I am the grand-daughter of Harold Kenny Stoner. He rarely spoke of his time in the service and I have limited information. From what I have gathered, he enlisted in the Marines on September 8th, 1942. He was stationed for some time with the Thirteenth Recruit Battalion on Parris Island, South Carolina.
At some point he was transferred to San Francisco where he sailed on the Bellatrix, his muster date was May 14th, 1944. He sailed often between the West Coast and the South Pacific. He sailed to Saipan, and Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands as well as the Marshall Islands. After the US secured Iwo Jima he departed the South Pacific for San Francisco on Feb 28th, 1945 on the USS LST 724. He had been injured in combat.
I believe, from military records, and historical information, his Division (4th Marine Division) landed on Iwo Jima shortly after 9am on Feb 19th, 1945. The 4th Marine division was responsible for securing the Japanese Quarry (strong point), the 5th Division, 28th Marines had the mission of isolating Mount Suribachi. Both Marine Divisions were successful in their respective operations. The seizure of Iwo Jima was necessary, but the cost was devastating. The fighting that took place during the 36 day invasion would be immortalized in the words of Commander, Pacific Fleet /Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who said, "Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Th commander of my grandfather's 4th Marine Division was Major General Clifton B. Cates.
Most of my information has been pieced together from family stories, historical documents, and military records. My grandpa rarely, if ever, spoke about his time in the south Pacific. He was interviewed by a college student in the late 1980's about his service. She was able to document his Division, and he relayed a story about being trapped in a foxhole with several other Marines. He was the only Marine to make it out alive. He did not mention their names, but two of them were Catholic, as he stated they were praying the Rosary.
Iwo was finally deemed secure on March 24th, 1945, leading the way for the US Army's 147th Infantry Regiment to assume ground control of the island on April 4th. The US Army relieved the largest body of Marines committed in combat in one operation during World War II. The battle left more the 6500 US Marines dead.
I believe he witnessed the raising of the American Flag on Mount Suribachi at both times, 10:37am February 23, 1945.
Grandpa was eventually awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery. He was buried with his medal in 2009.
I cannot imagine the horrors my grandfather lived through while in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, he passed away in September 2009.
I never had the opportunity to ask him about his service, and I make a great assumption in thinking he would have shared his memories with me. I never realized, or had the opportunity to tell my grandfather thank you for his dedication to our country. I write this as a much belated tribute, not only my grandfather, but to all the men who defended this country and our freedom, and to those who lost their lives for the United States.
May God Bless you.