Norman Eugene Wimberly
3 Jul 1922--8 Apr 2012
U. S. Marine Corps, 2nd Division, B-1-6, Squad Leader
Active Service: 11 Feb 1942--12 Feb 1946
Served in South Pacific Area from 19 Oct 1942 to 5 Jan 1945
Guadalcanal, 12 Jan 1943-8 Feb 1943; Tarawa, 20 Nov 1943-23 Nov 1943; Saipan, 15 Jun 1944-9 Jul 1944; Tinian, 24 Jul 1944-1 Aug 1944
Wounded in action 22 Nov 1943 Tarawa
Drill Instructor at Parris Island, South Carolina at time of discharge
Awarded Purple Heart Medal 13 Nov 1944
Interesting sidelight: He never actually made shore on Saipan. His landing craft got disabled on the left side, so they were just turning in a circle--sitting ducks. He watched the 120mm shore gun take aim at them and fire. Of the 42 men on the craft, only 6 were still alive. Not wanting to wait for help in the middle of all that carnage, Norman & those who could swim headed for the US ships he could see far off on the horizon. The men got separated by the high seas, but a plane spotted he & 2 others in the water, dropped a life boat which immediately lost its air, flew back to the ships to notify them, then came back to them & dropped a dye marker. A boat from a destroyer came out to get them eventually. He didn't know what happened to the others who swam. By the time they made it to a ship, it was full of wounded already, including at least one of his friends in his company. Until they were able to get back with their company, he helped a corpsman with the wounded by delivering juice or whatever non-medical chores they needed.
My uncle, Granville Walker Boyd, did make it to shore on his landing craft & managed to survive Saipan. After the war, my dad came for a visit, met my mom, & then joined the family. If Daddy had been a few inches out of his position, he wouldn't have survived the shelling, & I wouldn't be here to create this memorial for him.