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Lifesaving Medal, USMC WIA Roi-Namur Island, Okinawa


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#1 kanemono

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:03 PM

Leroy Stanley Gibson was born on September 15, 1912 in New Rochelle , New York. In 1931 Gibson was employed as an ordinary seaman by the American Export Lines serving on the SS Exeter. While serving on the Exeter he was awarded a Lifesaving Medal for “Bravely Rescuing a Boy from Drowning” on November 17, 1931 in Casablanca. He worked for American Export Lines as a seaman serving on several ships until 1940 when Gibson went to work for Curtiss Wright as a machinist manufacturing airplane propellers. On October 19, 1942 Gibson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served with the 15th Defense Battalion, Second Marine Division in the occupation of Kwajalein Atoll from January 29th to February 12th 1944 when he was wounded on Roi-Namur Island. A small group of Japanese planes, flying high, dropped a few incendiary bombs on Roi Island. One of them struck the ammunition dump and a moment later the whole island was an exploding inferno. Combat Correspondent Bernard Redmond, attached to the Engineers, described "solid sheets of flame" that resulted from the explosions of our own ammunition and TNT. The raid lasted only five minutes, but the bombardment from the ammunition dump continued for four hours.

"Tracer ammunition lit up the sky as far as we could see," Redmond wrote, "and for a full half hour red-hot fragments rained from the sky like so many hailstones, burning and piercing the flesh when they hit.... A jeep exploded in our faces a few yards away. Yet half an hour after the first bomb hit, several hospitals and first aid stations were functioning with all the efficiency of urban medical centers. Casualties were numerous, and it was later estimated that damage to our supplies and equipment amounted to one million dollars. "

Gibson then participated in the operation against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Island from April 1, 1945 to April 14, 1945 as part of the X Army. From there he was sent to Saipan then to Nagasaki, Japan where he served until December 1945. After discharge Gibson served in the Merchant Marine. He then lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach City, Virginia, and sold Real Estate until his death in January 1988.

PFC Leroy S. Gibson sent home a grouping of naval swords and a naval dirk along with a IJN hat badge and belt buckle. The sake cup says “Duty is heavy as a mountain, death is light as a feather.” The group also includes two photo albums. The first contains family photos and pictures and mementos of his merchant marine service in the 1930s. The second contains photographs of his service in the Marine Corps including many pictures of Hawaii, Roi-Namur and Okinawa.

Attached Images

  • entire-group.jpg
  • lifesaving-medal.jpg
  • closeup-GCM.jpg
  • gibson-in-lifesaver.jpg
  • dogtags.jpg
  • Gibson-and-frirnds-with-flag.jpg


#2 Dave

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:07 PM

Wow...I love it! Fantastic group from a guy who served all over the world! 



#3 kanemono

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:07 PM

next..

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  • albums.jpg
  • double-page-album.jpg
  • seaman-papers.jpg
  • award-GCM.jpg


#4 kanemono

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:09 PM

next

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  • PH-award.jpg
  • Japanese-blades-out-of-scabbards.jpg
  • medals-etc.jpg


#5 kanemono

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:10 PM

next..

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#6 kanemono

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 02:14 PM

next..

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  • Okinawa-action.jpg
  • Japan-occupation.jpg


#7 aerialbridge

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 08:04 PM

Neat group, thanks for posting!



#8 Kurt Barickman

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:47 AM

Unique group, trying to figure out the 15th Defense Battalion would be attached to the 2nd Marine Division in early 1944 in the Marshalls? I am intrigued and thanks for sharing another amazing group from your collection.

 

Kurt



#9 kanemono

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 12:21 PM

Hi Kurt,

Here is some information on the 15th.

Organized in Hawaii by Lieutenant Colonel Francis B. Loomis, Jr., from the 1st Airdrome Battalion at Pearl Harbor, the unit bore the nickname "First: Fifteenth." Beginning in January 1944, it served at Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls in the Marshalls, Lieutenant Colonel Peter J. Negri assumed command in May 1944, shortly before the unit, on the 7th of that month, became the 15th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion.

 

 

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#10 katieony

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:33 PM

Absolutely fabulous group!!!



#11 Jarhead8007

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 04:00 PM

Interesting connection to Roi-Namur.  LtCol Aquilla James "Jimmie" Dyess received the Carnegie Medal for saving two drowning swimmers in 1929 and then earned the Medal of Honor in 1944 for his actions during the battle.  He was killed by a sniper the day after his MoH-worthy act.   Gibson was wounded 10 days after Dyess was killed.

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#12 FFZFlyer

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 10:24 AM

Your post #6 indicates Gibson was Okinawa for just two weeks.  I'm curious if you know why that was.  There is no indication he was WIA there. 

 

The same record indicates that he boarded the APA Hendry at Saipan on March 7 and left on it for Okinawa on March 27.  I imagine that had to be an enjoyable three weeks!!

 

Thanks.




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