2nd Marine Division (Guadalcanal - Saipan)
27th Weapons Company, 5th Marine Division (Iwo Jima)
Pacific Campaign: Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Japan Occupation.
United States Marine Corps
1942 - 1945
Joe entered the United States Marine Corps on March 5, 1942 and was given an honorable discharge as a corporal on November 8, 1945. His basic training took place at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California
Engagements in which Joe Bernard took part in were:
Guadalcanal, Saipan, Iwo Jima and the Occupation of Japan
The above image was taken in 1942, at age 21, in Hollywood, CA., when these best friends were ready to be shipped out to Guadalcanal.
From left to right:
Harry Kemp of Tacoma, Washington
Joe Bernard of New Orleans, Louisiana
Bob Berger of Chicago, Illinois
Bob Benning of Brooklyn, New York
The above image of Joe and his best buddies was entitled:
"These guys are my best friends, we always pal around".
Less than one year later his three best friends had been killed in action.
These two images were taken sometimes during or after the Battle of Saipan - 1944. Joe Bernard spoke of Saipan to his son and family only a little. He did mentioned that he watched Japanese civilians throwing their children and themselves off of the cliffs onto the rocks below. According to Joe, the civilians had been brainwashed by Japanese Army propaganda.
Joe also said that the Marines who fought in the battle, which was not USMC policy, did very little to stop the civilians from committing suicide. It is guessed that this was due to the way the U. S. Marines fighting men felt about the ferocious battles with the Japanese at the time and how they felt about this brutal enemy.
caption reads: 1943-Home on leave with malaria
He (Joe) contracted malaria on Guadalcanal. He said that he had grown tired of hearing people in the States complaining about the heat or things in general. He was ready to go back into combat. People forgot that there was a war going on, according to Joe.
caption reads: Russ Cresson, J. G. Voertties, Joe (Bernard) - 1944
Joe Bernard with his friends from New Orlenas. Mr. Cresson was Best Man at Joe's wedding in 1948.
JOE BROUGHT 'EM -- These Japanese souvenirs, most of them taken off the bodies of Japs personally liquidated by Pfc. Joseph Bernard, United States Marines, 21, of 223 Telemachus street, are on exhibit in the Roosevelt hotel. Joe is showing the sword to the two Marines who will guard the exhibit, Sgt. Mattie Dement and Staff Sgt. Vincent Giagresso.
This article was written in the local papers about Pfc. Joe Bernard at Guadalcanal. After he came home from the war, he gave the Samurai sword to a young boy living nearby. Except for the Samurai sword, the remainder of items accumulated by Joe Bernard are still retained in the family's personal collection.
Jap yells at Joe, but Joe,
N. O. boy, shoots first, Jap swallows yell
"I cut your guts out," the fierce looking Jap lieutenat yelled at Pvt. Joe Bernard,rushing at him with a sword. Joe yelled back, but he fired as he yelled. He has the sword as a souvenir. He was back home from two and a half months fighting on Guadalcanal and other action in the South Pacific.
This his 21-year-old New Orlenas boy personally acounted for seven Japs. He has the picture of the Jap lieutenant that he shot -- Lt. Loichi Fujihara a snapshot taken off the dead officer along with the sword and other souvenirs.
Joe is a quiet fellow, still suffering from malaria, and is under treatment at the Naval general hospital.
He didn't like talking about his experiences, but the information was dragged out of him little by little. The lieutenant he shot was the leader of a patrol squad of 10 men, who were all killed by men of Joe's outfit. The Japs are all right as fighters, but you can't get them out in the open," Joe said.
Considering what happened to those who came out in the open, one could understand that.
Joe's collection of Japs souvenirs is so interesting that his pals here asked him to put it on exhibition in the Roosevelt hotel.
It includes a Jap battle flag, taken off a soldier which is signed with the names and messages of the Jap's friends and relatives.
There is Jap money, both paper and metal, and a money folder issued to Japanese soldiers. Also a sacred amelet, which Japs wear in battle, and a Japanese stamp.
Two pictures of Japanese soldiers, taken off their dead bodies, and a soldier's account with a Japanese bank -- totaling about $40 in American money.
The collection will be guarded day and night by two Marines, as long as it is on exhibit in the lobby of the Roosevelt.
Joe is the son of Mrs. Edna Bernard, 223 South Telemaches street, and a graduate of Peters High School.
The material above, as related to the Souvenirs of Joe Bernard ran in the local papers. The exact newspaper and date were not given us at the time of this writing.
If you would care to read additional information about Joe Bernard and his time spent with the USMC, you may do so at: Joe Bernard, Pfc, U. S. Marine Corps
We at World War II Stories - In Their Own Words, would like to thank the son of Pfc. Joseph Bernard, Mr. Keith Bernard for allowing us the use of this excellent material and images depicted on this page dedicated to his Father, Pft. Joe Bernard.
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