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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
July 13, 1961     Times
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July 13, 1961

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EDITION, (Times.News, Mr. PulaskL 111.) TR17RSDAY, JULY IS, 1961 Ed. Note---The following account of some of the exploits of CoL! Henry Crowe were tcdten from' the Leatherneck Magazine, a Marine publication, back in 1944. Picture ws taken by the Times. News at the home of his sister, Mrs. Todd Buehler, of Chestnut, in December 1944, when he was convalescing from serious inJur. ies received on Saipan in World War IL Twice during his 33 months in the Pacific war theater, Jim Crowe---Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pierson Crowe---has heard reports of his own death. After the Gilberts last Novem- ber there was a mild but persist- ent sort of rumor that Colonel Crowe, who'd won the Navy Cross for his performance on Tarawa, had been shot in the burr of the ear by a dumdum just before the atoll was secured and had been buried informally, by a steam shovel. The husky colonel, who wasn't even nicked on Tarawa, laughed from the depths of his thick chest when he heard about this. , "Steam shovel! He! He!" he bellowed in his cheerful bari- tone. "But, really, there are worse ways of holding funeral services. I think I'll put it in my will that I want a steam shovel burial when I die." About a week after the start of the Saipan invasion, a melan- choly yarn was circulated among Marines in the Western and Cen- tral Pacific that 3ira Crowe had been wounded grievously, had died on the boat between the Marianas and the Marshalls and had been buried at sea. This story was repeated so much that undoubtedly, there are Marines today on frontier stations who believe that Jim Crowe is dead. Colonel Crowe laughed about this report, too. But, when we called on him late last summer at Quonset hut SOQ quarters on an island in the Central Pacific, he wasn't able to laugh so heart- ily. For there were two sizeable bullet holes in his chest and five shrapnel wounds on other parts of his anatomy. Still, the colonel seemed to be ignoring his multiple wounds as he talked, accenting every phrase with athletic gestures of his hands. His left hand and forearm were plaster-encased. Two shrap- nel wounds in his right leg made him limp. He was 50 pounds short of his normal fighting weight of 200 pounds. But he didn't look like a man whom the doctors had given only a 50-50 chance to live a few weeks be- fore. His wide green eyes were clear and his wax-tipped, red mustachios pointed aggressively skyward. "Maybe the scuttlebutt is true. Maybe, this is just the ghost of old Jim Crowe running around," said Jim Crowe. "Maybe, I did die and was buried at sea. But I can't find the hole in my nose where they took the last stitch." He received the first wounds of his 25-year-old Marine Corps ca- reer at 0930 on D-Day for the Sai- pan operation. "The Japanese are a funny people," continued the colonel! 'rhey do everything they can to keep you from reaching the beach. But once you're ashore, they do everything in their pew. er to see that you stay there, per- manently. For about two years now, they've been trying to get me to homestead a small piece of land--say six feet, two inches, by two feet -- on Guadalcanal or Betio or Saipan. When he was shot on Saipan, Crowe was accompanied i only by his runner, Corporal Wil- liam (Dinie) Donitaly of Boston, Mass. They were about 35 yards from the beach, out of sight of Crowe's battalion CP and moving up to join an advanced platoon. They'd been having a sort of "quail hunt" along the beach. They'd flushed several Japanese soldiers out of foxholes and had killed them, on the run, with their carbines. Heavy sniper fire opened up. Colonel Crowe was hit by a .31 caliber rifle bullet that struck his left lung just below the heart, tunneled for about two inches and came out, smashing a rib. Corporal Donitaly was shot in the side near his kidney. Donitaly fell among some shrubs, saying: "I'm hit pretty bad. I guess I'm a goner." Crowe said: "Damn it, don't talk like that." Blood was gushing from the colonel's wound and he removed his pack and lay down in the i bushes on his back hoping to stop the flow from the wounds. When he breathed hot air hit him in the face from the holes in his lung. Crowe said: "I guess they got me, too, Donitaly." The corporal answered: "Damn it, don't talk like that, sir." Colonel Crowe thought he was going to die. "I waited," he said, "for my past to revolve through my mind --but it didn't. I waited to hear some sweet music like they hear when they die in books--maybe. "Tales From The Vienna Woods". But I didn't hear anything ex- cept the spat of .31 caliber. The Nippers were still shooting at us." Right then, Colonel Crowe made a decision. He reached over and got his carbine. He spoke to Donitaly: "You know, Dinie, I believe this is a false alarm. I don't believe we're going to die." "Yes, sir," said Dinie, who al- ways agreed with his colonel. The hot air escaping from his lung Was bothering Crowe more than anything else. . "It was damned annoying," he l said the colonel using one of his favorite expressions. So he press- ed the butt of the carbine again- st his wounds and this action possibly saved his life. They lay thus for about 45 minutes and the sniper fire had stopped when a Marine platoon sergeant appeared over a hum- mock of sand about 40 yards a- way and regarded the two prone figures, suspiciously, with his carbine at the ready. They were so blood-soaked as to be almost unrecognizable and the Japanese had been donning Marine gear on occasion. The platoon sergeant had good reason to be suspicious. Besides the wounded men hadn't said anything. Col. Crowe and the Corporal were so weak from their wounds that they could scarcely talk above a whisper. Finally, the colonel had an idea as the sergeant drew closer. Crowe raised his head a little and, feebly, he twirled his faro-i ous red mustachios. The platoon sergeant recognized him at once.! "Colonel Crewel What has! happened, sir?" And a few minutes later, Crowe and Donitaly were being treated ht an aid station back on the beach. But this aid station was- n't exactly a haven. Japanese artillerymen and mortarme.n had found the aid station's range and were dropping shells aboul every 30 seconds. A navy corpsman kneeling be. side the colonel and attempting Finally, he raised himself and twirl his famous red mustache. Seeiflg this move the sergeant recognized him immediately. to treat his. wounds, was killed by shrapnel. Lieutenant O. H. Danton of Philadelphia, a youth- ful Navy doctor attached to Crowe's battalion, was wounded in the back by shrapnel. Colonel Crowe placed his pack on his stomach. He folded his poncho and placed it over his chest and he covered his face with his hel- met. It was well he did this for a shell exploded very close to him a few minutes later. Two hot hunks of shrapnel tore through the poncho and wounded him in the chest, just to the left of his bullet wounds. More shrapnel hit him in the right shoulder, the right hand and the left leg, and a sharp sliver of shrapnel tore off part of his left thumbnail. A squad of Marines came up and helped move the wounded about 200 yards down the beach to a safer spot. And later that: afternoon, Crowe, Danton, Don- italy and the other wounded were taken aboard a transport. Crowe, in his blood-encrusted dungarees, was stretched on a i table in the tra'nsport's ward- room. A young doctor started to I cut off his clothes. But the colon-! el stopped him. i "Before you do anything else," i cut off that hanging thumbnail, doe," said Crowe. "Now, colonel," said the doc- tor, soothingly, you'll have to be quiet. You're a very sick man." "Sick man, hell! Cut off that i thumbnail. It's damned annoy- ing!" So the surgeon had to mani- cure Jim Crowe's thumbnail be- fore he did anything else. During the weeks since D-day on Saipan, Crowe's wounds have healed at a remarkable rate. But Dr. Danton and Corporal Donitaly with fewer and less serious hurts, were up and about before the colonel. And this made Crowe doubly impatient. "It's damned annoying," he commented on his stay in the hospital. He's eager for news of his beloved "2--8" (Second Bat- talion. Eighth Marine) Regiment and he's eager to get back with his outfit. Colonel Crowe, as a major, be- came executive officer of 2-8 in April, 1943, and about a month later became the battalions CO. After the performance of 2-8 on Tarawa, he was spot-promoted to lieutenant colonel. He's fearful now that he'll see no more com- bat, for, at 45, he is over the age limit for battalion commanders. Crowe, who lived in Mount Pu- laski in his younger days, was 19 years old when he enlisted in the Marine Corps as a private in August, 1918. He went overseas with a replacement battalion but didn't get there in time for any action. He was in France doing guard duty until December, 1919, when he was discharged as a private first class. He took a job in an express office but disliked the work and enlisted again in the Corps in March, 1921. Crowe became a renowned Marine footballer during the 1920's His gridiron career start- ed in this fashion: Colonel, (then lieutenant) "Swede" Larson told him to report for football prac. tice with the Quantico team. "I've never played any football, lieutenant," said Sgt. Crowe. "You'll learn," said Larson. Lar- son was right. Crowe proved one of the most talented of Hnesmen on the old all-Marine teams at Quantico.  ] For more than a decade, t.zve l missed only one football season[ bin 1928 when he was away on J one of the Nicaraguan campaigns These Quantico All.Marlne teams were comprised of both officers and men and they seldom had a bad season. Possibly the best campaign was in 1924 when the Marines defeated Carnegie Tech, Georgetown, and Catholic U., and had only a 13-13 tie with Vander. bilt against their record. The late Col. Frank George, then a first lieutenant, played fullback on the team. Some of the other stars were Colonels Harry Liversedge, Elmer Hall and John Beckett, then captains. As late as 1923 when he was 34 years old, Col. Crowe was play- ing for the Battleship Pennsyl- vania football team. He was a gunnery sergeant then and a member of Captain Goetge de- tachment on the Pennsylvania. Once during a game between the Pennsylvania and the Battle- ship New Mexico, Goetge com- mented: "I guess Old Crowe is slipping at last. He used to make seven out of eight tackles. But now he only makes half of them. In 1934, Crowe was made Marine Gunner and was transferred from the Pennsylvania to the Marine Corps Base at San Diego. Here he became player-coach of the Base football team. Late in the season, in a game against Santa Clara, he intercepted a pass in an open field but was brought clown by the Santa Clarans near their goal line. "After that I decided it was time to retire from the gridiron," said the Colonel. After the required six years as a Marine Gunner, he was promot- ed to chief marine gunner at San Diego in January 1940. Col. Crowe seems rather proud of the fact that he was never a second lieutenant. He was pro- moted from chief marine gunner to captain in January, 1942. At the time he was aboard ship with the 8th Regiment, bound for the South Pacific. He was CO of a regimental weapons company during the Guadalcanal cam- paign. When he took over 2-8 it was comprised mostly of replace- ments.His face shines when 2-8's performances on Tarawa and Saipan are mentioned. His cord- pany commanders include Cap- tain Frank Stanton, a poker-fac- ed former undertaker from Bos- ton, and Captain Carl Hoffman, who used to play the trumpet in the late Herbie Kay's dance band Hoffman has carried his trumpet ! thru all of the operations and he was dismayed on it was lost for a time. trumpet was found by an lance jeep driver. Crowe's executive William C. Chamberlain, Phi Beta Kappa at and was working on degree at Columbia joined the Corps. Crowe ed by Charnberlain's mindedness on small but impressed by his telligence and Few of the officers and 2-8 were professional but on both Tarawa the battalion has the best in the Marine Division. Col. Crowe says, he doesn't Wish to States until the war doesn't think he would in the States while fighting going on out believes in what he Democracy of BulletS", every able-bodied man_ have an equal chanCe of the enemy lead. "Wars would get over ry if we had the Bullets'," said the He has particularly opinions about men, baseball players and ture actors, for may use their talents to of the combat zones. The coloners clude a bronze star star for Guadalcanal, Cross for Tarawa and heart for Saipan. Crowe's men regard great respect tinged ment. Those who've him on all of the orations know that never loses his good courage and his no matter what the es. And they know hi ing, convivial and taining fellow on If you ask one of for an opinion on boy is likely to reply almost worship hire." Crowe first bar mustache while member of the Horse China. For a while in the he was clean-shaven- Guadalcanal a beard and a tache. 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