo Jima
- Rank: CPL
- Birth Year: December 30, 1923
- Entered Service: Richland, Navarro Co, Texas
John Bartlett, 3rd Marine Division, Iwo Jima, February 1945
The follow short, but riviting battlefield notation is taken from a handwritten note received from the sister of John Bartlett, 3rd Marine Division, USMC. The note describes a few brief but terrifying moments during the early stages of the battle for Iwo Jima.
The material is through the courtesy of John's sister, Betty Ruth Bartlett Tackitt.
"John Bartlett, my brother, was in the 3rd Marines. He didn't talk very often about what he went through or what he saw.
He said when they landed on Iwo Jima, that where they went ashore they couldn't dig fox holes as the volcanic ash was so deep it would just fill up again. They had to stack dead Marines up for protection from machine gun bullets. As he was crawling from one stack of bodies to the next and his buddy behind him, a bullet went through his helmet strap, cutting it in two, and hit his buddy in the face.
[He had to put his buddy in front of him, while he could try to do something with his helmet.*]
It was years before he told us this. He had nightmares about killing Japanese. Only way to wake him up was to strike a match in his face."
*Ms. Bartlett Tackitt originally scratched through this line in the note, feeling that she could not swear to this part of the story.
Mr. John Milton Bartlett
June 21, 1966
3rd Marine Division
United States Marine Corps
There are many web sites devoted to the United States Marine Corps. Below are some of the more interesting ones that give accounts of the 3rd Marine Division on Iwo Jima:
3rd Marine Division on Iwo Jima
World War II - Battle for Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Flag Raising on Mt. Suribachi
Original story is from a message received in 25 June 2004.
Story added on 13 July 2004.
We, at the World War II Stories - In Their Own Words web site wish to offer to Ms. Betty Ruth Bartlett Tackitt, the sister of John Bartlett, our most profound THANK YOU for the poignant story of her brother's personal experiences -- during World War II and especially for allowing us to share those memories. We will always be grateful for this fine gentleman's contributions to the war effort and to the countless other men and women who put forth their "finest hour".
September 5, 2002.
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