Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Date of birth: April 24, 1925
Dates of service: 1943 to 1975
Home town: Akron, Ohio
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Pacific, Iwo Jima
Military branch: Marine Corps
Rank: Chief master sergeant
Military unit and specialty: 5th Marine division, heavy equipment
After discharge: Clovis, retired from Cannon AFB
In the dark of night they went, two men at a time, to bring in the wounded. It was Iwo Jima and they had landed a Landing Ship for Tanks to deliver heavy equipment. The equipment wasn’t ready to be moved so the commander ordered them to go get the wounded and bring them aboard while they waited.
Leading the way and carrying a wounded man, Ash was navigating his way back to the carrier when a mortar landed directly in front of him.
“All I saw was the explosion, sometimes I still see it. I saw the flash and it was like someone hit me over the head and in the stomach at the same time,” Ash said. “I didn’t know I was hit.”
Treated on a hospital ship, he recalls “they had so many wounded. I was there and I figured that I wasn’t hurt bad enough. They had one guy where his foot was blown off and another was hit in the head, and I had a couple cuts, so I volunteered to go back.”
Ash rejoined his unit and resumed his duties the next day. By war’s end he had treated more times for wounds.
Ash said he tried to join the service at 17 but his father wouldn’t let him. He joined when he was 18.
“I guess I was young and gung-ho. I didn’t figure I was going in there just to parade, I figured I was going in to protect the country,” he said.
Ash said he was willing to do anything for his country.
“As far as I’m concerned I could’ve given ‘em another 10 years easy. This is my country and I love it.”
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: