LeRoy N. Schneider

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LeRoy N. Schneider

LeRoy N. Schneider, 86, one of the few remaining U.S. Marines who fought in the defense of Wake Island in December 1941, passed away after a long illness Aug. 18, 2007, in his home in Barrington. A funeral Mass with celebrant Father Tom Bishop was held at St. Anne's Church in Barrington on Aug. 22, 2007. He was buried in the veterans' section of Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington with Father Bishop leading the prayers for his interment. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7706 and American Legion Post 158 provided honor guards at his wake and burial, ending with a 21-gun salute and Taps. LeRoy had joined the Marine Corps in June 1940 and participated in the 16-day battle in December 1941 to defend Wake Island against the Japanese, who attacked Wake just four hours after they had attacked Pearl Harbor. The defense force consisted of 430 Marines and a few Army and Navy personnel, and unarmed civilian construction workers. Greatly outnumbered, the defenders were captured and LeRoy spent the next three years and nine months in Japanese slave labor camps. Within his first year in captivity he lost 100 pounds. For his participation in the defense of Wake Island, he and his comrades were awarded the First Presidential Unit Citation by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also was awarded nine medals, including the Purple Heart. …