Tag Archives: 3rd Marine Division

Private First Class Frank P. Witek, USMCR (August 3, 1944)

Frank Peter Witek was born on December 10, 1921 in Derby, Connecticut. He moved as a child with his family to Chicago, Illinois, and it was from there that he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on January 20, 1942.

After training, Witek was assigned to the active Marine Corps as an automatic rifleman armed with an M1918 BAR with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment as a component of the 3rd Marine Division. He fought with 1/9 on Bougainville, and then landed with them on Guam on July 21, 1944.

Continue reading Private First Class Frank P. Witek, USMCR (August 3, 1944)


Captain Louis H. Wilson, Jr., USMC (July 25-26, 1944)

Louis Hugh Wilson, Jr. was born in Brandon, Mississippi on February 11, 1920. He graduated from Millsaps College (Jackson, MS) with the class of 1941 and immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Wilson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in November of 1941, and at some point in his early service his commission became with the regular Marine Corps. After his initial officer training, he was assigned to the 9th Marine Regiment at San Diego which was being formed between 1942 and 1943 for combat in the Pacific as part of the 3rd Marine Division.

Continue reading Captain Louis H. Wilson, Jr., USMC (July 25-26, 1944)


Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, USMC (July 22, 1944)

Leonard Foster Mason was born on February 22, 1920 in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in April of 1943, and became a rifleman with the 3rd Marine Division‘s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Mason landed with 2/3 Marines on Guam, July 21, 1944.

Continue reading Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, USMC (July 22, 1944)


Private First Class Luther Skaggs, Jr., USMCR (July 21-22, 1944)

Luther Skaggs, Jr. was born in Henderson, Kentucky on March 3, 1923. He volunteered for the United States Marine Corps Reserve on October 6, 1942. After his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina he was placed with the active Marine Corps in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

3/3 Marines, as part of the 3rd Marine Division, stormed ashore during the opening phases of the Battle of Guam, the largest of the Marianas Islands, on July 21, 1944.

Continue reading Private First Class Luther Skaggs, Jr., USMCR (July 21-22, 1944)


TFH 1/30 Part 1: Staff Sergeant Jesse R. Drowley, USA

Jesse Ray Drowley was born on September 9, 1919 in St. Charles, Michigan. His family moved often as he was growing up, and he was living in Spokane, Washington when he enlisted or was drafted into the United States Army (extensive searches don’t turn up his enlistment record!).

Drowley was assigned as an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 132nd Infantry Regiment as part of the Americal Division. The Americal was unique in World War II as it carried a name and not a numerical designation. The division got its name from “American, New Caledonia“, the South Pacific island on which the unit was provisionally formed for defense in May 1942. While officially known later as the 23rd Infantry Division, the Americal name stuck.

Continue reading TFH 1/30 Part 1: Staff Sergeant Jesse R. Drowley, USA


TFH 11/20-22 Part 2: Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC

David Monroe Shoup was born on December 30, 1904 in an Indiana town whose name portended his future: Battle Ground. His family was poor, and after graduating from high school in 1921, he was able to attend DePauw University thanks only to a scholarship. While at DePauw, he joined the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps to earn extra money for living expenses.

Shoup graduated from DePauw and received a commission in the Army Reserve as a Second Lieutenant in 1926. Around that time, he had seen United States Marine Corps Major General John A. Lejeune, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, speak and offer opportunities and positions with the Corps for officer candidates. Shoup applied for transfer to the Marines, was accepted, and began serving with them on August 26, 1926.

He served two tours of duty overseas in China druing 1927-28 and in 1934. In between them, he was assigned to the Marine detachment aboard the battleship USS get more Maryland (BB-46) from 1929-31.

In May 1941, Shoup arrived in Iceland as part of a provisional Marine brigade sent there to deter a possible Nazi German attack on the strategically located island in the Atlantic. He was there on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States was plunged into World War II.

He would soon leave Iceland for the United States and California, and from there, to war in the Pacific with the rest of his Corps. Continue reading TFH 11/20-22 Part 2: Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC


TFH 2/9: Lance Corporal William R. Prom, USMC

Operation TAYLOR COMMON was launched by elements of the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam on December 6, 1968 against the North Vietnamese Army in the An Hoa Basin. They were reinforced by Leathernecks from the 3rd Marine Division as well. One of the Marines was William Prom, born November 17, 1948, and who hailed from my adopted home town of Pittsburgh, PA.

On this day in 1969, Lance Corporal Prom’s unit was ambushed by the NVA as they returned from a reconnaissance mission. Prom, leading a machine gun team, realized that without quick and decisive action the enemy would carry the day. His resolve and courage did not falter, and for his heroism, he was decorated with our Nation’s highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (M-Z):

i want to order clomid *PROM, WILLIAM R.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company 1, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam. 9 February 1969. Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pa. Born: 17 November 1948, Pittsburgh, Pa. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machinegun squad leader with Company 1, in action against the enemy. While returning from a reconnaissance operation during Operation TAYLOR COMMON, 2 platoons of Company 1 came under an intense automatic weapons fire and grenade attack from a well concealed North Vietnamese Army force in fortified positions. The leading. element of the platoon was isolated and several marines were wounded. L/Cpl. Prom immediately assumed control of 1 of his machineguns and began to deliver return fire. Disregarding his safety he advanced to a position from which he could more effectively deliver covering fire while first aid was administered to the wounded men. Realizing that the enemy would have to be destroyed before the injured marines could be evacuated, L/Cpl. Prom again moved forward and delivered a heavy volume of fire with such accuracy that he was instrumental in routing the enemy, thus permitting his men to regroup and resume their march. Shortly thereafter, the platoon again came under heavy fire in which 1 man was critically wounded. Reacting instantly, L/Cpl. Prom moved forward to protect his injured comrade. Unable to continue his fire because of his severe wounds, he continued to advance to within a few yards to the enemy positions. There, standing in full view of the enemy, he accurately directed the fire of his support elements until he was mortally wounded. Inspired by his heroic actions, the marines launched an assault that destroyed the enemy. L/Cpl. Prom’s indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. 
Today, the 1st Marine Division is the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines still serves with the 3rd Marine Division as part of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.
William Raymond Prom rests not far from my home in Allegheny Memorial Park, Allison Park, PA. This upcoming Memorial Day, I’m going to make it a point to visit his grave in honor and thanksgiving for the life and courage of this great American. He appears on Panel 32W, Line 2 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.