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Remembering World War II
Marshall Franklyn Swimm
Name: Marshall Franklyn Swimm Rank: Private 1st Class Service Number: 972375 Service: Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force United States Marine Corps Date of Birth November 20, 1919 Place of Birth: Clark's Harbour, Shelburne Co., NS Marital Status: Single at Enlistment Next of Kin: Jean Ramsay Swimm (Wife) Religion: Protestant Height: 5 feet, 10 ¾ inches Complexion: Light Hair: Black Eyes: Blue Date of Death: May 6, 1945 Age: 25 Cemetery: Long Island National Cemetery, New York, US Grave: Section J, Site 13762 Marshall Franklyn Swimm was the son of William Franklyn Swimm (1889-1960) and Gertrude I (Kenney) Swimm (1893-1975). Both his parents were born in Clark’s Harbour, NS. He had a sister Winnifred Juanita Swimm (1915-1998) and a brother Alton Earle Swimm (1918-1994). Marshall married Jean Ramsay Hill (1913-1999) on February 23, 1940, in Martin, Marion County, Florida. Jean was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. When he completed his registration for the US Draft on July 1, 1941, in Suffolk County, New York, he was living in Huntington, Suffolk, NY, and working as a sander for J. T. Cautrell in Huntington. After the outbreak of war, the 5th Marines, known as the "The Fighting Fifth", were deployed to Wellington, New Zealand in June 1942. They fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Eastern New Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa. PFC Swimm’s exact date of enlistment is unknown but he appears in the Marine Muster Rolls in July 1944 with the Seventh Recruit Battalion, Recruit Depot, at the Marine Barracks in Parris Island, South Carolina. By October 1944, he is with the 20th Replacement Draft, Marine Battalion, Fleet Marine Force at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton in Oceanside, California. He shows in the Marine Muster Rolls with his unit, the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, in January, and again in April 1945. The Battle of Okinawa took place from April 1 to June 22, 1945. Private 1st Class Marshall Franklyn Swimm was Killed in Action in the Battle of Okinawa on May 6, 1945. Everything about the terrain on Okinawa favored the defending army. The topography of ridge lines and escarpments turned the field of battle into a series of small, vicious firefights that allowed the Japanese full observation of their enemy due to the lack of dense vegetation. Interlocking fields of fire from the caves and concrete Okinawan tombs all over the ridge lines provided for intense and heavy small arms fire, while Japanese artillery could be brought to bear on the attacking Marines in seconds by numerous guns camouflaged into hill and ridge sides, unseen by American eyes. The veteran warriors of the 5th Marine Regiment moved into the lines on May 1, 1945. On the first night of action the 5th Regiment was assailed by Japanese infiltrators in a series of small assaults that broke down into ferocious hand to hand combat each time. In the morning, the Marines had beaten off the attackers. Dead Japanese lay strewn across the battlefield, some with Marine Ka- Bars sticking in their chests, some disembowelled by Marine bayonets, and still others peppered with shrapnel from Marine grenades or holed by rifle and machine gun rounds. The survivors of the night assault received an unexpected break after the fight. During the early morning hours of May 2, it started to rain. And rain. And rain. The rain poured down in buckets on the 5th Marines, so much so that the unit had difficulty moving at all, and all offensive action ceased. The break allowed the men to catch their breath and prepare for the upcoming assault that began the following day. The Marines emerged from the mud (a scene that would play itself out again and again for the remainder of the campaign) and pushed forward into heavy fire. Despite the enemy fire, the Marines advanced forward with the help of the Army’s 27th Infantry Division field artillery. Nearly a week later, the Marines had reduced the Awacha Pocket and suffered accordingly. Casualties had been high but the 5th Regiment had prevailed and been able to eliminate the fierce pocket of Japanese resistance, only to prepare to move onto the next ridge line ahead. Private 1st Class Marshall Franklyn Swimm’s body was returned to the United States and he was interred in the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.
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Sources: The Invasion of Okinawa Nationwide Gravesite Locator, National Cemetery Administration, US Department of Veterans Affairs
Jean Ramsay Hill