On the anniversary of the flag raising on Iwo Jima, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Donald E. Longfellow, who fought in the battle.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Donald Longfellow joined the Marine Corps in February 1942. His dad did not want to see him go, and he did not want to lose a hand on the farm, but Longfellow felt like this was something he needed to do. Longfellow went to San Diego for basic training.
After completing his training, Longfellow went overseas as part of a group of 150 men who were to serve as replacements for the 1st Joint Assault Signal Corps. He then took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. There was little resistance when the Marines first arrived on the island. Shortly after their arrival, however, the Japanese forces began attacking and started pinning down the American forces. Longfellow was standing next to a friend when the Japanese troops began firing, hitting his friend in the head and killing him. Longfellow soon dove into a crater for protection.
Seven days after the invasion, Longfellow’s unit had lost half of its strength. Longfellow saw the flag go up on Iwo Jima and watched Joe Rosenthal take his iconic photo. He later transferred to the 1st Marine Air Wing, where he served in the officers’ mess hall in China. The Marine Corps discharged Longfellow in 1946. He later worked for a company that built parts for airplanes.
More of his story can be found at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.00676/.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Michelle Cannon