Marine, 91, receives Purple Heart
Hello Sgt Grit,
Yesterday, September 9, 2009, my father, First Sergeant Casey T. Bazewick, USMC (retired), 91, was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received as a prisoner of war in World War II.
He enlisted before WWII in 1938, after two years in the Marine Corps Reserve. He served with the 4th Marines in Shanghai and on Corregidor in its defense until it fell on May 6, 1942. He became a prisoner of Japan for 39 months -- 92 Garage (Corregidor), Bilibid Prison (Manila), Cabanatuan (Luzon, where 42% died in the first year), Hell Ship Tottori Maru (on deck he watched it nearly sunk by two American torpedoes), and Mukden, Manchuria at a large Mitsubishi factory (three winters, 40?50 below).
The dining room of his nursing home was packed for the impressive ceremony with Marines of all ranks and stripes, active duty and retired, young and old. Four generations of our family were present. Some 50 people attended, including Life Care Center residents.
In the attached photo, Captain Mike Rosen, Fort Lewis, WA, pins the Purple Heart Medal on my dad, as I watch. The Purple Heart Certificate was read by Sergeant Major Jenks. A full honor guard from Fort Lewis assisted. In addressing the assembly, Capt. Rosen spoke of how impressed he was when he got my dad's record. "This man has been there, done that, and has the T-shirt." Capt. Rosen and his company's professionalism was impeccable.
In the photo, my dad is wearing a cap made by Sgt Grit with the patch: "Second Battalion, 4th Marines - Second to None - The Magnificent Bastards." He was in E/2/4.
Afterward, as my dad was thanked individually by the many Marines, he remarked, "Look at all that fruit salad!" in reference to the award ribbons they wore.
The event was covered by the Skagit Valley Herald.
Don't miss the video!
My dad was also presented with a handwritten letter of thanks and appreciation from Senator Patty Murray (who unfortunately could not attend because Congress was back in session). See attached. A debt of gratitude is owed to Mr. Kim Brown of the Senator's office, who persevered in breaking down bureaucratic barriers in making this award possible.
And my dad was made an honorary member of the Marine Corps League and presented with a certificate.
I prepared considerable material on his military service and the history of the time, which was beautifully displayed by the nursing home. Included were display cases of his medals, ribbons, and service patches. The enthusiasm, generosity, and hard work of the nursing home's staff were outstanding.
Note to Korea vets: In Korea, my dad was Company Gunnery Sergeant of C/1/1 for the Inchon Landing and the retaking of Seoul. He was hospitalized in October 1950, narrowly missing out on Chosin. As a POW in WWII, he had endured three Manchurian winters, north of Korea. I was one and a half; my sister had just been born in July.