My Great Uncle Bill Hudson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at age 18 in August of 1943 and was given immediate orders following medical screening to report to the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. After completing boot camp, map making schooling, and demolition training at Ft. Pearce Florida, PFC Hudson was assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division.
His Battalion was Commanded by LtCol Justice “Jumping Joe” Chambers, USMC. In 1944 in Hawaii the Marines under blanket of tight operational security readied themselves for the invasion of the island of Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was then a highly prized Japanese held island which had months to bitterly prepare for the for Marines they knew who would eventually attack. The Japanese considered Iwo Jima ancestrally Japan itself. The Marines knew this too and expected very few Japanese defenders to surrender willingly, this foreboding proved grimly accurate.
On 19 February 1945, on D-Day on the initial wave then 19 year PFC Hudson, holding a BAR machine gun, set foot on the island with 47 other young Marines in his platoon. On 15 March 1945 after continuous fighting as he and his unit advanced across the island, PFC Hudson was grievously wounded by a Japanese grenade detonated near him as he single handily assaulted and cleared Japanese bunker, an action in which he would receive the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism in Combat and the Purple Heart Medal for being wounded in Combat.
“Bill was wounded when he exchanged grenades with a Jap. Dare to say that the Jap lost that toss” -Sgt Manuel Martinez, 3-K-25, Hudson’s Platoon Sgt and recipient of the Silver Star Medal for Combat Heroism.
Bill was medically evacuated from the island and returned to Hawaii to recover from his wounds. One third of all Marine losses during World War 2 occurred on Iwo Jima. Of Bill’s original 47 member platoon, only two completed the battle without being wounded or killed. Bill’s Battalion Commander, LtCol Chambers would receive the Medal of Honor for the near impossibly heroic actions of those Marines of 3rd Battalion during the battle.
In 2002, Uncle Bill returned with family and friends to Iwo Jima, and ran, yes ran up the access road and finished at the summit of Mount Suribachi, the site of the legendary Marine and Navy Corpsman flag raising. These are the finest Men our Nation has ever known. It is demanded up us all to preserve their stories, names, and faces alive in memory with conviction and to honor them all, forever and a day. Their stories NEED to be communicated to ALL young American’s. He passed comfortably at home in Los Alamos New Mexico on September 11th, 2015.
I love you Uncle Bill, thank you for all you have done.