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Memorial Names







Plaque : Wall 3, Row B, Col 5

Hello, My name is William Bill Plummer. This is a short biography on my experience in World War II as a Marine. I was born on September 3, 1922 in Canton, Ohio to Franklin and Hila Plummer. I joined the Marines on June 17, 1941. After I joined the Marines, I was sent to Paris Island, South Carolina. Naturally, when I got there and met a sergeant and he said that we were the worst bunch of recruits he has ever seen! What did I get myself into? After training, I was reassigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yards. I started guard duty with the Marine Police, aka MP. It was shortly after that, December 7th, 1941 the Japanese attached Pearl Harbor. I was then sent with others to guard a radio station in New Jersey. After that, I was sent back to the Philadelphia Navy Yards as a prison guard and prisoner chaser. I had that duty for about three months when I requested a transfer. The major asked what I wanted and I said, Sir, I would like to request a transfer to the Fleet Marine Force. I came into the Marines to fight! He granted my request. I was transferred into the newly formed 3rd Marine Division, 21st regiment, 3rd battalion headquarters company. I started in the communications center where I learned to use the code machine. The 21st regiment was building up and we started training as a unit. The regiment then moved to Miramar, California, about 30 miles. I boarded a ship and was sent to Auckland, New Zealand. I trained more, then was sent to Guadalcanal which was a stepping stone to another island. I then boarded a destroyer that was converted into a troop carrier, USS McKean and headed towards Bougainville. We were attacked by a number of Japanese aircraft. Then, the McKean took a torpedo hit from a plane mid ship. That was where the ammunition was stored. I was knocked down by the force of the explosion with fire everywhere. The next thing I knew everybody was abandoning ship. I looked over the rail and the water was on fire! I just jumped in and swam away from the ship as fast as possible avoiding the fires for I did not want to be sucked down by the ship. We proceeded to higher ground to Helzapoppin Ridge. We took the ridge. We were then sent back to Guadalcanal to train for another mission. Guam was the next mission but was delayed because of the difficult time they were having in Saipan. We were held in reserve for three weeks then attacked Guam while the whole time being attacked by Japanese Zeros. I received shrapnel from grenades. After we took Guam, the next stop was Iwo Jima. When we arrived at Iwo Jima, our battleships, destroyers and cruisers were all shelling the island. They had been there for weeks pounding the beach and Japanese pillboxes relentlessly. We then rushed the beaches. The 4th and 5th division was first. They took heavy casualties. We were next. There were so many troops on that beach, every time Japanese artillery hit, at least five guys were killed. My regiments objective was the airfield number 2. We were happy to get off that beach! There was extremely fierce fighting as the Japanese did not want to give up that island! I was on the island for over twenty days and saw the first B29 come back from Japanese airspace, crippled by Japanese planes land at the airfield. I was also still on the island when the flag went up on Mount Surabachi. I was glad to see that for the enemy was shooting at us from there. I was on that island for almost thirty days and it was the worst place I have ever been. I just wanted to forget about the place. If hell is a rotten place, this island tops it! I was then shipped back to the US and completed my hitch in Cape May, New Jersey as a sergeant and was honorably discharged on September 12, 1945. Once a Marine, Always a Marine. SEMPER FI -Bill Plummer






Theatre of Operation


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