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Name: Joseph Jeremiah Surette Rank: Private 1st Class (PFC) Service No.: M942791 Service: 54 Replenishment Draft 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division United States Marine Corps Awards & Medals: Purple Heart Date of Birth: November 27, 1924 Place of Birth: Eel Brook, Yarmouth Co., NS Date of Enlistment: January 1, 1944 Date of Death: June 26, 1945 Cemetery: Forest Dale Cemetery, Malden, Massachusetts Joseph Jeremiah Surette was born in Eel Brook, Yarmouth County November 27, 1924. His mother Vitaline Ann Meuse (LeBlanc) was born in Belleville in 1905, the daughter of Rémi LeBlanc and Louise Jane Bennett. Joseph’s brother Gerald Surette served in the US Navy during the Second World War. Joseph fought at Okinawa with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division, United States Marine Corps. He was wounded and died as a result of those wounds on June 26, 1945. On Okinawa, Joseph’s unit, the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, was involved in the fighting for the Motobu Peninsula, the capture of Naha (the capitol of Okinawa), and the assault on the Oruku Peninsula. The following Presidential Unit Citation was presented to Joseph Jeremiah Surette’s unit, the 6th Marine Division: Sources:
Joseph Jeremiah Surette
“For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault and capture of Okinawa, April 1 to June 21, 1945. Seizing Yontan Airfield in its initial operation, the Sixth Marine Division, reinforced, smashed through organized resistance to capture Ishikawa Isthmus, the town of Nago and heavily fortified Motobu Peninsula in 13 days. Later committed to the southern front, units of the division withstood overwhelming artillery and mortar barrages, repulsed furious counterattacks and staunchly pushed over the rocky terrain to reduce almost impregnable defences and capture Sugar Loaf Hill. Turing Southeast, they took the capital city of Naha and executed surprise shore-to-shore landings on Oruku Peninsula, securing the area with its prized Naha airfield and harbour after nine days of fierce fighting. Re-entering the lines in the south, Sixth Division Marines sought out enemy forces entrenched in a series of rocky ridges extending to the southern tip of the island, advancing relentlessly and rendering decisive support until the last remnants of enemy opposition were exterminated and the island secured. By their valour and tenacity, the officers and men of the Sixth Marine Division, Reinforced contributed materially to the conquest of Okinawa, and their gallantry in overcoming a fanatic enemy in the face of extraordinary danger and difficulty adds new luster to Marine Corps history, and to the traditions of the United States Naval Service” For the President James Forrestal, Secretay of the Navy
Photo by Glen Gaudet, November 2018 Memorial Brick at the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, National Marine Corps Museum, Triangle, VA