Hardin County

Pvt. Wallace W. Marsh





Marine Was Veteran of Pacific Battles

Iowa Falls -- Pvt. Wallace Marsh was killed in action on Iwo Jima Feb. 28, according to a message received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Marsh, this week.

He enlisted in the marines in the spring of 1941, and was stationed in Cuba for a number of months. He participated in the capture of the Marshall Islands and Saipan.

He was awarded the purple heart for wounds at Saipan. While he was asleep in a foxhole one night he was attacked by a Jap who inflicted knife wounds. The Jap was killed by other marines, and Pvt. Marsh spend several months convalescing in a rest camp in the Hawaiian Islands.

The last letter from Pvt. Marsh informed his parents that he was on his way to combat again.

Source: Unknown newspaper source & date


Officer Presented Silver Star to Iowa Falls Couple

Iowa Falls -- Pfc. Wallace Wesley Marsh, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy H. Marsh, has been awarded the silver star posthumously "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a rifleman while in service with A company, 1st battalion of the 25th marines, 4th division in action, against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano islands, Feb. 28.

The citation continues:

"During the assault on the high ground heavy Japanese fire had halted the advance of the marines and Pvt. Marsh spotted a Japanese machine gun about 75 years ahead of our forces. The machine gun seemed to be the center of the enemy's fire power, and Pvt. Marsh, disregarding a serious shrapnel wound in his right arm, advance single-handed on the enemy position.

"While advancing through enemy fire his gun jammed, but he continued his assault with hand grenades until he was fatally wounded."

Pvt. Marsh enlisted in the U.S. marines reserve in the spring of 1941. He was in Cuba 19 months before going to the Pacific. He served in 4 battles including the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. While on Saipan he was attacked by a Japanese while in his foxhole and he was awarded the purple heart for wounds received.

For wounds received while on Iwo Jima he was awarded posthumously a star in place of a 2nd purple heart medal. The silver star was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Marsh by Capt. Jack Munday of Des Moines.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, June 20, 1946 (photo included)

Wallace Wesley ‘Wally’ Marsh was born Sept. 17, 1921 to Roy H. and M. Marie Marsh. He died Feb. 28, 1945 and is buried in Union Cemetery, Iowa Falls, IA. He was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Iowa Jima and returned to the U.S. for permanent burial in 1948.

Cpl. Marsh served with the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II and landed Jan. 19, 1945 on Blue Beach Iwo Jima D-Day and participated in combat operations until KIA. He had previously been wounded in action on Saipan on July 9, 1944. He was awarded the Silver Star (posthumously). He was also awarded two Purple Hearts, a Pacific Campaign Medal, a Unit Citation and an American Campaign Medal.

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private First Class Wallace Wesley Marsh (MCSN: 308514), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Rifleman while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Twenty-Fifth Marines, FOURTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 28 February 1945. During an assault upon high ground from which the enemy was inflicting heavy casualties and impeding the advance of his company, Private First Class Marsh detected a strategic Japanese machine-gun position some distance directly to the front and, disregarding a serious shrapnel wound in his right arm, advanced through intensive enemy mortar, machine-gun and small-arms fire to launch a single-handed assault on the stronghold. Although his weapon jammed, he pressed on to his target, throwing hand grenades as he advanced until fatally wounded. His aggressive initiative, determined fighting spirit and outstanding devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Marsh and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.General Orders: Commander in Chief, Pacific: Serial 34887 (September 13, 1945)

Sources: “Ordinary Heroes”, by Judge Newt Draheim, Chapter 23; ancestry.com