73 Years ago this week Donald H. Dufault, the son of my great aunt Alice (Duty) Dufault, the divorced mother's only child was killed in action on the island of Iwo Jima.
You might recall the massive uproar over President Trump's conversation with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson in what would be later called the Tongo Tongo Ambush. During the seven days between the death of Sergeant Johnson and his burial many in the liberal press as well as liberal members of congress used the Marine's death to unfortunately attack the President.
In 1945 your notification wasn't a visit from an Officer and Navy Chaplin and later a consolatory phone call from the president, rather a straight forward telegram, just slightly more personal than today's email, that was hand delivered by a courier or left on your door should you not be at home.
|The Western Union Telegram Delivered On March 27, 1945|
Let us also note that it wasn't right away or the next day, in fact as the above telegram shows notification was nearly a month after my Great Aunt's son was killed in action.
The local paper learned of the news and published this report.
Two weeks later she received this letter from her son:
Oddly enough the letter is dated 3 days after Pfc. Dufault was killed on Iwo Jima. Perhaps in the "fog of war" the days ran together or the date he was killed was simply recorded in error.
The following letter was written by a fellow Marine 3 months later and it took nearly a month to reach Don's mother. Notice the "Naval Censor" stamp in the lower left corner of the envelope below. The letter details how Pfc. Dufault was killed by a Japanese sniper.
October 14, 1948, more than three years after his death the letter below was received along with a Presidential Unit Citation bar with two stars and the Asiatic - Pacific Campaign Medal. This was added to her collection of two Purple Hearts and other service medals.
The citation (below) maybe the most concise account of the five week battle (19 February – 26 March 1945) to take the volcanic island of Iwo Jima at a cost of 26,040 total casualties, in all 6,821 US Sailors and Marines were killed and 19,217 wounded.
|The above description of the events is epic!|
On January 31, 1949 Pfc. Donald Dufault's remains where returned to his home town of Marion Illinois, nearly 4 years after his death.
Two years later Post 980 was dedicated in his honor.
|Dedication of American Legion Post #980 Chicago|
Pfc. Donald H Dufault became a Marine on October 3, 1940 and served in Alaska, Aleutian Islands, before participating in two invasions of the Marshall Islands, being wounded during the taking the island of Saipan (Now part of the Mariana Islands a US Territory) in June of 1944 and finally the successful capture by US Marines of Iwo Jima.
Cedar's take: There are times when I tire of hearing "thank you for your service" you see, saluting the national ensign and enjoying a 3 day leave nearly every weekend for 8 years ain't shit. Spending the final four years of your life chasing an enemy across the Pacific from island to island because you are a Marine that's service, that's a hero who deserves your thank you!