2LT Mark Tomlinson, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Service#: 0-019937
2LT Mark Tomlinson was born on 1 March 1921 in Poynette, Columbia County, Wisconsin.
He was the son of Joseph Cleveland Tomlinson, born 4 Feb 1884 in Poynette, Columbia County, Wisconsin, died 5 September 1934 in Columbia County, Wisconsin and Laura Jameison, born about 1885 in Wisconsin, death date and location unknown. In 1940, Joseph Tomlinson worked as a Tax Assessor in Portage, Wisconsin. Mark had three siblings, one older brother and two older sisters.
Mark graduated from Columbus High School in 1939.
On 26 June 1943, Mark married a British girl, Killian Josephine Hellinvell, in New Zealand. Her whereabouts (as of 2021) are unknown.
Mark Tomlinson enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 13 December 1939 and deployed on his first overseas tour on 7 January 1941. For about 14 months, he was stationed with the Marines in American Samoa in the New Hebrides Islands. On 20 Nov 1943, he fought in the Battle of the Solomon Islands, where he was wounded with shrapnel winning his first award of the Purple Heart Medal.
On 20 Nov 1943, 2LT Mark Tomlinson while serving with a Rifle Company of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division was killed in action against Japanese forces on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, during the Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. For his exceptionally heroic actions on that day, he was awarded the Navy Cross Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, both posthumously.
His Navy Cross Citation (Board of Awards: Serial 917, March 24, 1944) follows:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant Mark Tomlinson (MCSN: 0-19937), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service while serving as a Platoon Leader in a Rifle Company of the First Battalion, Eighth Marines, SECOND Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, on 20 November 1943. In the face of heavy enemy machine-gun and mortar fire, Second Lieutenant Tomlinson voluntarily rode the turret of a tank directing constant fire on well camouflaged, entrenched hostile machine-gun emplacements obstructing the advance of his rifle platoon. After successfully neutralizing the enemy in that sector, he rejoined his platoon and moved forward with his unit until fired upon from additional Japanese entrenchments. Repeatedly returning to the tank turret, Second Lieutenant Tomlinson silenced numerous hostile weapons before he was fatally wounded while disembarking from the tank to rejoin his platoon. By his relentless fighting spirit, daring aggressiveness and heroic self-sacrifice, Second Lieutenant Tomlin enabled our forces to deliver a timely and devastating blow to the opposition and contributed to the saving of many lives. His cool courage under fire and unswerving devotion to duty were an inspiration to the men of his command and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
He was initially buried on Tarawa on 20 November 1943, but several years later on 14 January 1949. his remains were reinterred at Hillside Cemetery in Poynette, Columbia County, Wisconsin
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