Robert Lee Wilson was born to a farming family in Centralia, Illinois on May 21, 1920. He was working with his father on the farm when he decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on September 9, 1941.
Joseph William Ozbourn was born on October 24, 1919 in Herrin, Illinois. At the outset of World War II, he was working as a coal miner and was not subject to being drafted as that was considered a war-essential occupation. Nonetheless, he felt the call to bear arms and volunteered for the United States Marine Corps on October 30, 1943.
Merritt Austin Edson was born in Rutland, Vermont on April 25, 1897 and grew up in nearby Chester, Vermont. He received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in October of 1917. He went to France with the 11th Marine Regiment in September 1918, but arrived too late to see any action in World War I.