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WWII UNIS Marked ID'd USMC Helmet - Service File Arrived!

Started by WW2 History Buff , Jul 17 2017 07:57 AM

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#1 WW2 History Buff

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:57 AM

Some of you may remember this helmet from a few weeks ago. I paid a private researcher to pull his file from the National Archives. It took a couple of weeks but the information was incredible. (Shout out to Lori at Red Bird Research for her hard work!). Photos include displays, the helmet itself, and documents from his file.

1SGT P-H-E-L-P-S started out as a musician in the Marines in the late 30’s. He always received good ratings, he shot expert with his rifle and pistol, and even qualified as a 5 inch anti-aircraft gun pointer. In November of 1942, he requested to have his status of being a Sergeant (Field Music) changed to Sergeant (Line). With the war in the Pacific beginning to really ramp up, he requested to change from a safe position in a Band Company to being a Sergeant in a Line company.

His request was approved, and he was sent to 1st Sergeant’s School. By March 1943, P-H-E-L-P-S was a sergeant in the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Marine Regiment in the 4th Marine Division. He bounced around from Headquarters company and “G” company. Onwards, P-H-E-L-P-S and the 4th MARDIV trained and participated in maneuvers and beach landings in Hawaii.

31 January 1944 to 3 February 1944 - P-H-E-L-P-S, had his first taste of combat at Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. Of the 3,500 original defenders of the island, only 51 survived the battle.

Following, P-H-E-L-P-S fought on Saipan 15 June 1944 to 9 July 1944, a battle that was overlooked at the time due to the invasion of Europe. The 24th Marines were originally placed in reserve, but the Japanese opposition was stubborn and strong and the 24th was called to fight. He managed to endure the battle physically unharmed.

24 July 1944, was D-Day for the invasion of the Japanese island of Tinian. Although the island had a Japanese garrison of over 9,000, the Marines took control of the island by 1 August 1944. P-H-E-L-P-S and the 24th Marines were in the first wave to assault the island. P-H-E-L-P-S, was not as fortunate as before and took fragmentation shrapnel (Shell) in his right hand on D-Day and was evacuated from the island, but returned to duty 5 days later.

After the island was declared secure, the 4th Marine Division immediately returned to Hawaii for training and reorganization. Gaining replacements to replace the Marines lost in the Mariana Islands.

January 1945 - P-H-E-L-P-S and the 4th Marine Division left Hawaii for Iwo Jima. On February 19th, 1945, P-H-E-L-P-S and the 4th MARDIV, landed on the Northern Sector of the volcanic island on Yellow and Blue Beaches. From D-Day onward, the Marines faced the toughest and fiercest fighting seen in the Pacific theater of war. P-H-E-L-P-S was yet again wounded, the day after D-Day on 20 FEB.

He suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm and was evacuated from the Island. This type of wounding was called “The Million Dollar Wound”. Receiving a wound that would remove them from battle, but not maim, dismember, or kill them. The 24th Marines fought for 35 straight days of hell on earth. P-H-E-L-P-S' company commander, Capt. Joseph J McCarthy, won the Medal Of Honor for his heroism on that volcanic island.

P-H-E-L-P-S would survive the war and spend the rest of his time in Naval Hospitals until he was medically discharged from the Marine Corps in November 1945. His gunshot wound he suffered on Iwo Jima, left him suffering from slight paralysis in his hand with numbness in his thumb and index finger.

1st Sgt R. H. P-H-E-L-P-S, was the quintessential American man. On his reenlistment form in 1942, he listed his Race as “American” an option that was not listed on the paper. Instead of staying stateside in a Marine Band unit, he voluntarily requested to be sent to a line company, where he knew he would see combat. Not only did he request for this, but he did so during the middle of the Guadalcanal campaign.

If only he was alive today, I would love to talk to the man. I hope that my time and effort in keeping his story alive has not fallen on deaf ears. Semper Fidelis!
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Letter detailing his wound from Iwo Jima
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#2 WW2 History Buff

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:59 AM

Letters sent to his Aunt, his NOK, after his woundings.

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#3 WW2 History Buff

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:00 AM

There are plenty more documents, but I think these are the most interesting! Thanks all,

Haydn


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#4 Kurt Barickman

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:09 AM

Very nice Id'ed helmet. There is a company history of G-2-24 that was done several years ago while many of the veterans were still alive and could remember. Might be something to look into trying to find. I can't remember the exact name of the book but I know at least one member of the Forum has a copy.

 

Congrats,

 

Kurt



#5 ArchangelDM

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:12 AM

Very interesting read
Thanks

#6 1canpara

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:14 AM

Great helmet, amazing history! Congrats!

Rick

#7 MCDUFF

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:44 AM

Fantastic information Haydn! An unknown 'ordinary' helmet has turned into something quite remarkable! Well done in keeping the memory alive! Congratulations. Cheers, Graham



#8 Screamingeagles101

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:47 AM

Probably one of the coolest helmets I've seen in this forum!

Thanks for sharing!


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#9 3rdMarDivMP

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:54 AM

Truly awesome helmet combined with a truly awesome story.  Can't be beat.



#10 sgtdorango

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:13 AM

Probably one of the coolest helmets I've seen in this forum!

Thanks for sharing!
I agree!.....one of the top ten on the forum i would say...mike


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#11 Bill47

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:24 AM

The helmet is a treasure, as was the man who wore it.  Thanks for bringing us up to date on your research.

Bill



#12 Ronny67

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:14 PM

Wow. GREAT research. 



#13 Catfishcraig

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:40 PM

The helmet is a treasure, as was the man who wore it.  Thanks for bringing us up to date on your research.
Bill


Couldn't have been said much better than this.... thanks for sharing

#14 Ronnie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:34 PM

What a great collection.
Ronnie

#15 devildog34

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:40 PM

Very nice Id'ed helmet. There is a company history of G-2-24 that was done several years ago while many of the veterans were still alive and could remember. Might be something to look into trying to find. I can't remember the exact name of the book but I know at least one member of the Forum has a copy.

 

Congrats,

 

Kurt

 

Kurt if you are referring to the book, "This Here's G Company" it is G 2/25.  I thought the same thing when I saw this lid and had to pull the book to double check but it's G 2/25.
 



#16 devildog34

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:41 PM

SUPERB!



#17 byf41

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:17 PM

Outstanding ! Congratulations .



#18 ParanormalTrooper

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 10:52 AM

Amazing helmet!!! You did a good job on that poster, looks nice.

Thanks for sharing!



#19 huntssurplus

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:40 AM

I'm a few days late but this is an amazing story to go along with an amazing helmet! Thanks for sharing!
Hunt,


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