Fred Harvey, born in 1923 in Memphis, Texas (approximately 80 miles east of Amarillo), served in the Marine Corps from 1942-1945. After finally convincing his mother, a Comanche Indian, to allow him to join the Marine Corps. Mr. Harvey enlisted and eventually found himself island-hopping with the U.S. 5th Marine Division, fighting against the brutal Japanese.
After two successful island invasions, Mr. Harvey found himself invading the Japanese stronghold of Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was strategically critical for the Allies, as the airfields would provide desperately needed landing points for bombers returning from runs over Japan. The invasion began on February 19, 1945, as Mr. Harvey and 242 other men from his company stormed the shores of Iwo Jima. The Japanese strategy was to allow the Marines to land, then by hiding in caves and utilizing the mountainous terrain, they would attack the Marines using guerrilla tactics. The Japanese were ordered to fight to the death. Surrender was simply not allowed. Of the 242 men in Mr. Harvey's company, only 14 walked off the island.
On the ninth day of the invasion, Mr. Harvey was wounded by a Japanese hand grenade exploding inside his fox hole. He was evacuated and treated aboard a makeshift medical ship. At one point, he was literally left for dead.
In this video, at the young age of 96, Mr. Harvey is very much alive! With his famous sense of humor, he shares some of his most memorable stories. The strength of this man's spirt is amazing. He is truly a giant among men. Special thanks to the National Museum of the Pacific War, in Fredericksburg, Texas, for arranging this meeting with Mr. Harvey.