Magazine article America in WWII

Saved by My Canteen on Iwo

Magazine article America in WWII

Saved by My Canteen on Iwo

Article excerpt

ON February 14, 1945, we landed on Iwo Jima. Upon arrival we were met with heavy mortar and artillery shells. It wasn't long before I was hit in the back of the thigh and said to my buddy, Bob Geer, "I'm hit."

Bob lifted up to look at my injury. Just then we heard more mortar fire. As I looked at Bob, he was choking, and I thought passed out. Unfortunately, he died then, right next to me.

I was hit a second time, with shrapnel in my right hip. Fortunately, I was able to crawl to the boat, which took me to the APA-207 ship [the attack transport USS Mifflin] that originally brought us to Iwo Jima. On the small boat, another wounded soldier asked if anyone had any water. I said, "Yes, I do" and reached for my canteen. It was then I realized my canteen on my right hip was hit by shrapnel--more than likely saving my life. Of course, I no longer had water in it.

Upon reaching the MASH hospital on Saipan [the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands], the doctors evaluated my injuries and told me they could help, but "I may be lopsided. …

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