LT. Commander Peter S. Marra
Sgt Grit, I know this is a Marine forum, hopefully you can include this about a Seabee.
It is with great sorrow that I have to announce the passing of LT. Commander Peter S. Marra (133rd NCB) 4th Marine Division (Iwo-Jima) at age 90. Peter was the Heart and Soul of the Presidential Unit Citation issue for the 133rd N.C.B. at Iwo Jima – He singlehandedly pursued this for years in deteriorating health, and deserves a medal alone for his ‘Herculean’ efforts. He will be sorely missed. Peter S. Marra 6/15/18 – 4/27/09
Peter was in charge of the Security unit and was hit by shrapnel in the shin but never seeked out any aid. Headquarters Company of the 133rd NCB was assigned to provide a perimeter defense against a counterattack from the sea. The security unit consisted of two 30-man infantry platoons and two 4-man light machine gun sections. The Japanese did not attempt any counterattacks either from the sea or on the front lines in our area. Credit for the fact that security unit had only one man killed in action goes to the special training provided by a Gunnery Sergeant named Hickman of the 23rd Marines. When I realized that we were going to be involved in serious combat and that any advice from a combat veteran would be helpful, I asked my company commander to secure the services of a Marine to help train my security units. Sergeant Hickman held forth every afternoon from 13:00 to 16:00 for three weeks. After we landed, he emphasized, we should get away from the water’s edge as quickly as possible and avoid seeking shelter in any shell holes or depressions because enemy gunners would no doubt be zeroed in on them already. It would be safer to lie on the open ground, he told us. This meant going beyond the first two terraces, inland about 250 yards from the beach. Unfortunately, one of my men in the machine-gun crew jumped into a 16-inch shell hole with other men, and all were killed by a mortar shell. I will always appreciate the help we received from Sergeant Hickman, the pride of Mississippi. (Peter Marra).