Thanks to Justin Goldstein for assistance with this story.
Anyone who is interested in WWII history in the Pacific theater has seen countless pictures like the one below from the Irwin Goldstein Collection. After hard duty cruising the Pacific for months on end, there was nothing like leave at Pearl Harbor. Girls, beer, and dry land!
These five young fellas were from the crew of the USS Leon APA 48. All of them were members of the ship’s boat group. They were the boat crews who delivered the Marines and soldiers to the beaches, any beach… any time.
We don’t know the exact date the picture was taken, but the scrawl on the back says,
“After the Invasion of Saipan at P.H.”
They were happy to be ashore, but we notice no big smiles here after Saipan. They’d landed 1382 healthy young Marines from the FOURTH Division and shortly thereafter transported 307 of them wounded and dying back to the ship. No one was guaranteed tomorrow.
There was more to come. Their next four amphibious assaults: Angaur (Palau Islands), Leyte and Luzon (Philippines), and Okinawa (Ryukyu Islands).
We’re pretty darned certain of the identities of these five sailors, but please correct us if we’re wrong. Either way, if you see one of your family here, we would love to hear from you!
In the front row is S1c M. C. Weisenburg (Izzy) from Baltimore, MD. The middle row (l) is S1c John T. Duffy from Pittsburgh, PA, and the middle (r) is Cox Ernest M. Johnson from North Adams, MA. The back (l) is S1c Glenn J. Dickinson from Granville, MA, and (r) is S1c Irwin Goldstein from New York, NY.
And here’s the good part. They all came home!
Picture: Irwin Goldstein Collection