|Notes for Charles Elbert Bollinger|
|Joined the Navy on April 3, 1944. At his first formation some Marine officers came around and hand picked several men for the Marine Corps. He was hijacked.|
He served with 3rd Batallion Company H 2nd Platoon 2nd squad 27th Marines 5th Marine Division
Machine gunned in the leg on Iwo Jima and evacuated.
This division was formed to specifically add additional forces for the assault on Iwo.
(from the Seattle paper 1945)
IWO MEMORY FLARES VIVIDLY FOR MARINES
"Boiled down to the thinnest distillate, the battle of Iwo Jima resolved
itself for two Marines in the Seattle Navy Hospital to a paper folder of
matches and a Japanese bayonet. . Cpl. Mathew Burris, 28 years old, tapped
the match packet in little staccato sounds on the table next to his bed
today, and Pfc. Charley Bollinger 29, fiddled fondly with the bayonet he
seized from a Jap in the thick of battle on the little volcanic island thrust
up out of the Pacific like an ashtray of fire in the polished tabletop of the
sea. Burris and Bollinger were only two of 308 fighting men from Iwo Jima
who were in the Naval Hospital today, the battle of Iwo far behind them, but
its hammering memory still bursting and throbbing in their minds.....
Bollinger was a farmer before he joined the Marine Corps, and since this is a
modern war, he figuratively beat his plough into, not a sword, but into a
Browning Automatic Rifle, which rattled death at his enemies. Melette, South
Dakota is Bollingers home but it was far behind him during the 21 days he
spent on Iwo before a machine gun bullet hit him in the leg. :
'We went in at the narrowest part of the island, and we were
supposed to cut off all communications between the enemy
and Jap headquarters, said Bollinger. We made it accross
all right, but we got shot up pretty bad. There wasn't much
left of our outfit. I guess the toughest time of those three
weeks was during the second time I was in on an assault
wave. We pulled up past the second airport into the rock hills
and gullies. There wasn't a Jap around and we dug in. They
sneaked up on top of us in the night and the next morning we
had a grenade battle. That was about the bloodiest mess we
had. We threw all the handgrenades we had right at them,
and we threw back half of theirs because they didnt go off.
Finally we had to withdraw, reformed our lines and took the
hill all over again.'
Bollinger ran his thick thumb along the edge of the Jap bayonet as he talked.
"A Jap charged me with this, but I just got him first", said the former
farmer. "I shot him and then stripped his belt and bayonet off of him."
The following was forwarded to me by Charley's son Bill who still has the bayonet mentioned in the preceeding article.
Dad was in 5th Division, 27th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Co. "H", 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad. Squads were 13 men. He was in a three-man fire-team with Frank Terrill. After some early combat, "H" Company was mostly destroyed and they joined "G" Company.
Dad and Frank came from Hawaii (Camp Tarawa) on the (USS Sandoval) APA 194.. A nearly new Kaiser-built liberty ship.
My dad got his arm badly broken by shrapnel on the 3rd or 4th day after hitting the beach. He was then evacuated to a hospital ship off-shore. However, after a few days on the ship, Frank found him walking back to the front with no weapon and no equipment. Walking up with a full-beard, he was carrying a case of hand-grenades, his clothes torn and fluttering in the breeze. He had jumped ship and gone back into the war! Frank thought he was seeing an apparition. His broken arm was in a make-shift sling but he was actively using the other arm. A Navy Corpsman came up and tried to get him to go back to the ship but he refused and said that he would try working with one arm and see how it worked. Frank scavenged a rifle for him and, in a short time, he was back in the fray.
Frank said he packed ammo and acted as a runner, fiercely braving fire, bringing food and ammo to Frank at the front. Someone complained about dad's acting as a runner to the CO (commanding officer)... The CO said that dad and Frank Terrill were the only fire team that he could depend on and he didn't want to hear any more about it!
Lieutenant Fisher, dad's favorite officer, ended up shell-shocked but he wouldn't leave combat. He was easily killed by the enemy early in the battle.
One favorite story that dad always told me was about a Po Shepney who did his famous ‘tap dance' while running across a road that was under machine-gun fire. Frank and dad were watching from a shell crater and waiting for their turn to cross the road. When it came time for them to cross, the firing had stopped.
Frank said that only 83 men were left out of 2 companies that he and dad were in out of an original 300 men.
Frank said that "your dad looked after us kids.." He saved Frank's life twice.
Frank was in the Japananese Occupation force until April ‘46.
For information about the 5th Marines write to:
Fifth Marine Division Association
William A. Armond, Secretary-Treasurer
260 South Norwinden Drive
Springfield, Pennsylvania 19064-3517
Marine Corps Historical Branch
Washington Navy Yard 20374-0580
Fifth Marine Division Association
362 Roosevelt Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115-5120
Iwo Jima Veterans Reunion Association
594 Old Highway 27
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180-8820
|Last Modified Jun 27, 2002||Created Feb 27, 2008 by EasyTree for Windows|