James Max Smythe - U.S. Marine on Iwo Jima
Freedom is not free! Rather it is payed for by men like James Max Smythe who is pictured far right of the front row. Battle casualties who were not kill outrite , suffered untold pain and suffering for the rest of thier lives. These men truely paid for our peace and security. Lest We Forget!
James Max Smythe was born July 11, 1925 in Camden, Tennessee. He was the only son. He had two sisters. His father was a medical doctor and served as a Captain in WWI. James's father died in 1940 and left his mother to raise the three children.
James joined the Marines while only 17 years old. He had to lie about his age to get in. He went through basic training at Paris Island and then to Camp Pendleton before leaving for the Pacific. While fighting on Iwo Jima, he was in a foxhole with two buddies. A Japanese threw a hand grenade into the foxhole and it exploded. His two buddies were killed and James sustained multiple injuries. His jaw for one thing was almost completely removed from his face. He was returned to Bethesda Maryland where his jaw was reattached and he went through many operations in an attempt to restore his lips and face. The surgeries were not very successful and his face remained highly disfigured. For the remainder of his life he was very self conscious about his appearance especially around children. He married the nurse that took care of him in Maryland. He and his wife became alcoholics and they both died from cirrhosis of the liver and other complications.
They had no children. His employment was erratic, he never held a job for any length of time. He and his wife survived off of his pension and his wife worked full time until her death. To his dying day he stood up for the Marines and was always proud to have been one and to have served his country. James was in the 5th Marine Division.
I never had the pleasure to meet James. The above information was provided by his nephew Chester, who wishes that James's sacrafice be recognized and not forgotten.
Picture of Jap Bunker on Iwo brought back by James
The next two below pictures were given to me by the widow of an Iwo Jima Marine veteran.
American Marines with a captured Jap artillary piece.
Reverse reads, "Dead gook on Iwo Jima, taken February 25th."
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