WWII Memorial Feb. 19, 2016

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IWO JIMA ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

UNCOMMON VALOR WAS A COMMON VIRTUE

Subject: John Keith Wells Plt Commander, 3dPlt, Easy Co, 2/28 5thMarDiv Iwo Jima

All:

Thought you all might have an interest in seeing some history. We have a luncheon group in Denver which I attend (It is called "Cooper's Troopers" and is an informal gathering to honor Ed Cooper who started it). We have about 140 members on the roster. About 60 to 90 people show up every month at our American Legion hall for a lunch. I try to have a guest speaker at the luncheon each month. This month we had a remembrance for the family (Keith's daughter and husband). I put together a Slide Presentation to remember one of our recently deceased members, Lieutenant John Keith Wells.

Who is Keith Wells? He was the platoon commander of 3d Plt, Easy Company, 2/28. His men made it to the top of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima and planted the first flag. John Bradley whose son wrote, Flags of our Father's was one of his platoon members that made it to the top...all of the others are documented in that book and Keith's book...

Keith came to a lot of our meetings in the past. He grew up in west Texas and Felix Salmeron grew up in the same area and knew him quite well as a boy and later when Felix was on Marine Corps recruiting duty in west Texas. Keith, after the war became an oil man with many oil lease interests in that area. Felix attended his funeral recently in Abilene, TX where they laid him to rest. In his retirement Keith moved to Arvada, Colorado to live with his daughter, Connie after his wife had passed. That is how he got involved with us in his later years. 

Here are some of the photos I took over the last couple/three years and some of the borrowed pictures I had of the first flag raising in my Power Point Presentation:

LR: Jim Blane, Keith Wells, Jack Thurman all Iwo Jima Marines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LR: Al Jennings 3/26, Don Whipple 1/27, Jim Blane all Iwo Jima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LR: Al Jennings 3/26, Don Whipple 1/27, Jim Blane all Iwo Jima

LR: Keith's daughter, Connie; Sgt Maj Ken Wiese bag pipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LR: Keith's daughter, Connie; Sgt Maj Ken Wiese bag pipes

Some of Keith's men raising first flag... Keith did not make it to the top. He  was badly wounded...his men did this first same flag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of Keith's men raising first flag... Keith did not make it to the top. He  was badly wounded...his men did this first same flag.

Colonel Bob Fischer is Colonel Pete Eller's classmate at Annapolis, Class of 1955. Bob knew Keith quite well and told the story to us of the first flag raising and the politics involved as to why Keith's men of 3rd Platoon, Easy company did not get any recognition early on for raising the first flag...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Bob Fischer is Colonel Pete Eller's classmate at Annapolis, Class of 1955. Bob knew Keith quite well and told the story to us of the first flag raising and the politics involved as to why Keith's men of 3rd Platoon, Easy company did not get any recognition early on for raising the first flag...

Keith wrote a book about Iwo Jima and the first flag published in 1995...

 

 

 

 

Keith wrote a book about Iwo Jima and the first flag published in 1995..."Give Me Fifty Marines Not Afraid To Die"... He would tell you that he only got 45 volunteers to go...He gave the command to go...got up and started running and hoped that his men would be following him...It was funny the way he told it to us when he was alive... I am sure it was not funny at the time... 

 

First flag coming down and second one going up...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First flag coming down and second one going up...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq-O7kdafWQ