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Veteran recalls World War II

Monday, November 12, 2007

Melvin Love sits next to a Silver Star he received following World War II.
Melvin "Jack" Love, 87, has photos in his Brazil home of a handsome young man in a Marine uniform.

The Marine was part of the second wave of troops that landed on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima in February of 1945.

One of the photos of the Marine is framed with a Silver Star award and a letter of commendation.

Love enlisted in the Marines to fight in World War II in July of 1942.

He was part of The 5th Marine Division, known as "The Spearhead," and trained at Camp Pendleton in California and Camp Tarawa in Hilo, Hawaii.

During his time in Hawaii, Love mastered the 81 mm mortar, which launched mortar shells. Because of his experience with the weapon, he was designated forward observer for the invasion.

The 5th Marine Division landed on Iwo Jima Feb. 19, 1945, and Love was in charge of directing artillery at Japanese forces.

Because of his dangerous position, observing from the line of fire, Love received the Silver Star award.

The raising of a flag on Mount Suribachi is one of the lasting images from World War II, but the famous photograph was of the second time the Stars and Stripes flew over the island.

Love said he was a half-mile away from Mount Suribachi the first time the American flag was flown over Iwo Jima.

Love and his fellow Marines helped take the island, which was used for its airstrips by the Americans.

He was sent back to the States for officer training class, and was commissioned in 1945.

After leaving the Marines, Love returned to Clay County to farm.

During his time as a farmer, Love did not think much of his Silver Star, keeping it in a drawer for years until a nephew wanted to see it.

His sister then took the award, along with the certification and a photo of Love, and had it framed.

When looking back at his service, Love mostly remembers the soldiers who died in the war, including his Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Daniel C. Pollack.

Love calls his time in officer training as a highlight, as well as seeing one of his two brothers in the Navy in Honolulu before shipping out to Japan.

This year, for Veterans Day, Love attended the Jackson Township Elementary School program at the invitation of his great-great-nephew.

"I think it's very appropriate for these schools to have celebrations for veterans," Love said.

Because of osteoporosis, Love has a hard time getting around. He usually only attends the parade.

Veterans Day is important to him, though.

"It means they recognize there was a war fought for freedom and the privilege we enjoy today is largely responsible from World War II," Love said.

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God Bless this man and his fellow soldiers! Thank you all for your services!

-- Posted by Southernized on Mon, Nov 12, 2007, at 10:00 PM

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