Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Profiles Navy Corpsmen - Unsung Heroes of Iwo Jima - Jan. 8th, 2004
Posted on 01/07/2005 10:32:01 PM PST by snippy_about_it
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World War II
Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima--as subsequently memorialized in sculptor Felix deWeldon's bronze statue in Arlington National Cemetery--is probably the most famous military image in the world.
It is appropriate that one of the six men straining to lift the flagpole was a Navy corpsman, Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class John H. Bradley. Like his Marine buddies, Bradley was a member of the 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division.
Each of the three divisions engaged in the struggle for Iwo Jima included roughly 100 Navy surgeons and nearly 1,000 corpsmen in its ranks. Most of those emergency medical specialists deployed forward with the maneuver elements or worked in improvised aid stations just behind the front lines. The nature of their work required continuous risk-taking. They retrieved wounded Marines, performed initial life-saving measures, evacuated severe casualties back to the beach--always under fire. Navy medical crews paid an exorbitant price in the savage fighting at Iwo Jima. Twenty-three doctors and 827 corpsmen were killed or wounded in action, a casualty rate twice as high as bloody Saipan. One of the wounded was John Bradley, a casualty of heavy fighting in the northern part of the island 17 days after the historic flag raising.
Typical of the Navy corpsmen who served at Iwo Jima was Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class William B. Jett of Batesville, Ark. Jett came ashore with a replacement draft and joined the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, veterans of Suribachi, a unit that had already lost a disproportionate share of corpsmen. Jett was a company aid man assigned to a rifle platoon operating along the northwest corner, an area dubbed "the jungle of stone." In the next three weeks of fighting, Jett survived four platoon commanders--a lieutenant, a platoon sergeant, a sergeant and finally a corporal. But Jett, in his turn, was not immune to the heavy fire; shrapnel hit him in the left arm and wrist as he leaped out of a shell hole. He stayed in the lines. "Coming out alive on Iwo," he said, "was like going through a rainstorm without getting wet."
Four Navy corpsmen received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery on Iwo Jima: Pharmacist's Mates (1st Class) Francis J. Pierce, (2nd Class) George Wahlen, (3rd Class) Jack Williams, and (1st Class) John H. Willis. The last two were posthumous awards. Small wonder that most Marine infantrymen traditionally regard their accompanying corpsmen with special respect and affection.
b. July 10, 1923 Antigo, WI.
d. January 11, 1994 Antigo, WI.
"Doc" Bradley was a Navy Corpsman who "just jumped in to lend a hand." He won the Navy Cross for heroism and was wounded in both legs.
Bradley, a quiet, private man, gave just one interview in his life. In it he said . . . "People refer to us as heroes--I personally don't look at it that way. I just think that I happened to be at a certain place at a certain time and anybody on that island could have been in there--and we certainly weren't heroes--and I speak for the rest of them as well. That's the way they thought of themselves also."
"Of the surviving Flag Raisers, only Bradley was successful in putting his life back together after the war."
---From the best-selling "Immortal Images" by Tedd Thomey
John Bradley returned to his home town in the Midwest after the war, prospered as the owner of a family business, and gave generously of his time and money to local causes. He was married for 47 years and had eight children.
While Bradley had a public image as a war hero, he was a very private person. He avoided discussion of his war record saying only that the real heros were the men who gave their lives for their country.
The Global Media reported the death of a World War II icon on January 11, 1994 at the age of 70. But his hometown newspaper best captured the essence of Bradley's life after the war:
"John Bradley will be forever memorialized for a few moments action at the top of a remote Pacific mountain. We prefer to remember him for his life. If the famous flag-raising at Iwo Jima symbolized American patriotism and valor, Bradley's quiet, modest nature and philanthropic efforts shine as an example of the best of small town American values."
---Editorial, "The Antigo Daily Journal"
Navy Cross awarded to John H. Bradley February 21, 1945, D-Day plus 2:
"For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Rifle platoon. During a furious assault by his company upon a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a merciless crossfire from Machine guns.
With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through the intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of plasma was necessary to save the man's life. Unwilling to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were. Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission.
The Marine's wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety. His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with who he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval Service."
(Bradley served until wounded in both legs on March 12 by an enemy mortar shell, but refused evacuation until rendering aid to two other wounded Marines.)
"The ship has just finished two extended tours. They were on their way to Australia for some r and r. Then the ship is scheduled for a major refitting. This lack of information sucks.
Nuclear Submarine Runs Aground South of Guam
FReeper rsobin has a son that is aboard.
I pinged the Canteen and am pinging you.
We are getting snow today!! Coming straight down, big soggy flakes splattering the joint up! LOL
Nice weather here today. Forecast high lower 50's.
Sulphur Island Bump for the Foxhole on a lazy Saturday Morning.
Thanks for the ping.
I'd say somebodys career in the Navy just came to an end.
These reads are always so moving. God I love these kind of individuals . . . America's best!
He avoided discussion of his war record saying only that the real heros were the men who gave their lives for their country.
I think I learned more about my father and uncle's war record during the reading of their respective eulogy's than in all the time they were here with me.
"People refer to us as heroes--I personally don't look at it that way. I just think that I happened to be at a certain place at a certain time and anybody on that island could have been in there--and we certainly weren't heroes--and I speak for the rest of them as well. That's the way they thought of themselves also."
The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.
Sir Frank Dyson, KBE (18681939), Ninth Astronomer Royal from (191033)
Dyson worked for the Royal Observatories (in Greenwich and Edinburgh) throughout his life. Graduating from Trinity College Cambridge in 1889 he first worked on problems associated with gravitational theory before becoming chief assistant at Greenwich Observatory in 1894. His work at Greenwich included managing the Carte du Ciel project, which in turn led him to investigate the proper motion of stars (this work would eventually lead others to discover that our galaxy is rotating).
In 1906 he left Greenwich to become Astronomer Royal in Edinburgh only to return in 1910 as Astronomer Royal in England. In his time at the Observatory Dyson's work included studies of the solar corona, stellar parallaxes and participation in numerous eclipse expeditions including Portugal (1900), Sumatra, Mauritius (1901), Tunisia (1905), Sweden (1914), Sobral in Brazil (1919) - the same eclipse that was observed by Eddington from the Island of Principe off the west coast of Africa and used to confirm General Relativity, Australia (1922), Sumatra (1926), England (Giggleswick, 1927), Malaya (1929). He was also hugely interested in time, and was involved in setting up the 'six pips' signal first broadcast in 1924. After the first world war Dyson was involved in re-establishing international co-operation in science.
Hi miss Feather. Enjoying your weekend?
lazy Saturday Morning
A good thing...NO make that a VERY good thing.
Back later, I'm off to hunt down the cunning Ham and cheese omlet. Wish me luck!
Dang sound good, heck sounds a lot better than the bowl of Crunchy Nuggets I had while perusing the daily Foxhole Chatter.
Roger that . . . thanks.
Your words about your experience and your thoughts are so very moving. My screen got blurry. Thank you for sharing this important piece of your life with us. I can see how seeing that place would be something you could never forget.
This will sound really weird, but really there is no death. God is God of the living, Jesus said.
This is far from sounding weird, in fact it sheds a light in the dark. It makes me remember standing on hallowed ground at the civil war battlefields, the revolutionary battlefields and Arlington. You do 'feel' them there, they live on and I expect they are just waiting for us.
So, folks, don't sweat the "death" business, and never scold or belittle anyone who loves you. Especially dogs. Most especially your family.
You are an excellent teacher. You see, there is a reason you are still here.
As for dogs, they too are most certainly placed here by God and a wonderful gift to us.
Thanks for the ping Jet.
rsobin, we thank your son for his service.
Good luck. You sure eat good on the weeekends!
We are grateful for you uncle's service. Thanks for sharing Coleus.
Your welcome Sam. I know we've covered this before, you did an in depth thread on the battle and one on the flag raising but as with most WWII battles there are so many stories to tell.
Good morning Aeronaut, wherever you are. ;-)
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