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F.A. Gonzalez II & W.L. Lakeburg; USMC


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#1 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:21 PM

I've been trying to wait on this one until I got the records, but it seems they keep giving me that BS story about the fire. Naturally, the USMC records went untouched. Until then, here it is, a bit jumbled. Figured it was a good time, in wake of Memorial Day tomorrow.

My wife met this couple's son over a year ago, and as he and his wife had no kids of their own, he was glad to pass this group off to someone who would keep it intact and honor it. I had it nearly documented a few months back, but a computer crash lost the images. Plus, now that I have a scanner, the quality is much better.

Frederick A. Gonzalez II was born in Puerto Rico in 1911. He appears to have come to the States in 1938, and joined the Marine Corps in October of 1939, shortly after Germany invaded Poland, probably forseeing the pending war. He went to boot camp in San Diego, CA. He was assigned to either the 28th or 29th Platoon, he has images of both...

 

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Of course, during his 8 weeks of boot camp, he was on the Depot during Thanksgiving, and he saved the menu

 

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and then also for Christmas. He saved this menu, as well

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:20 AM.


#2 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:37 PM

After his stint in boot camp, he was shipped off and stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The muster rolls I recall had him billeted as a Painter. In September of 1940, he was promoted to Private First Class...

and in the same month to Corporal...
 

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Edited by Brig, 11 May 2014 - 09:04 AM.


#3 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:45 PM

1941 came, and in February the wearing of civilian attire was restricted. Here is a copy of the actual order pertaining to the matter...

 

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And several or his authorized liberty cards...

 

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In November of 1941 he was promoted to Sergeant...

 

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Then disaster struck...December 7th, 1941...the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Due to panic and traffic, unable to get to his assigned battle station, Sgt Gonzalez II watched from atop the barracks as Japanese planes dropped bombs on the airfield and ships time and again, strafing schools and base housing. He watched in shock and horror as the USS Arizona blew up, spewing debris, bodies and limbs in all directions. His personal account is related in the Albany, GA base paper for the 21st anniversary of the attack in 1962 here...
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..


Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:21 AM.


#4 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:49 PM

following what must have been a very depressed Christmas and New Years, Sgt Gonzalez continued to serve in Pearl Harbor, being promoted to Staff Sergeant in March of 1942...

 

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and in July he was further promoted to Supply Sergeant
 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:22 AM.


#5 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:20 PM

in 1943, a young woman named Willette Lakeburg decided to do her patriotic duty and in July of that year, enlisted in the USMC Woman Reserves. Born in 1920. A letter was sent to her parents upon her being accepted for enlistment...

 

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and she herself received the following orders...

 

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she proceeded to her own training experience that month, amongst the first waves of WMs. Here is a picture of her platoon. She is in the top row, 7th from the left...

 

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It is unclear of exactly when, but Pvt Willette Lakeburg was eventually promoted to Private First Class. Here is a colorized official photo of her in PFC Chevrons...

 

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She was also quite the scrapbooker. An 8 inch thick scrap book is in the group, where she kept a momento from seemingly every place she every went to include menus, matchbooks, and even a scrap of toilet paper. Here is her hat cord and ID card on one page of that scrap book...

 

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Also an interesting piece of WM emphera, there was a variety show held in October of 1943 in honor of female service members that she apparently attended, here is the flyer for it in the scrap book...

 

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Naturally, she was there for Christmas 1943. The menu...

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:23 AM.


#6 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:35 PM

I'm not entirely sure of when Supply Sergeant Gonzalez came to San Diego, but sometime while PFC Lakeburg was coming into the Corps he made the transfer. They met early in 1944, and had their first date on February 12th, two days before Valentines Day, at the Pacific Shores Cocktail Lounge in Ocean Beach, California. She kept the napkin...

 

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She attended the first anniversay ball of the USMCWR, and kept the itinerary...I'm sure Supply Sergeant Gonzalez accompanied her

 

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They continued to date when they could throughout the summer, judging by the emphera they frequented bars and restaurants. By the photos, it is evident they went to Mexico, and spent a lot of time at the beach. Some napkins...

 

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She also kept placemats. Here it appears they went to more of a risque cocktail lounge, it is interesting to see emphera of this nature. You can see she liked to doodle on the placemats and napkins, it is evident throughout the scrapbook...

 

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a flower he gave her...

 

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As I stated, they spent plenty of time at the beach. He even buried her in the sand more than once, and decided that sand burials rate to be anatomically correct to a degree

 

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A few more. A humorous photo of a friend with his fingers to his lips in a hush as he sneaks up the steps of the 'Ladies Only' bath house. On the reverse it states 'I didn't go in, honest'

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:25 AM.


#7 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:49 PM

That summer, Supply Sergeant Gonzalez decided to put in for a promotion to Warrant Officer, eventually receiving approval.

 

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In October of 1944, Willette Lakeburg was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

 

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Eventually, however, the good times stateside had to end and Warrant Officer Gonzalez found himself on ship enroute to the Pacific. The date isn't entirely clear, but it was near the end of 1944/beginning of 1945. While he was gone, he continued to write Willette Lakeburg and sent her numerous postcards. She began going out with the girls on her liberty periods. In the fourth image, she is third from the left.

 

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In the last two images, she is the first on the left...


Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:26 AM.


#8 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:49 PM

She seems to have been quite the fan of the War Bond stamps, keeping dozens in her scrap book. Here are just some of the ones present...

 

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And several more pictures of her and the gals during liberty, friends, and drill sessions when at work...

 

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She also appears to have been an avid artist, as these sketches were in the book. One of WO Gonzalez, his left forearm tattoo matches images of him at the time, and one of his unit crest.

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:27 AM.


#9 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:55 PM

Meanwhile, overseas, WO Gonzalez wouldn't have had a clue where he was headed until on 19th February 1945, his boots touched down on the black sands of Iwo Jima, Volcano Island. He managed to survive one of the bloodiest battles of Marine Corps history unscathed, earning himself a Bronze Star Medal during the course of the engagement. His citation reads as follows...

 

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In 1948 when Commandant Cates forwarded him the official citation, it would have been updated. He was then authorized the combat 'V' device.

 

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He would also receive the Presidential Unit Citation for participation in this campaign...

 

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A Marine receiving a Purple Heart. Beneath that, WO Gonzalez receives his Bronze Star. To the right, with the bushy mustaches, WO Gonzalez is on the right. I believe this photo was taken on Iwo Jima.

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:28 AM.


#10 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:58 PM

his furthur war service I'm unsure of, I can find no other reference and NARA has revealed nothing else, however he rated two bronze star devices on his Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal. After the war, he proceeded to do occupation duty in both Japan and China, taking numerous photos, including of the great wall.

 

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He returned in 1946, bringing back only a few souveneirs. One medal, one empty case, and one bill on which is penned 'Phillipines'.

 

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Around the time he was returning, Willette Lakeburg was being discharged June 28th from the USMCWR as the duration of the war was over...

 

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Shortly after, they were married. I can find no other reference of WO Gonzalez serving in the 2nd MarDiv...

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:30 AM.


#11 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:15 PM

The next few years are foggy. WO Gonzalez stayed in the Corps. I believe in 1948 they had a son, Frederick Gonzalez III, the man from whom I received this group. Willette Gonzalez came down with polio, which would put her into a wheel chair for the rest of her life. Their son would also contract it, but recover with the ability to walk. Probably because of these medical issues, they were transferred to Albany, Georgia around 1950, and I can find no record of WO Gonzalez serving in Korea.

 

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WO Gonzalez was quite the avid shooter, competing in several civilian and Marine Corps competitions for the pistol. He racked up some civilian awards, and needed glasses as he got on in years, but that didn't stop him, he purchased a lens mounted optic...

 

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In this image, notice the transitional use of insignia. WO Gonzalez sports an H&H M37 officer emblem, the Marine in the center the new pattern M56, and the Marine to the right the enlisted M37 cover emblem. The enlisted also sport collar emblems on their shirts, I do not know how long this was practiced.

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:31 AM.


#12 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:20 PM

In July 1956, it seems the Marine Corps finally played catchup and awarded WO Gonzalez his five rated Good Conduct Medals, though he'd been wearing the ribbons for years.

 

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They also appear to have discharged him and finally given him his permenant commission as a Warrant Officer...

 

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and attended the Birthday Ball...

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:32 AM.


#13 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:22 PM

in 1961, Willette Gonzalez got certified to work with the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, racking up pins for several thousands of hours of service, and receiving many autographed photos of her receiving the awards...


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Edited by Brig, 11 May 2014 - 09:43 AM.


#14 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:30 PM

WO Gonzalez continued to shoot and attend schools. Warehousing was still his field, and with the continual threat of action from Russia, NBC training became important in the Marine Corps...

 

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It appears that in 1967, WO Gonzalez was shipped to war once again. This time, to Vietnam. He took numerous photos there, here are some of the highlights.

 

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He appears to have also been the oldest Marine in the Ball that year, celebrated in theater...

 

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:34 AM.


#15 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:38 PM

He retired shortly after returning from Vietnam, and himself and his wife spend much time together, her still active in the Navy/MC Relief Society.

 

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On an anniversary...

 

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The resided in Ocean Side, California. Willette Gonzalez passed away in 1975...

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WO Gonzalez (Ret) never remarried, and stayed near his son in California. In 1991, he received one more award for his service, a Pearl Harbor commemorative medal with a letter signed by Congressman Randy 'Duke' Cunningham

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In 1995, at the age of 84, Frederick Gonzalez II passed away, leaving behind his son and daughter-in-law to join his brothers guarding the streets of heaven.


Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:35 AM.


#16 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:44 PM

now for the other stuff included in the group. First up, his mounted medals. It appears he never mounted them after retirement, as his Vietnam awards are not present...

also, an assortment of other medals. I imagine some may be Willette Gonzalez's, but until I get the records I will not know which. I'm not sure why there is an EAME medal, I can find no reference to him serving in Europe

Also his original issue Vietnam Cross, and a NATO Korean Service Medal. Again, I do not know why, I can find no mention of him serving in Korea.


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Edited by Brig, 11 May 2014 - 10:02 AM.


#17 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:48 PM

he kept a bucket of ribbons...including a handsome custom made bar. I find photo evidence of him rating 2 navy Unit Commendations, but I cannot explain the addition of the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Achievement Medal Ribbon, and Silver Star Ribbon

Also, his shooting badges. For a hoarder, I have no idea where all of his other badges went, including some handsome transitional badges with the pointed edged suspension bars seen in some photos above, and his Basic Qual Badge

And the EGA devices in the group. Again, strange that he did not hold onto the fistfuls he must have gone through, and the variations seen in photos. Perhaps just lost with time...

Ranks, most all by H&H, a few by Meyers...

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Edited by Brig, 11 May 2014 - 10:04 AM.


#18 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:51 PM

Other uniform misc that was included. Belt loops, and a 1982 commemorative Iwo Jima buckle...

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Chinstraps and the straps for a campaign cover, of which I find no evidence of him wearing...

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Thank you for reading and viewing. Again, there were stacks of documents and momentos. 40+ pounds of paperwork, impossible to show it all. Depicted above is less than 10% of everything here...

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Edited by Brig, 15 October 2015 - 04:36 AM.


#19 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:54 PM

Saved this for last, and food for thought. His dogtag, issued one month before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Crispy, charred, black. Imagine the things this one dogtag has seen. The attrocities of Pearl Harbor...the carnage of Iwo Jima. If ever a single object could depict the horror or war, and the resolve and heroics of such, and the sacrifices made...I think this may be it...

Enjoy your Memorial Day, but while you're grilling and having a few cold ones, make sure you take a moment to think about the true meaning of the day.

Semper Fidelis

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Edited by Brig, 11 May 2014 - 10:07 AM.


#20 wildcat123

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:06 PM

Amazing group, thanks so much for sharing :thumbsup:

#21 Kadet

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:10 PM

Wonderful group!

#22 bobgee

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:25 PM

O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G-!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bravo: What a fabulous historical USMC collection from two PROUD Marines! It couldn't have a better home!!!!!!! Thanks for for sharing the memory of these fine Marine Corps veterans with us on this Memorial Day weekend! A BIG SEMPER FI to you, Tim! :twothumbup:
Bob

#23 Brig

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:32 PM

O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G-!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bravo: What a fabulous historical USMC collection from two PROUD Marines! It couldn't have a better home!!!!!!! Thanks for for sharing the memory of these fine Marine Corps veterans with us on this Memorial Day weekend! A BIG SEMPER FI to you, Tim! :twothumbup:
Bob

Thought you might enjoy the read, Bob.

Darrell got to get a small taste in person a few months back, but never got a chance to see the paperwork.

#24 normaninvasion

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 06:21 PM

Great post. Really enjoyed the story and arrangement. There was alot of pride in their service. Well done

#25 mes

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 07:04 PM

Great grouping! So much history. From pearl harbor thru veitnam. The best husband and wife grouping I have ever seen.Thanks for showing this amazing group. Mark


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