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Biography of Jack Lummus

Jack was born on a cotton farm in southeast Ellis County in northeast Texas on October 22, 1915. He was the youngest and only son of four children born to Laura Francis and Andrew Jackson Lummus. His birth name was Andrew Jackson Lummus, Jr.

The Lummus' farm was in the Blackland Belt, a natural region that stretches from the Rio Grande to the Red River. In 1915 it was the principal cotton-producing area of Texas, and remained so until the 1930s. Jackson Lummus was a cotton farmer whose father Robert was a cotton farmer first in Mississippi and at the turn of the century a cotton farmer in Ellis County.

Jack attended Ennis High School from September of 1931 through May of 1934. He excelled at athletics in football, basketball and track. He was growing into a tall, lean, muscular young man with great hands and the speed and grace of a gazelle. In football he earned all-district honors in his sophomore and junior years. But before the start of his senior year, he fell ill, and did not attend either semester of his senior year. 

In the summer of 1935 Jack was offered, and accepted a two-year athletics scholarship to Texas Military College in Terrell, Texas. TMC opened its 21st annual session at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 20, 1935 at college assembly. At 10:30 a.m. regular classes for the term started. TMC was a two-year junior college with a high school department. Jack enrolled in the high school department, but competed in junior college athletics. He earned all-conference honors in football before graduating May 28, 1937. His success in athletics earned scholarship offers from Tulane and Baylor Universities.

On Tuesday, September 14, 1937, Jack enrolled as a freshman at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  His major course of study was physical education with a minor in history. His first quarter was the start of Baylor's ninety-second school year. When registration closed on Saturday, September 25, enrollment for the fall quarter had reached 2,079, a new school record.

Jack attended Baylor four years completing his eligibility in Southwest Conference athletics on Saturday, May 24, 1941, in the final Southwest Conference baseball game of the season. 

Being at the end of his collegiate athletic career Jack could look back with pride on his three varsity baseball seasons at Baylor.  He had earned All-Southwest Conference honors in 1939, 1940 and 1941 on teams that finished the seasons in third place. Many considered him the greatest defensive center fielder in the history of Baylor baseball. Baylor football was a different story. Jack had exceptional ability. He had been compared to two-time All-American wingman, Sam Boyd, but fell short of his potential. He managed to earn NEA All-American honorable mention in 1939. 

Before leaving Baylor Jack signed a minor league baseball contract with the Wichita Falls Spudders in the West Texas-New Mexico League, and a Uniform Player's Contract with the New York Football Giants of the National Football League.

In August of 1941 Jack reported to the New York Giants' training camp at Superior State Teachers College, Superior, Wisconsin. He made the final cut, and was a freshman end on the 33-man roster that opened the season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night, September 13, at Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Stout" Steve Owen was in his 11th season as head coach; John V. Mara was president and treasurer, and Wellington T. Mara secretary. 

In 1941 the Giants won the Eastern Division and the Chicago Bears the Western Division of the National Football League. The NFL championship game was played at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Sunday, December 21 at 1:00 p.m. The Bears kicked off to the Giants, and the game was even through the first half and seven minutes into the third quarter with the score tied 9 to 9. Then the Bears moved ahead by seven points, and dominating the remainder of play took their second NFL title in as many years beating the Giants 37 to 9.

On Friday, January 30, 1942, Jack joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in Dallas, Texas for the duration of the national emergency. He was immediately assigned to active duty, and at 9:00 p.m., with 13 other recruits, boarded a Pullman car on the Texas & Pacific Railroad for the first leg of the journey to San Diego, California and basic training. 

On Sunday, October 18, Jack joined the 15th Candidates' Class, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. He graduated 36th in a class of 255 on December 30, and was appointed second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. On the day of graduation he joined the 18th Reserve Officers' Class graduating March 11, 1943. He was detached from Marine Corps Schools on the day of graduation to Marine Barracks, Camp Elliott, San Diego, California.

Jack volunteered for Marine Raider, and was detached from Camp Elliott on June 24, 1943 to Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, Oceanside, California.

On Friday, June 25, he joined Raider Company, Headquarters Battalion and Training Center serving as a company officer and instructor. On December 20 he was appointed first lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He requested leave for January 10-19, 1944, and flew to Dallas traveling by train to Ennis to spend his leave at the home of his parents in Ennis, Texas. On January 19 he was officially detached from Marine Raiders and joined 5th Marine Division at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton.

Marine Raiders were the elite-fighting group within the U.S. Marine Corps. The Raiders had been the brainchild of Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson, who was close to the Roosevelt family, and had the attention of the President, who liked the idea of an elite striking force like the British commandos. In January of 1942 Lt. Col. Carlson was ordered to begin organizing the 2nd Raider Battalion at Camp Elliott, and at the same time on the East Coast at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson was ordered to begin organizing the 1st Raider Battalion.  On September 12, 1943 the Raiders reached their peak in numbers with two full regiments. They had distinguished themselves in combat in the Pacific. But as 1943 drew to a close Marine Raiders were dissolved, and many of the men and officers were assigned to the 5th Marine Division, which had been activated November 11, 1943.

On Wednesday, January 19, 1944, Jack joined Company G, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division as Commanding Officer. On February 29 the designation for Company G was changed to Company F. Jack served as Commanding Officer until assigned additional duties as Assistant Battalion Plans and Training Officer, at which time he became Executive Officer of Company F. On August 8 he was detached from permanent duty at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton to Sea Duty, Fleet Marine Forces, San Diego Area.  At the time of sea duty he was Executive Officer of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division.

The liberty destination for most Marines in 5th Division was Los Angeles and Hollywood. Jack, Tony Antonelli and other Marine officers, when on liberty, would meet at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel.  Jack and Tony were close friends, and spent most of their liberties together. They met when Jack joined Marine Raiders on June 25, 1943. Major John William "Tony" Antonelli was Jack's Commanding Officer in both Marine Raiders and 5th Marine Division. 

When on liberty on a weekend in February of 1944, Jack met Ethlyn “Skipper” Bookwalter. The first meeting was a blind date arranged by a mutual friend Mary Brown, and it was the perfect match, and the beginning of a love affair that would have led to marriage had Jack survived combat and war. After their first date, Jack and Skipper had an understanding. She would later write,  “And I understood how he felt—from the very beginning—I guess we just about always understood each other.... From the day I met him I loved him.”

On Friday, August 11, Jack was embarked aboard the USS Henry Clay at San Diego. The Henry Clay was a Liberty ship assigned as a transport to the 5th Marine Division. It would lift men and equipment of 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines. The reinforced 27th would depart San Diego Harbor on the 12th. All personnel were restricted to the area, but allowed to telephone or telegraph. Jack called Skipper at her office to say "goodby for a while," and telephoned his mother and sisters, Thelma and Sue, to say he was shipping out. At 8:35 a.m. on August 12 he sent a telegram to his sister, Thelma Wright, "HAVE SHIPPED BAGGAGE HOME THAT I WONT NEED BY EXPRESS. WILL WRITE WHEN ALLOWED. GIVE LOVE TO MOTHER AND REST LOVE=JACK."

At dusk on the 12th the Henry Clay cast off her moorings, and moved out into San Diego Harbor turning west to join convoy lines steaming westward into the Pacific.

On Friday, August 18, the Henry Clay reached Hilo Harbor on the east coast of the big island of Hawaii. Jack disembarked with Company F on August 19 at Hilo docks, and may have boarded the narrow gauge, island railroad for the 65-mile trip to Camp Tarawa, which would be home for the 5th Marine Division for the next four and one-half months. Camp Tarawa was spread over 50,000 acres of the 225,000-acre Parker Ranch, and around the town of Kamuela. It sat 2,600-feet above sea level between mile-high Kahala and 13,796-foot Mauna Kea northwest of Hilo, and approximately twelve miles from Maume Beach, the nearest coastline.

The 5th Division continued it's training at Camp Tarawa while waiting for combat orders. In September the Division was placed on alert. Operation “Stalemate” was in trouble, and needed more troops. The operation was a series of assaults in the Palau Islands, and the initial decision was for 5th Division to make the assault on Yap. However, the final decision was that neither time nor troops were available to complete "Stalemate," and the alert was cancelled.

On Tuesday, October 3, 1944, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed General Douglas MacArthur to assault Luzon on December 20 and Admiral Nimitz to assault Iwo Jima on January 20, 1945 and Okinawa on March 1. The timetable proved unrealistic, and the assaults were reset to January 9 for Luzon, February 19 for Iwo Jima and April 1 for Okinawa.

The Commanding Officer of 5th Marine Division, Major General Keller E. Rockey, and key members of his staff were ordered to Pearl Harbor for a briefing. There they learned 5th Marine Division would be assigned to the Fifth Amphibious Corps, and would fight in the next Pacific campaign, which would be Iwo Jima.

On Sunday, October 15, Jack wrote to his sister Thelma:

"Dearest Sis,

"There isn't much news I can write about at the present. For the time being it looks like we might be here for quite some time because the 'old man' (Colonel Thomas A. Wornham, Commanding Officer 27th Marines) called me in the office yesterday and told me to organize a baseball team. That means only one thing and that is they are planning on staying here for at least another 2 months or so...."

On Wednesday, October 18, Jack was detached from Company F as Executive Officer, and joined Headquarters Company as Battalion Liaison Officer.

On Monday, November 6, Jack wrote to Thelma:

"Dearest Sis,

"Just came back from a very interesting amphibious landing operation at our beach. Kind of looks like we might be getting ready for something big pretty soon.... About the Xmas present for the Skipper ... anything that you pick out I'm sure would please the Skip."

On Thanksgiving, November 23, Jack wrote to his family:

“Dear Mom and all the family,

"Well here it is Thanksgiving and my first outside the States.... Our baseball league ended last week in Fifth Division ... my team took top honors, winning in a breeze with only one loss."

On Christmas day the attack cargo ship Athene began loading at Hilo docks. It was the first ship assigned to lift 5th Division. From December 25 on men and equipment streamed steadily east into the embarkation points at Hilo docks and west to LST beaches.

On Wednesday, December 27, the 27th Marines began loading men and equipment on ships in Transport Division 47 at Hilo docks. The 26th Marines followed on January 1, 1945 in Transport Division 46. On January 4 the 5th Division's command post was closed at Camp Tarawa, and opened aboard the USS Cecil. The 28th Marines was the last to embark on January 6 in Transport Division 48. On Wednesday, January 10, Transport Divisions 46, 47 and 48 were in anchorage at Pearl Harbor.

On January 10 Jack embarked aboard LST 756 at Kawaihae, an LST beach on Kawaihae Bay on the west shoreline of Hawaii. Following four days of military exercises at Maalaea Bay off the west coast of Maui, he transferred to the USS Highlands in Transport Division 47 on January 17.

On Saturday, January 27, the 5th Division aboard ships in Transport Divisions 46, 47 and 48 within Transport Squadron 16 steamed from Pearl Harbor in a westward direction toward Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, west of the International Date Line.

On Monday, February 5, the convoy reached Eniwetok Atoll for refueling and staff conferences. Refueling of the ships in the convoy took place in the vast lagoon of the atoll, and on Wednesday the ships moved from the lagoon through the narrow channel steaming westward toward Saipan in the Mariana Islands.

On Friday, February 9, Jack wrote Thelma:

“Dearest Sis, 

"It’s been a long time since you heard from your long legged brother.... I needn’t explain why I haven’t written.... Our outfit is aboard ship and going into combat—just where and when I can’t say … don’t get excited if there is a delay because I’ll write the first chance I get when we are ashore. There will be lots of work to be done before we have everything secured and little time for writing.... Take good care of yourself and say an extra prayer for your bud.”

While aboard the USS Highlands, Jack met a fellow Texan, a Navy surgeon from Houston, Lieutenant Howard Stackhouse. Jack and Doc Stackhouse became good friends aboard ship, but would reach the assault on two different vessels. At Saipan, Jack would transfer to an LST, and Doc Stackhouse would continue on aboard the USS Highlands. They would meet for the last time on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 1945, at 5th Division Field Hospital near the east beach on Iwo Jima.

On Sunday, February 11, the convoy reached Saipan. In the unsheltered harbor in a rough sea Jack transferred to LST 756, and a one-day invasion rehearsal was held off the west coast of Tinian followed by final briefings. 

On February 15 the LSTs with 4th and 5th Division troops and amphtrac tanks (LVTs), representing the first five waves of assault troops, steamed northward toward Iwo Jima. They were followed on the 16th by the main force of assault vessels with remaining 4th and 5th Division troops, and 3rd Division troops who joined the convoy from their camp on Guam. On the 17th the remaining transports with 3rd Division troops and attached units steamed northward.

On Friday, February 16, 44-minutes before sunrise at 0600 Combined Task Force 52 commanded by Rear Admiral William Henry Purnell "Spike" Blandy arrived off the coast of Iwo Jima. Admiral Blandy was in command of all pre-landing activities until D-day. The arrival of Task Force 52 marked the first day of the three-day pre-invasion naval bombardment. It began at 0707 hours.

On Thursday, June 15, 1944, U.S. forces assaulted Saipan. Near the time of the assault, Iwo Jima became strategically important to Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo. Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi and the 109th Infantry Division were assigned to Iwo Jima to strengthen the island's defenses. General Kuribayashi took command of the island's garrison, and became chief architect through which his genius guided the construction of a subterranean garrison that radically transformed a difficult piece of real estate into a near impregnable fortress, a fortress with the Pacific as a moat.

By February 16, 1945 Kuribayashi had accomplished the unbelievable feat of an underground network of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals. His subterranean garrison was 30 to 50 feet beneath the surface of the island, and connected by 16-miles of tunnels with enormous stores of food, water and ammunition for approximately 23,000 officers and men. On the surface tunnels leading from the garrison terminated in massive blockhouses and pillboxes and in the entrance to caves.

On Monday, February 19, D-day began to unfold with the arrival of Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner at 0600 off the coast of Iwo Jima with the main body of assault forces. Admiral Turner relieved Admiral Blandy as Commander of Combined Task Force 52; Blandy's command ended on D-day. Assault troops would be landed on east beach beginning near the base of Mount Suribachi extending 3,500 yards northeast along the shoreline to the East Boat Basin and high broken ground on the north. The landing beach was divided into seven sections 500-yards long. Each section was designated by a color and numeral. The southern most section was Green One followed by Red One, Red Two, on which Jack would come ashore as a liaison officer with 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, Yellow One, Yellow Two, Blue One and Blue Two completing the configuration. Fifth Division would come ashore on Green and Red sections of east beach, and 4th Division on Yellow and Blue.

The spearhead wave of the assault consisting of 68 armored amphtrac tanks (LVTAs) hit the beach one minute before H-hour at 0900. Many found their way blocked by the first terrace rising as high as 15-feet, and losing traction in the loose volcanic soil became bogged down on the beach. The first five waves of assault troops were embarked in amphtrac tanks (LVTs) to be carried inland. They landed at five-minute interval, but most lost traction, and the Marines exited through the loading ramp at the rear of their vehicle on the run only to be slowed to a walk. The loose dark  volcanic soil, more like an ash, was like walking in a bin of wheat.

Jack was in the first wave of assault troops that landed on Red Two a few minutes after H-hour. He was a liaison officer with Headquarters Company, and at the time he came ashore his job was to liaise with 1st Battalion, 27th Marines. His duties were essentially to keep 2nd Battalion completely informed of what 1st Battalion was doing or planned to do at all times. 

First and 2nd Battalions, 27th Marines were assigned to drive straight inland across the island to the west coast, and turn right to link up with 4th Division on their right to begin the drive north. The battalions reached the west coast of the island at approximately 1700, at which time all troops were ordered to dig in for the night.

On February 20, D plus 1, the drive north began. The fighting was bitter, the resistance fierce, casualties high and the advance measured in yards.

On Friday, February 23, D plus 4 a 40-man combat team from 28th Marines successfully scaled "HOTROCKS," the code name for Mount Suribachi. At the top they raised an American flag, and later replaced it with a larger battle ensign that was visible to all parts of the island and ships offshore.

On February 24, D plus 5, morale was lifted by the first mail call of the assault. Jack wrote a brief V-Mail to his family:

"Dearest Mom, Thelma and Sue, 

"Just a few words of greeting.... please don't worry about me—I'm O.K. and still full of vinegar. Will write again soon as I can--Love Jack"

On February 26, D plus 7, 5th Division Field Hospital was functioning, and took in 375 casualties the first day. Two of the Navy surgeons Lieutenant E. Graham Evans and Lieutenant Howard Stackhouse, who spent several days in shell holes waiting for the prefabricated operating rooms and hospital tents to come in, were saving lives, and whole blood was reaching Iwo Jima 36-hours after it had been drawn from donors in the States.

On Sunday, March 4, D plus 13 the 3,000-foot landing strip on Airfield No. 1 provided evidence of the strategic importance of Iwo Jima in U.S. hands. A crippled B-29 piloted by 1st Lt. Raymond F. Malo was the first to land on the island. It landed safely with less than 500-feet of runway to spare. The problem was diagnosed. A faulty fuel valve was repaired, and 30-minutes later, the “Dinah Might” was airborne climbing through and above Japanese flak on its way back to the Mariana's.

As the fighting moved north casualties continued to mount. On Monday, March 5, D plus 14 Major General Harry Schmidt, Commander of Fifth Amphibious Corps, ordered a day of no attack for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions. Front line units were reorganized, and assigned replacements. They improved positions, cleared mines, bulldozed new routes for tanks and made other preparations for resuming the attack on Tuesday morning.  Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Division was one of those units being reorganized. Major Antonelli, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion, assigned Jack to Company E, commanded by Major John P. Salmon. Jack was assigned to lead 3rd Platoon.

On Tuesday morning, March 6, D plus 15 Fifth Amphibious Corps resumed their attack. Preliminary bombardment by naval gunfire, and every available unit of Marine Corps artillery opened the morning's offensive. Jack led 3rd Platoon in the attack. A rolling barrage moved forward a hundred yards every seven minutes, but soon proved impractical. Fifth Division had moved into jagged, broken ground that minimized the effect of powerful supporting fire. The fighting was grim, and Japanese resistance steadfast making death the weakest link in Kuribayashi's northern defense. 

On Wednesday, March 7, D plus 16, the pattern of preliminary bombardment continued as the norm, followed by a frontal attack. Jack led 3rd Platoon, which was fighting on the right of 5th Division's line. The 27th Marines made limited gains for the day fighting against an irregular ridgeline sometimes called Nishi Ridge in the vicinity of Nishi Village, which was approximately 400 yards north of Hill 362A. The area was one of the strongest defended on the island.

After digging in for the night, 5th Division troops with help from front line artillery forward observer parties fought enemy infiltrators throughout the night. General Kuribayashi’s troops were well schooled in guerrilla tactics for harassment and infiltration. He persistently conducted a day war, and a night war against the assault forces.

On Thursday, March 8, D plus 17 Company E led the attack in 2nd Battalion. Jack, leading 3rd Platoon, spearheaded the drive, following preliminary bombardment. Jack and the men under his command had fought Kuribayashi's troops two days and two nights without respite, and on the morning of the 8th the orders from General Schmidt were that all divisions under his command in Fifth Amphibious Corps, which included the 3rd, 4th and 5th marine Divisions, seize the remainder of the island in their zones.

Third and 4th Division troops broke through Japanese lines early in the day, and advanced to the northern coast, which caused the formation of a pocket in front of 5th Division. This large and lethal pocket contained approximately 3,000 Japanese troops under the direct command of General Kuribayashi, who had marshaled his forces for a last stand.

Jack led 3rd Platoon through rugged terrain, over broken ground against fierce enemy opposition. His objective was slightly east of Kitano Point on the northernmost tip of the island. Second Battalion reached a line of strongly defended enemy positions, and was abruptly halted. Jack called the Battalion Command Post for tanks. Company B in 5th Tank Battalion was ordered to support 2nd Battalion. The Shermans, medium tanks of the M4 series, moved out to provide promised support for "Tony's Boys," but their forward progress stalled in the volcanic ash that shifted beneath steel tracks. Losing traction, the Shermans were forced to search for an alternative route. This was accomplished for them through the efforts of 3rd Platoon. Jack with a hand full of men guided the tanks over tractive soil, through friendly lines and over rough terrain while ignoring Japanese mortar barrages, and intense rifle and automatic fire. Upon returning to his front line position, with a platoon of tanks, Jack gave the order to move out.

Jack, leading 3rd Platoon, continued to spearhead the drive through hell through the morning into the early afternoon when they were suddenly halted by a concentration of heavy enemy fire from concealed concrete pillboxes. Jack surveyed the terrain, making his decision, and moved out ahead of his platoon.

Moving forward, and in the open, Jack was knocked to the ground by the impact from the explosion of an enemy grenade. Recovered, and on his feet running forward of the line, Jack reached a concrete and reinforced steel pillbox containing three enemy defenders. He poked the muzzle of his carbine through an aperture firing rapidly into the interior, and then withdrew his carbine, and shoved fragmentation grenades through the opening. Smoke and debris poured from openings in the pillbox. In that moment of destruction, he was exposed to rifle and automatic fire from a supporting pillbox.

The impact from the explosion of a second enemy grenade knocked Jack to the ground, and shrapnel from the blast tore into his shoulder. Disregarding painful shoulder wounds and on his feet, he raced to the second pillbox, and destroyed the enemy within. 

Jack returned to the line, and his platoon. He rallied his men by going down the line from man to man directing and encouraging them to advance. He led, and they followed until halted by withering fire emanating from a third pillbox. Without hesitation or taking cover, Jack charged the pillbox, and destroyed the enemy, again allowing his troops to advance.

Jack continued to lead his platoon toward their objective while attacking foxholes and spider traps with his carbine. He had just cleared out one foxhole, and advancing to another, when his foot came down on the detonator of a land mine. Although mortally wounded, he struggled to rise from the broken ground on which he lay. For an instant his upper body was supported by an elbow, and he was shouting. But not from pain or fear of death, he was shouting to his men, "don't stop now, keep going."

The sight and the encouraging words from a mortally wounded Lummus inspired his men effecting a blending of rage of average men with normal emotions into an overpowering force of selfless, unrelenting Marines who fought across impossible terrain against a fanatical enemy, and breaking through the enemy's lines , they reach their objective.

A Navy corpsman quickly came to Jack's aid. Kneeling beside him, the corpsman worked rapidly to slow the bleeding. He started the first unit of plasma, before Jack was lifted from the broken ground, and placed on a stretcher.

The stretcher with Jack passed the 2nd Battalion's command post. Major Antonelli rose, as did several members of his staff, and followed the stretcher to the Aid Station. It was placed at the feet of Dr. Thomas M. Brown. Jack was pale from shock. His eves were closed. Doc Brown knelt beside Jack to give emergency aid before transferring him to 5th Division Field Hospital. His bleeding had stopped a few moments before, a small pool of blood remained on the litter. Doc worked on Jack 15 to 20 minutes, and in that time the awfulness of his wounding was forever stamped in the mind of his friend, Doc Brown. Doc started a second unit of plasma. When he changed the bottle, Jack slowly opened his ashen eyelids, grinned at Doc, and in a frail voice with a soft Texas drawl, in the presence of Doc and Tony Antonelli said, "Well, Doc, the New York Giants lost a mighty good end today."

Jack reached 5th Division Field hospital on a stretcher aboard a jeep ambulance. A Navy surgeon, Dr. Howard Stackhouse, bending over Jack lifted the blanket seeing the mutilation knew jack was finished, and thought he must have known it too. They had met aboard the USS Highlands on the way to the assault. Jack and Doc Stackhouse had become good friends aboard ship. Now Jack was whispering to the man bending over his, "Doc, as one good Texan to another, looks like you're going to have a little trimming to do on me." Doc Stackhouse took Jack into surgery, but felt at the time he should not tie up a table with him.

Jack's life stopped on March 8, 1945 on an operating table under bright lamps near the east beach on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. He was 29.

On Friday morning, March 9, D plus 18 litter bearers moved Jack's body to 5th Division Cemetery, which was near the base of Mount Suribachi, and west of Red Two where Jack landed in the first wave of assault troops 18 days before. He was laid at plot 5 on row 13 and assigned grave number 1244. There were 50 bodies to a row.

On May 8 Major Antonelli wrote Jack's mother, and sent a copy to Jack's fiancée, Ethlyn "Skipper" Bookwalter. The major wrote, "Jack suffered very little for he didn't live long. I saw Jack soon after he was hit. With calmness, serenity and complacency, Jack said, 'The New York Giants lost a good man.' We all lost a good man."

In the evening on Memorial Day, May 30, 1946, in a ceremony at Ennis, Texas under the auspices of the American Legion and Auxiliary, Mrs. Laura Francis Lummus received the Medal of Honor awarded to her son, First Lieutenant Jack Lummus. Presenting the nation's highest award in the name of the Congress of the United States was Rear Admiral Joseph James "Jocko" Clark.

On October 31, 1947 General A. A. Vandergrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, signed a letter addressed to Mrs. Laura Lummus:

"Dear Mrs. Lummus:

"The return of American dead of World War II from overseas cemeteries has now been provided for by the Congress. The records of this office indicate that you are the person authorized to direct the final disposition of the remains of the late First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve."

On Tuesday afternoon, April 20, 1948, at 4:00 p.m. in Ennis, Texas, double rites were held in the cities largest protestant sanctuary. Tabernacle Baptist Church occupied a city block in downtown Ennis, but it was much too small to accommodate those wanting to pay final respects to Joe Riley Crow and Jack Lummus, two Ennis war heroes whose lives tragically ended on Iwo Jima. Interments were at Myrtle Cemetery in family burial plots with military honors.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."


1st Lt. Jack Lummus   Ethlyn "Skipper" Bookwalter   Jack Lummus Memorial Park   Historical Marker Cemetery   Ellis County Veterans Memorial   Historical Marker Library   Texas High School Hall of Fame   Ellis County Veterans Appreciation Day 2005   Texas State Cemetery   State Farm Baylor Hour 2004   Jack Lummus VFW Memorial Day 2006   Those Young and Brave Marines 

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