Cerro Gordo County

Cpl. Joseph B. Amos




Marine Amos Killed in Action
On Iwo Jima Island, March 7
“Glad to Be Alive,” He had Written
From Island on March 1.

Marine Cpl. Joseph B. Amos, 31, whose wife and 2 children, Kathryn and John, live with her parents,  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Laughlin, at 404 Adams N.W., was killed in action on Iwo Jima on March 7, according to a telegram received from the War Department Tuesday.

“Deeply regret to inform you that your husband, Cpl. Joseph B. Amos, USMCR, was killed in action on March 7 at Iwo Jima volcano islands in the performance of his duty and service of his country.  When information is received regarding his burial you will be notified,” the message read.

On March 1, Cpl. Amos had written from his foxhole on the island that he was plenty thankful to be alive and that at one time a Jap sniper shot his canteen right off his cartridge belt.  He had made the assault landing on Iwo Jima with the 5th Marine Division.

Cpl. Amos was graduated from the Mason City high school and enlisted in the U.S. Marines, Nov. 23, 1943.  He recently did training at San Diego and Pendleton, Oceanside, Cal., going overseas some time during the last part of July.

Besides his wife and children, he is survived by his father, E. H. Johnson, Des Moines; brother, Max B. Amos, with the Navy in the South Pacific.

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, March 29, 1945 (photo included)

“The Prince of Peace Must Reign,” Murphy.

“We are not going to build a nation of prosperity by giving our boys military training—we must realize that if we build security, it must be laying down the law of God and once more re-establishing the Christian home,” said Father R. P. Murphy at memorial services at the Holy Family Church Thursday morning for Marine Cpl. Joseph B. Amos, killed in action on Iwo Jima on March 7.

Solemn requiem high mass was said with Father Murphy celebrant assisted by the Rev. Robert Swift as deacon and the Rev. Mr. John Quinn, newly ordained from St. Mary’s seminary at Baltimore, Md., as sub-deacon.

“Let us once more be called a Christian nation,” said Father Murphy.  “Let not these lives by cut off heedlessly…Unless the Price of Peace reigns at the peace table, hate will go out among the nations and there will be a repetition of what is going on now.  That is the voice of these boys and is what they would say if they stood here in my place and spoke to you,” he said.

Marine Cpl. Amos was born Jan. 1, 1914, at Burchinal, and was graduated fro the Mason City high school.  He enlisted in the Marines on Nov. 23, 1943, and had been overseas since last July.  He is survived by his wife and 2 children at 404 Adams N.W.; his father, E. H. Johnson, Des Moines; and a brother, Max, with the Navy in the South Pacific.

The Meyer funeral home was in charge of the services.

Source: Mason City Globe Gazette, April 5, 1945

In Presentation of Tokens
At Memorial Service


Pictured here are the next of kin of servicemen honored at the 9th joint public memorial service held at Music hall Sunday afternoon. They were present to receive the U. S. burial flags and Gold Star citation scrolls presented by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Rev. Paul Peterson of the Wesley Methodist church gave the eulogy.

Lt. Col. Arthur T. Lobdell of the 7th service command was in attendance to present the bronze star medal to Mrs. John J. Vician, a posthumous award for her husband, Capt. Vician.

Left to right are: Mrs. Viola Cox, wife of Warren H. Cox; Mrs. Frances Amos, wife of J. B. Amos, with children John and Judy; Miss Marjorie Horrman, sister of Richard Horrman; Mrs. Vician and Judy; Lt. Col. Arthur T. Lobdell; Mrs. Elizabeth Polacek, mother of Capt. Vician; Mrs. August Horrman and Mr. Horrman, parents of Richard; and Mrs. Gilbert, mother of Nolan M. Gilbert.

Not pictured, but present to receive the flag was Mrs. Madeline Bracklein, mother of William C. Bracklein.

Mr. Peterson centered his talk around 2 lines of verse from Emerson:

“’Tis man’s perdition to be safe
When for the truth he ought to die.”

“I didn’t know any of these 5 boys personally,” said Mr. Peterson, “but I venture that 2 things dominated them: They didn’t want safety, and for the truth of a world democracy they were willing ‘to give’ their lives. Three things made them heroes: They didn’t play safe; they died for a cause; and they have their immortality . . . that which motivated their lives, lives on.”

Councilman Adrian Hart, in the absence of Mayor Howard E. Bruce, who was unable to be present, read a letter of condolence from the city. It said in part: “It is only fitting that we this day dedicate our lives to comforting and aiding their loved ones, and strive to the utmost to establish a lasting peace – for the future generations – this a tribute to our departed members.”

Mrs. Carl H. Carlson played “Largo” by Handel at the opening of the program. Mrs. Peterson sang “Prayer” by Guion and “There Is No Death” by O’Hara, with Mrs. Carlson accompanying.

The honor guard at the soldier’s shrine and the firing squad were from Company E of the state guard under the command of Capt. Leslie R. Whipple, Participating were 2nd Lt. George C. Mathews, T/Sgt. Dale E. Hyde, T/Sgt. William Cooper, S/Sgt. Carol Schultz, Sgt. Ralph D. Rowley, Cpl. Resser Adams, T/5 Terold T. Tilton, Pfc. Robert Patton, Pvt. Constantine Kregotis and Pvt. J. H. Niederheiser. Bill Nicholas played taps.

The program was under the direction of the American Legion and the V. F. W. with Nick Degen, commander of the V. F. W., presiding. All patriotic organizations participated with their colors. (Lock photo, Kayenay engraving.)

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, April 30, 1945, Page 11

After Amos was killed, Secretary of the Navy James Forretal wrote to the family, describing him as a leader who fearlessly exposed himself to enemy gunfire, fought ferociously in hand-to-hand combat and courageously led his men up the enemy flank until he was fatally wounded.
Amos died March 7, 1945, at age 31. He was buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, and his body was later moved to a military cemetery in Hawaii known as the Punchbowl [Honolulu Memorial Cemetery, Plot M; Grave 6].
His son, John Amos has never stood beside his father's grave, and cannot remember his father's face. But John Amos understands as few can that freedom is not free.

Iwo Jima facts:
Iwo Jima, about 650 miles south of Tokyo, is a volcanic island only two miles wide and four miles long.

It was the first native Japanese soil invaded by U.S. solders in World War II.

The battle for Iwo Jima lasted nearly a month - from Feb. 19 to March 16, 1945, and included about 60,000 U.S. troops and 20,000 Japanese.

The U.S. flag was raised on Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, the fifth day of battle. Three of the Marines in Joe Rosenthal's famous photo later died in battle.

About 6,800 U.S. soldiers were killed in action and there were more than 20,000 casualties.

About one-third of all Marines killed in action in World War II were killed at Iwo Jima, the battle with the most casualties in Marine Corps history.

Twenty-seven Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to soldiers fighting on Iwo Jima.

The U.S. government returned the island of Iwo Jima to the Japanese government in 1968 after the bodies of the men in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Division cemeteries were moved to the United States.

Source: A portion of an article in The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, November 11, 2003

Beneficiary's Application - WWII Service Compensation

Source: ancestry.com

Joseph Burton ‘Joe’ Amos was born Jan. 1, 1914 to Virgil B. and Jennie May Rowe Amos (Johnson). He died Mar. 7, 1945 and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. He was initially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima. He also has a commemorative headstone in Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City, IA.

Cpl. Amos landed on Iwo Jima Feb. 20, 1945 and participated in combat operations until he was KIA Mar. 4, 1945. He was awarded (posthumously) the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action. He was also awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and two campaign medals. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for participating as a member of the Assault Troops of the 5th Amphibious Corps in the initial assault and subsequent seizure of Iwo Jima.

Sources: “Ordinary Heroes”, by Judge Newt Draheim, Chapter 22; ancestry.com