C123rd News

2021-02-27: The Passing of Francis J. Neis

For C123rd Marines and their families who may have known Mr. Neis from the 4th Marine Division Reunions.

Neis, Francis J.

Company C, 4Th Motor Transport, 23rd Regiment, 4Th Marine Division

He passed away February 25, 2021 in Marshfield, WI and your group was on his list of people to notify.

He was a proud Marine up to the end! He made all of the landings including Iwo Jima. He and my mother attended many of the reunions.

Dad turned 100 last July 20.

Reported by his family on Feb 27, 2021.

2020-03-19: The Passing of Gene Rackovitch

03.10.2020 OBITUARIES | Zivojin Rackovitch | By The Suffolk Times

Zivojin "Gene" Rackovitch of Greenport died at St. Catherine’s Nursing Home in Smithtown March 6. He was 93.

He was born Nov. 9, 1926, to Lillian and Peter Ratzkovich in Flushing, N.Y.

After high school, Mr. Rackovitch served in the Marine Corps for three years, attaining the rank of sergeant. He was employed as a milkman in New York City for 15 years, as a silver importer for 25 years and he authored six books.

Mr. Rackovitch married his wife, Harriet, on Jan. 21, 1951, in Flushing.

He received a Silver Medal Award in 2014 from Military Society of America for his book, “My Corps.” His family said he was an avid gardener who enjoyed chess and poker.

Mr. Rackovitch was predeceased by his son Thomas in 2004. He is survived by children Donna Mann and Daria Kowal of Greenport, Kim Worko of Flushing, Michael Rackovitch of North Chili, N.Y., Judith Rackovitch and Joseph Longhway, both of Long Beach, N.Y.; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Visitors will be received Saturday, March 14, from noon to 4 p.m. at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. Interment will take place at St. Agnes Cemetery in Greenport, with date and time to be announced.

Source: https://suffolktimes.timesreview.com/2020/03/zivojin-rackovitch/

2019-03-03: February 19th Greetings

Thank you all for your service to our nation and for setting the tone for the rest of us who followed.

Ssgt Garcia Joey

C Co 1/23

2nd PLT


Just wanted to send a Thank You for the Marines & Sailors The Battle of Iwo Jima !!!

God Bless you all and God Bless the USA!!!!

SGT. Ramirez Bernabe

Charlie Company 1/23


Retired 2015




As we remember the Battle of Iwo Jima, we remember and think of our heroes. Marines from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines served proudly during this battle and left us a legacy that we continue to honor as new generations of Marines go through the ranks.

Thank you and all the veterans in the association. We love you and we are proud of you. Selfless sacrifice is the ultimate act of love for one another. There is no higher standard that Marines like yourselves could have left behind for our great nation.

Many blessings to you and yours.

Semper Fidelis,

Juan Ramirez Jr.


United States Marine Corps

Brownsville, Texas

Thank you for your service brothers.

Sgt. Cantu Gonzalez

Charlie Company 1/23

Thank you all for your Service and Anniversary. Semper Fidelis.

Thank you and God Bless.

CPL Castaneda, Juan

Charlie 1/23 2003-2009

2019-02-19: Sincere Gratitude

Fellow warriors and mentors,

Today, on February 19, 1945, many of you loaded onto LVT's and stepped into history and Marine Corps lore. I went this morning to the Iwo Jima Memorial located at the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas. I stepped inside the small museum there next to it and thought of you. I thought of the sacrifices that the Greatest Generation has made for our country. I thought of my grandfather who also served in the Marine Corps during World War II but on Saipan and Okinawa. My grandfather passed before I was born but my family followed in his footsteps and joined the Marine Corps. I also visited the grave of Mr. Robert Jeffries an Iwo Jima survivor whom I met before my unit deployed to Iraq and 2004 and though extremely ill waited for us to get back before reporting to the eternal commandant. His wife said he just wanted to see us home before his duty ended. I was honored to carry him to his final resting place. I am honored to have had the privilege to have corresponded with some of you who served with Charlie Company 1/23 in World War II and I am eternally grateful for the knowledge and history you have provided me.

Semper Fidelis!

GySgt Rene F. Avendano Jr.

2019-01-27: Interviews with Carlos Showalter

Carlos Showalter has been giving interviews and telling his story to a gentleman who is making Interview DVDs about the landings and selling them on eBay.

You can find the DVD's here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/CARLOS-SHOWALTER-4TH-MARINE-DIVISION-IWO-JIMA-VETERAN-RARE-INTERVIEW-DVD/223337974861?hash=item33fffb0c4d:g:RgoAAOSwlgdZz8Bx:rk:5:pf:0

2019-01-27: The Passing of Nicholas P. Del Vecchio

posted Aug 1, 2015, 7:36 PM by C123rd.com Webmaster

The webmaster at C123rd.com was recently contact by a person who had purchased a wooden box on the internet with C Company 1st Battalion 23rd Marines 4th Marine Division burned on it. It also has Spokane 1943 burned on the side. We're going through our records trying to figure out who it might be as the person is hoping we would be able to find the name or maybe even a picture of the man who this box belonged to. They'd love to be able to put a name and face with it and give this Marine the honor he deserves.

If you have any information about the box or similar boxes, please email us at webmaster@c123rd.com. Thank you.

Obituary for Nicholas P Del Vecchio

Nicholas P. Del Vecchio, 94, died on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at home.

Born in Plainfield, Mr. Del Vecchio resided in North Plainfield.

A veteran of WWII, Mr. Del Vecchio served in the Marine Corps from 1943 – 1946. During his enlistment, he earned the rank as Corporal and was a member of the Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division that invaded the Island of Iwo Jima on February 14, 1945. The Battle of Iwo Jima a notorious battle that lasted five weeks where the United States lost thousands and thousands of soldiers.

Mr. Del Vecchio is predeceased by all of his siblings and is survived by several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews as well several great great nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation and funeral services on Friday, January 18, 2019 beginning at 9AM in the McCriskin – Gustafson Home for Funerals 2425 Plainfield Ave South Plainfield, NJ 07080.

Interment will follow at Holy Redeemer Cemetery, South Plainfield.

Source: https://mccriskinfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/3696242/Del-Vecchio-Nicholas/service-details.php

2018-12-23: A Message from GySgt Rene F. Avendano Jr. USMC (Ret)

I wanted to wish all the veterans of Charlie Company 1st Battalion 23rd Marine Regiment a sincere thank you this Veterans Day. I hope this email finds you well and in good spirits. I can never stop thanking you for your dedicated service to our nation and our beloved Marine Corps. You all are an inspiration for the future of our Marine Corps. I hope you had an excellent Marine Corps Birthday and again thank you for your service.

GySgt Rene F. Avendano Jr. USMC (Ret)

Company C 1/23 4th Mar Div

Never underestimate the fury of patient man.

The Darkness cannot extinguish your light. Your WILL. Your determination. No matter what is happening—no matter how hard the fight is. As long as you keep fighting—you win.”

Every time you train, train with the motivation and purpose that you will be the hardest person someone ever tries to hurt or kill.

Pray, I never come for you.

2018-12-02: The Passing of Elmer N. Davis

January 2, 1921 - July 16, 2010

Elmer "Bud" N. Davis, Jr., 89, of Granger, passed away in his home, surrounded by family, at 10:06 am, Friday, July 16, 2010. Bud was born on January 2, 1921 in St. Charles, IL to the late Elmer N and Stella (Crawford) Davis. On March 30, 1946, he married Maxine "Mickey" E. Ruffner, who preceded him in death in 2008.

Bud graduated from Horace Mann High School in Gary, where he was enrolled in the ROTC. He proudly served his country during WWII in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he became a Corporal and a Rifle Expert. He participated in the Battle of Roi and Namur, Kwajalein Atoll, also was involved in action against the enemy at Saipan, Tinian and the Battle of Iwo Jima, where he earned a Purple Heart. He was a member of the Albright United Methodist Church, where he was a trustee. He was the former owner and operator of Davis Floor Covering Service. Bud was also employed at Joer's Floor Center for many years as an estimator. He was a master floor mechanic, loved animals, and was a big Notre Dame and Indianapolis Colts fan.

Bud is survived by four children, Janice (Bill) Falkenau-Shaw of South Bend, Jill Comfort of Osceola, Jackie Vogler of Mishawaka and Jody (Lucy) Davis of Granger, ten grandchildren, Kimberly McCall, David (Melissa) Falkenau, Jennifer (Tommy) Laymon, Rebecca Dahlin, Angela Comfort, Alicia Comfort, Michael Vogler, Ann (David) Emmitt, Benjamin Davis and Nicole Davis and nine great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is also preceded in death by his two sisters, Delores Portlock and Evelyn Tauber.

Visitation will be held from 5:00-8:00 pm, Wednesday, July 21, 2010 in Chapel Hill Funeral Home, 10776 McKinley Highway, Osceola. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am, Thursday, July 22, 2010 in the funeral home with entombment to follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, Osceola.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Albright United Methodist Church, 504 W. Mishawaka Ave, Mishawaka, IN 46545 or to The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc, 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN 46637

2017-12-17: The Passing of Walter S. Donahue, Jr.

Walter S. Donahue, Jr.

May 19, 1921 - September 29, 2017

Pawtucket – Walter S. Donahue, Jr., 96, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Friday, September 29, 2017. He was the beloved husband of Lillian (Kenney) Donahue for seventy-three years. Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of the late Walter Scott Donahue and Grace (Hawes) Donahue, he resided in Pawtucket over seventy years. Walter was a World War II U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he served as a 1st Lieutenant Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Regular, 2nd Marine Division in Saipan, Timan and the Okinawa Campaigns and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. He was a 1940 graduate of the Boston Public Latin School. Walter was also a 1944 graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was a member and past-president of the Alpha Delta Pi Fraternity; member of the Student Council; Ivy Day Chairman; Class Life Secretary-Treasurer; Class Agent since 1949; Director of the Alumni Fund; Chairman of the Alumni Fund 1980 and he received the Robert Cross Award; Alumni Service Award and was the Maine All State Football Halfback / Place Kicker in 1943. He also attended Boston University and Rhode Island University studying in Sales and Marketing. Walter was employed by the Union Wadding Company for forty-five years until retiring in 1991 as Vice-president of Sales in the Manufacturing Division. He was member and Past Master of Barney Merry Lodge No. 29 F. & A.M.; member of the Pawtucket Junior Chamber of Commerce and an Honorary Life member of the Pawtucket Country Club. Besides his wife, he leaves three children, W. Scott Donahue, III, Susan J. Pimental and Alan R. Donahue; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Services with Military Honors will be private. Interment will follow at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence. Visitation and flowers are respectfully omitted. Memorial gifts to the Bowdoin Alumni Fund, 5000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011 or Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904 would be appreciated. TRIPPFUNERALHOME.com

Source: http://www.trippfuneralhome.com/obituary/walter-donahue-jr

2017-12-17: Victory over Japan Day Article in the Roanoke Times

Tonia Moxley had a great piece in the Roanoke Times about a Victory over Japan Day luncheon for veterans at Mission BBQ. The article also features an interview with Carlos Showalter and some great videos as well.

Read the article here: http://www.roanoke.com/news/local/roanoke/mission-bbq-celebrates-v-j-day-with-veteran-luncheon/article_b879e1ee-799d-542c-8416-579c1cd6e5e9.html

2017-12-17: The Passing of Nicholas A. Zingaro


Sgt Major Nicholas A. Zingaro Ret. USMC

September 2, 2017

Nicholas A. Zingaro, 92, of Solvay, NY, passed away on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at his home with his family by his side. He was born to the late Luigi and Theresa (Spicciati) Zingaro on August 20, 1925. To many, Nick Zingaro is a Marine, a Sergeant Major. To us, he is our dad, our grandfather, our great-grandfather, our mentor and our “hero”. Three of his sons, Richard, Nick and Lewis, followed in his footsteps to become Marines. On March 4, 1944 Nick joined the Marine Corps and proudly served for 36 years, serving in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. He was a machine gunner with Charlie Company, First Battalion 23rd marines, 4th Marine Division. He was in the 3rd wave beach landing on Iwo Jima in February 1945. In March, 2005, he took a trip back to the Island for the 60th Anniversary Remembrance of the Battle of Iwo Jima. At that time, he and a fellow marine and Iwo Jima survivor returned battlefield mementos to family members of fallen Japanese soldiers. Nick was discharged in 1947 and joined the Marine Corps Reserves. In August, 1950, he was reactivated for the Korean War. After the war, he became an instructor for cold weather training and joined a training battalion in Bridgeport, California. He was promoted to Sgt Maj in 1970 and in 2004 inducted into the NYS Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. Sgt Maj Zingaro was very active in many Veteran organizations including the Marine Corps League, American Legion Post 41, VFW Post 2893, Solvay Geddes Veterans, DAV, The Fleet Reserve Association and the 4th Marine Division Association. He has been recognized for his service with the Asiatic Pacific Medal, NYS Conspicuous Service Cross, National Defense Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Iwo Jima Medal, Korean Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. In addition to his career as a Marine, Nick worked for the Department of Transportation, Design and Records for 58 years. He retired in December, 2011 at the age of 86. He reflects often on the many projects he was a part of and the friends he made and kept while there. Nick was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Christina Burns Zingaro, and his siblings, Carmella Plants, Anne Fantacone, Assunta Ranieri, Michael Zingaro, John Zingaro and Lucy Malvasi.

He is survived by his five children, Richard, of the Community Living Center at the VA, Michael of Solvay, Nicholas (Jane) of Cape Coral, FL., Lewis (Kitty) of Prince George, VA and Karen (Charles) Baracco of Onondaga Hill. His grandchildren, Danielle (Neil) Tardella, Sandra(Bill) Davis, Nicholas (Kerry) Zingaro, Nicole(Scott) Nettune, Charles(Lindsey) Baracco, Michael(Charlotte) Baracco, Michael, Nikki, Anthony, Janelle Zingaro, Jaclyn(Mark) Wesolaski, Jennifer (Graham)Tharp, Patricia (Travis) Gonzales, Christina (Korey) Wessel, Lewis and Zachary Zingaro. His great-grandchildren Marin and Astoria Davis, Bennett and Lara Nettune, Sailor and Fox Tardella, Isla, Laney and Esmae Baracco, Gianna and Blaise Wesolaski, Edmund and Owen Gonzales, Theodore Tharp and Natalie Wessel. His sister, Rose Fedrizzi, brother, Louis (Monica) Zingaro, sister-in-law, Anne Zingaro, brotherin-law, Joseph Ranieri, sister-in-law, Muriel Burns and several nieces and nephews.

Special thank you to dads compassionate caregivers Amber, Asia, Ebony, Kejah, Shallon, Aida and Michelle.

Funeral services will be held 8:45 am Friday at BAGOZZI TWINS FUNERAL HOME and 9:30 am at St. Cecilia Church, 1001 Woods Rd, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. The Rite of Committal and burial with Military Honors will follow in Onondaga County Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, Syracuse.

Family and friends may call from 4 to 7 pm Thursday at BAGOZZI TWINS FUNERAL HOME, 2601 Milton Ave.

Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to Hospice of CNY, 7th North Street, Liverpool, NY 13088 or Multiple Sclerosis Resources of CNY, 6743 Kinne Street, E. Syracuse, NY 13057.

Please offer online tributes for Nicholas at www.bagozzitwins.com.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of NICHOLAS A. ZINGARO Ret. USMC please visit our Sympathy Store.

Source: http://www.bagozzitwins.com/obituaries/Nicholas-Zingaro/#!/Obituary

2017-12-17: An Interview with Gene Rackovitch

On June 02, 2017, Katharine Schroeder interviewed Gene Rackovitch for a piece that appeared in the Community News section of SouthholdLocal.com. Gene talked to Katharine about his books and his writing.

Click here to read the article: https://southoldlocal.com/2017/06/02/marine-veteran-author-lifetime-stories-tell/

2017-06-24: The Passing of Fred Schmidt

The Passing of Fred Schmidt

posted Jun 24, 2017, 3:15 PM by C123rd.com Webmaster

Fred John Schmidt, 94, Minot and Fessenden, died Monday, April 17, 2017, in a CHI Care Center in Turtle Lake.

Click here to read his obituary.

2017-06-24: The Passing of Delmer Gibson

posted Jun 24, 2017, 3:14 PM by C123rd.com Webmaster [ updated Jun 24, 2017, 3:16 PM ]

Delmer Paul Gibson Sr., 90, of Masontown, passed away Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at Pine Ridge Nursing Home in Kingwood.

Click here to read his obituary.

2017-02-13: Ancestry.com Project Completed

Since Aug 2015 I have been working on a genealogy project for C123rd on Ancestry.com.

I have put the names of the 862 Marines and 161 Navy Corpsman who came and went in C Company during WWII into a tree at Ancestry.com.

If I could find their parents I added them and same for their spouses. About half of the men I could not find out more about. As I went along what struck me was how many were 1st generation Americans. 7 were even immigrants themselves of which 5 were born in Canada and 2 in Italy.

Of the ones whose parents I could find out more about, 120 of the Marines and Corpsmen were first generation Americans with their parents having been born in the following 33 countries.

  1. Armenia

  2. Austria

  3. Bohemia

  4. Canada

  5. Croatia

  6. Czechoslovakia

  7. Denmark

  8. England

  9. Finland

  10. France

  11. Galicia

  12. Germany

  13. Greece

  14. Holland

  15. Hungary

  16. Ireland

  17. Italy

  18. Lithuania

  19. Mexico

  20. New Zealand

  21. Norway

  22. Philippines

  23. Poland

  24. Romania

  25. Russia

  26. Scotland

  27. Serbia

  28. Sweden

  29. Switzerland

  30. Syria

  31. Turkey

  32. Ukraine

  33. Yugoslavia

If you have an Ancestry.com membership you can see the tree at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/82309145/.

2016-09-02: Wooden Box Found - Thank You!

On Aug 1, 2015 we posted an announcement about a wooden box.

In an effort to find out which C123rd Marine it had belonged to, a tree at Ancestry.com was started to look for records and clues. It was the only way to try to figure out where they enlisted, find them in census records or phone directories, etc., and other databases that would give us a clue as to where they were from when they enlisted.

Sadly, a year later after all 862 Marines had been entered and researched, we still don’t know which one the box was made by.

We would like to thank the person who now has the box for being the inspiration for research project that led to the tree on Ancestry.com. We believe that it will be a helpful repository for anyone researching, some of whom may not even know that their relative was a Marine in WWII.

If you’re an Ancestry.com member you can find the tree at this link: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/82309145/.

2016-08-29: C123rd Master Roster has been updated

We've updated the C123rd Master Roster with the information as we know it. You can view the Master Roster at here: Master Roster

2016-08-29: The Passing of Russell Leroy Dahl

Russell L. Dahl, 89, of Duluth passed away in his home unexpectedly Thursday, May 28, 2015. Russ was born on May 19, 1926, to Charles and Marie (Bergen) Dahl in Duluth.

Click here to read his obituary.

2016-04-26: The 4th Marine Division Association Final Muster

4th Marine Division Association Final Muster

was held on August 3rd thru 7th, 2015 at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina

The DVD of the Final Muster has been completed and available for sale by Jay Julian of Veterans Video Biography. http://www.veteransvideobiography.com

To purchase a copy, email Jay at jay5644@comcast.net or phone (610) 547-6032. The DVD is broadcast quality and covers the entire weeks events.

A Tribute to the WWII Marine click the link to find out about a special program honoring World War II Marines


A new publication, "D-Day in the Pacific" by Harold J. Goldberg, Professor of History, University of the South, is now available. The book covers the battle for Saipan and is available from Indiana University Press for $29.95. Click here to order.

A Tribute to the World War II Marine

The Marine Corps University Research Archives extends a special invitation to members of the Fighting Fourth.

Many Marines attended the World War II Memorial dedication the weekend of May 28-31, 2004. In conjunction with this important event, the Research Archives honored World War II Marine Corps veterans with an exciting program and would like to invite you to participate

The below link will enable you to click and receive the invitation, register for the exciting programs and RSVP. Click here for their website. The program will consist of audiovisual presentations of Marine Corps battles in the Pacific to include combat motion picture footage, still photography, oral histories, map and personal papers from the conflict

In addition, we will be conducting tours of the Research Archives as well as Oral Histories for those veterans who would like their story told. The program is free of charge and open to all Marine veterans and their families.

The Research Archives looks forward to working with you on this upcoming program for our Marines.

2016-04-26: The Passing of Ernest Dobronte

Ernest Dobronte HAMILTON - Ernest Dobronte, 88, of Hamilton, passed away peacefully Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, at Compassionate Care Hospice, Trenton, NJ. Born in Trenton, Ernest was a lifelong Hamilton resident. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. Ernest proudly served his country during World War II as a pharmacist's mate second class with the 4th U.S. Marine Division. He served in Iwo Jima, Sai Pan, Tinian and Marshall Islands and Roi Namur. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Gold Star, Silver Star, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with three stars, and two Presidential Unit Citations. In 1993, Ernest was the recipient of the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, honoring those who faithfully served our country. He was a member of the VFW Post 3525, the American Legion Post 31, 4th U.S. Marine Division Association, and the Marine Corps League. He was also co-owner of the Yardville Hotel and Restaurant from 1958 to 1975. Ernest retired in 1988, after 13 years with Hamilton Township Buildings and Grounds. Son of the late John and Rose Dobronte; husband of the late Audrey M. (Tilton) Dobronte; father of the late Steve Butcher, he was predeceased by nine siblings. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Ernest G. and Grace Dobronte of Mount Laurel, NJ; three daughters and sons-in-law, Marsha and David Pieretti of Yardville, NJ, Leslie and Roy Coderoni of Allentown, NJ, and Audrey and Jim Hartman of Hamilton, NJ; his sister, Ethel Mealy; his daughter-in-law, Darlene Butcher; his sister-in-law, Sylvia Dobronte; 12 grandchildren, Dawn, Nikki, Shane, Tara, Alicia, Kaya, Dana, Marcey, Craig, Stacy, Darryl and Duane; 16 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends may call on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Huber-Moore Funeral Home, 517 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ, (609) 298-0330. Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Interment with full military honors will be held at the Brig. Gen. Wm. C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Arneytown, NJ. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ernest's memory to the Wounded Warriors Project, 1120 G St. N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005.

Read more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/trenton/obituary.aspx?pid=167010325#sthash.mKeOaW28.dpuf

2016-04-26: WWII Iwo Jima veteran from Botetourt County to speak at Rescue Mission on May 19

Reposting from http://www.roanoke.com/community/swoco/wwii-iwo-jima-veteran-from-botetourt-county-to-speak-at/article_675b06b0-4340-5ee5-b437-237e48fa8709.html

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 8:00 am

“The Japanese let us get ashore and we thought ‘this is going to be a cakewalk.’ We were on the beach two hours before all hell broke loose.”

As Memorial Day approaches, Carlos Showalter will share his experiences of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest South Pacific battles of World War II, during the Rescue Mission’s chapel services on Tuesday, May 19.

Showalter was an 18-year-old line sergeant with Marine Company C-1-23, which suffered a 94 percent casualty rate at Iwo Jima. When it was all over, “We only had 16 men who were non-casualties,” said Showalter. “By the grace of God, I was one of them.”

Feb. 19 marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Marine landing on the beach at Iwo Jima, a tiny volcanic island that the Japanese were using as an airbase. Seven thousand Marines lost their lives during the five weeks of fighting. Showalter said his Charlie Company lost 67 who were either wounded or killed on the first day.

Showalter spent four years in the military and has dedicated an entire room of his historic Botetourt County farmhouse to paying homage to the U.S. Marines, and especially Charlie Company. He recalls numbers of casualties and faces and names of fallen comrades as if the battles in which they fought had happened yesterday.

Now a retired salesman who will turn 90 years old Memorial Day weekend, Showalter has three children, five grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. He has spent much of his life traveling on mission trips to more than 40 countries with his pastor at Roanoke’s Shenandoah Baptist Church.

“I always thought about the Gold Star families that sent a son off to war and that son didn’t come back. And that family doesn’t have grandchildren,” he said. “It’s important that we remember.”

Showalter and others from Shenandoah Baptist will be leading chapel services on the 19th. Women’s chapel begins at 6:30, and men’s chapel is at 7:45.

For more information about the Rescue Mission, visit www.rescuemission.net, or call 343-7227.

Submitted by Tracy Altizer

2016-04-16: The Passing of Harvie Franks

Harvey Hirschell Franks, 90, of Berryville, Virginia, died Saturday, May 23, 2015 in Winchester, Virginia.

Mr. Franks was born July 23, 1924 in Toms Creek, Virginia, the son of the late James Hardwick Franks and Ida Elizabeth Counts Franks.

He was a quality inspector for General Motors in Flint, Michigan. He retired in 1987.

He served in the U. S. Marine Corps during WWII.

He married Bonnie Vernell Call Franks on October 27, 1946 in Richlands, Virginia.

Surviving with his wife are a son, James H. Franks, of Herndon, VA; two daughters, Dolores Elaine McVety of Princeton, IL and Pamela Lynn Seifert of San Marino, CA; a brother, J. C. Franks, of Marion, VA; and nine grandchildren, Rachael Halter, Christina Rowe, Joshua Seifert, Amanda McVety, Jacob Franks, Jessica Seifert, Jason Franks, Megan Franks Plenge, and Caitlan Franks.

A son, Larry Wayne Franks, preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be held 10:00 A. M. Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at the Shenandoah Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel, Frederick County with Rev. Bruce McVety officiating. Entombment will follow with military honors provided by the Clarke County Honor Guard.

The family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 P. M. Monday evening at the Enders & Shirley Funeral Home, Berryville.

Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 W. Cork St., Winchester, VA 22601.

Source: http://www.endersandshirley.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=1588269

2015-09-09: Camp Lejeune Globe: ‘Fighting Fourth’ gathers for muster

World War II veterans with the 4th Marine Division Association assemble for a deactivation ceremony at Liversedge Field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune as part of their final muster Aug. 6. Maj. Gen. Paul W. Brier, 4th Marine Division commanding general, was the guest of honor. The Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and the 2nd Marine Division Band were the ceremonial units rendering honors to the association on the parade field. Elmer Dapron, the association’s national president, presided over the retiring of the unit’s colors.

See more: http://www.camplejeuneglobe.com/news/fighting-fourth-gathers-for-muster/article_74349f62-4119-11e5-86b9-037319679c07.html?mode=image

Pictures from the 4th Marine Division Association - Final Muster: http://www.lejeune.marines.mil/Photos/4thMarineDivisionAssociation.aspx

2015-08-01: Wooden Box Found - Information Sought

The webmaster at C123rd.com was recently contact by a person who had purchased a wooden box on the internet with C Company 1st Battalion 23rd Marines 4th Marine Division burned on it. It also has Spokane 1943 burned on the side. We're going through our records trying to figure out who it might be as the person is hoping we would be able to find the name or maybe even a picture of the man who this box belonged to. They'd love to be able to put a name and face with it and give this Marine the honor he deserves.

If you have any information about the box or similar boxes, please email us at c123rd.com@gmail.com. Thank you.

2015-04-25: The Passing of Orvel E. Johnson

Orvel E. Johnson, age 91, of Cambridge passed away on April 4, 2015 at St. Clare Living Community in Mora.

Orvel Emil Johnson was born March 12, 1924 in Barrett, Minnesota to Carl M. and Mathilda (Brandvold) Johnson. Orvel served his country proudly in the US Marine Corps during WWII and was honorably discharged in October 1945. He earned a purple heart for his service after being injured in the line of duty. Two months later he married Myrtle E. Doehling at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church in St. Paul. They resided in St. Paul and Orvel attended business college with the Veteran’s GI Bill. He started working as a bookkeeper and was promoted to several positions in many departments for the State of Minnesota over the years. They had three children: Bonnie, Scott and Kathryn. They were married for 49 years when Myrtle passed away in 1994.

He worked for the State of Minnesota Liquor Control Commission and the Federal Government for Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington D.C. for many years.

He was a member of the Swedish Male Chorus, Masonic Lodge, VFW and the American Legion. He was Senior Volunteer of the Year in 2003 and spent many hours volunteering.

Orvel had a zest for life, and knew how to entertain an entire room with his songs, stories and his personality. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

Orvel will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Bonnie (Robert) Jobe, son, Ronald Scott Johnson and daughter, Kathryn (Rob) Stone; brother, Earl (Peggy) Johnson; grandchildren; Alissa (John) Edstrom, Jennifer (David) Henthorn, Robert Johnson, Ronald Johnson, Raelynn Johnson, Christopher (Meagan) Stone and Samantha Stone; great-grandchildren, Bailey Peterson Ford, Brooke Ford, Gabrielle Ford, John Henthorn and Addyson Henthorn; great great-grandchildren, Audriana Rodman and Braven Taylor; his special friend, LaVerne Kohn and many nieces, nephews, family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl Johnson and Mathilda (Brandvold) Johnson Solee, step-father, Randolph Solee; his wife of 49 years, Myrtle (Doehling) Johnson, second wife, Betty (Fabio) Johnson and his great-granddaughter, Savanna Kasey Raye Ford.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 11th at the Cambridge Lutheran Church. A time of visitation and reviewal will be held one hour prior to the service also at the church. There will be a private family interment following the service in the Union Cemetery of Maplewood, Minnesota. Online condolences can be made at www.strikefuneral.com.

More at: http://isanticountynews.com/2015/04/06/orvel-e-johnson/

2015-04-15: The Passing of Samuel David Utley

Utley, Samuel At the age of 93 passed away peacefully at his Orlando, Fl. home on November 11, 2014. He was born in Buckner, Il. and served in the Marine Corp. during WWII. He worked for Martin Marietta for 37 years. He loved to play golf, travel and grow orchids. His memory will be cherished by his loving wife Mary Patricia of 67 years, his son John, grandchildren Jonathan, Jennifer McMullen and his great-grandchildren Brady and Cole McMullen. Services will held at the Robert Bryant Funeral Home on Wednesday, November 18 at 7 pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the SPCA in memory of Ginger, his beloved K-9 companion.

More at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/orlandosentinel/obituary.aspx?n=samuel-utley&pid=173161713&fhid=10334#sthash.YebSiyPL.dpuf

2013-12-17: Request for Information from Lance Reeves for the 70th Anniversary of Saipan

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Lance Reeves, and I work for the Marianas Variety Newspaper in Saipan. I am also on the committee in charge of the 70th Anniversary of Saipan, which will be coming up in June 2014.

I have been given the task of creating a website, which will be the main source of information for the Anniversary, and one of my ideas for it is to have veterans who served on Saipan share their experiences while serving here.

I feel that the best way to understand what had happened here is to hear it form the veterans themselves, and would like to feature a page which people would be able to read their stories and learn more about this battle.

If it is at all possible to send this message on to those who served in Saipan, I would be very thankful. My email is lance.reeves@mvariety.com

God Bless,

Lance M Reeves

2013-02-16: The Passing of Steve Biondo

Steve Biondo , 1924-2012

Joined C Company 6 Aug 1945

In January Steve’s son Mark sent me this note.

Mr. Johnson, I am Mark Biondo, Steve’s son. It pains me to have to inform you that my Dad passed away suddenly from a massive stroke on Sept. 2, 2012. I took care of him ever since my Mom passed away in May 2010. He missed her so very much that it had a bad affect on him. At least he did not suffer too badly and is now in Heaven with Mom.

My dad never talked much about WWII, unless I asked him. From what I recall he went to boot camp at Camp LeJeune, then went to San Diego, then boarded a ship and went to the Solomon Islands, Bougainville, and Guadalcanal during the war. He was a Corporal when he was honorably discharged.

I’m still feeling the pain of his passing, very depressing 24/7. With the help from God and some time, I’m hoping I will be able to smile again.

You take care and may God bless you.

Respectfully – Mark

BIONDO, STEVE, whose parents were among the pioneer families of Homestead, passed away on Sunday, September 2, 2012. Steve spent his entire life in Homestead. He was 87 years old, having been born on November 11, 1924. Steve, his 4 brothers and 2 sisters all grew up in what was then known as the Little Italy section of Homestead. Steve was a veteran of World War II. He saw action with the United States Marine Corps 4th Division in the Pacific theater of the war. Following his honorable discharge, Steve returned to Homestead and made his career in the agriculture business. He was well respected and made many friends. As an athlete, Steve was a member of a State Champion basketball team with Homestead High School. He also was a member of the Homestead All-Stars fast-pitch softball team. Managed by Fred Rhodes, the All-Stars won a State Championship in 1959.

Steve married the love of his life, Leila Claggett, on September 5, 1948. Steve and Leila were married for over 61 years, until Leila's passing on May 17, 2010. Steve is survived by his sons, Mike (Debra), Mark, Jim (Colleen), his grandchildren, Jamie, J.P., Ryan, Katrina and Eric, and his great-grandchildren, Ashley, Ryan Jr., and Rhett James. He will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends. A memorial service was held on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM at the First Baptist Church of Homestead, where Steve was a charter member. The church is located at 29050 SW 177th Avenue, Homestead, FL 33030. Arrangements have been made by Funeral Consulting Services, Nicholas R. Sincore, Funeral Director. In lieu of flowers, donations in Steve's memory can be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars, online at http://www.vfw.org or by mail to VFW National Headquarters, 406 W. 34th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 (816-756-3390).

Published in Miami Herald on September 6, 2012

Read more here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/herald/obituary.aspx?pid=159681159#fbLoggedOut#storylink=cpy

2012-11-11: Happy Veterans Day

We at C123rd.com would like to say Happy Veterans Day to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our great country. We thank you for your service.

2012-11-10: Happy 237th Birthday USMC

We would like to wish all of our Marines a very Happy 237th Birthday. We thank you for your service. Semper Fi!

2012-07-04: Website Updates

We have added many new pictures, albums, and pages. We hope that you enjoy the additions.

We are always looking for more pictures, articles, letters, memories, and the like. If you have anything you would like to contribute to our growing library, please contact us at webmaster@c123rd.com.

2012-06-14: The Passing of Guy Rowe

We are sad to announce that Guy Rowe passed away this morning, 14 June 2012. The funeral is set for Saturday June 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM at the Community United Methodist Church, 9225 Jason Ave. NE (Cty. Rd. 18) in Monticello, MN 55362.

Click here to learn more about Guy and his C123rd experience on his C123rd.com page.

2012-02-06: The Passing of Rod Rodriguez

It is with deep sadness that we must announce the passing of Arthur W. "Rod" Rodriguez. Rod, like many of our C123rd Marines, had a fascinating, diverse, and exciting life. We invite you to read more about Rod our his dedicated C123rd.com profile page, click here.

2011-10-17: The Passing of Gale Abbott

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that our father, Gale Abbott, passed away peacefully October 17th at the Hadlow Hospice Center in Jacksonville, FL. Mom and sister Nancy were with him at the time of death.

On June 28 was moved to the Hospice at Mayo Clinic and informed that he had 10 days to two weeks to live. After nearly a month at that hospice center, he was sent home for home hospice care on July 27. He remained at home until last Monday when he was taken to Hadlow Center. He fought valiantly, but kidney failure took its toll. We were blessed to have dad with us for nearly four months after the initial diagnosis, and during that time were able to celebrate his 94th birthday. He passed away this morning just one week short of his and mom's 69th wedding anniversary.

My mom can be reached by mail at:

Gail Abbott

2245 Brentwood Rd. W

Jacksonville, FL 32225

No services are planned at this time.

  • Bob, Bill, and Nancy Abbott

Click here to learn more about Gale Abbott on his C123rd.com profile page.

2010-06-04: The Passing of Rowland Lewis

Dear Friends,

As Rowland would say it, "It is my sad duty to report that..." Rowland Lewis himself passed away this morning. Keiko and their son, Paul visited him last night in the nursing home, and he was alert enough to enjoy a "light-hearted" visit with them, as Kay put it. Then she received the call this morning that he had passed.

She is meeting tonight to make funeral arrangements, and when we hear back from her, either Jo or I will send the information on to you in case you need it. Since we don't have everyone's email address, if you wish to contact anyone else in the association and don't see their name listed in the "To" list of this email, please feel free to do so.

There is no way to tell you how much I and my family respected him for his military contributions, his selfless research and work on the C-1-23 website, as well as his friendship with my Dad, John Seymour, and the rest of the association. We have indeed encountered a deep loss.


Joline (Seymour) Doersam

Click here to learn more about Rowland Lewis on his C123rd.com profile page.