Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Iwo Jima - 65th Anniversary

65 years ago today a young Seaman named Wallace Louis Exum, a native of Akron, Ohio was wounded aboard LCI-457 while landing Marines at Iwo Jima. For his combat wounds he received the Purple Heart. He went on to serve in the Navy until 1985, when he retired - having served 43 years (1942-1985) through WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War. In those 43 years, he earned one personal award - the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM) for saving a ship from burning and sinking in San Francisco Bay. He earned that award in his final year of Naval service. More so than the NAM, he has earned the respect of every Sailor he served with, every Sailor he trained and every Commanding Officer he supported. He was my Navigation Instructor at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island in 1982. We've exchanged more than 100 letters since then. I spoke to him yesterday and he is doing great for a man who still carries lead and shrapnel in his hip from Iwo Jima. Thankfully, he has a loving wife (Joyce) to care for him. He is a Pulitzer Prize nominated author and has written three books.

CWO4 Exum, today, as every day, I salute you!


Lee Cardwell said...

I too was fortunate to have had Warrant Officer Exum as my navigation instructor in OCS. I second everything you said about him. One of the most memorable people I've ever known. Not only was he a great instructor but he was a superb example of a naval officer. My company officer was a female who had never been on sea duty. Mr. Exum felt we were missing some valuable instruction because of that, so he came over to our company a couple nights a week and provided us with shipboard training for junior officers. He was the best.

Joe Green said...

I was an Echo 82003 OC with Mike Lambert. CWO3 Exum was a great celestial navigation instructor and taught us how to be naval officers. We had a great company and we all benefited from his instruction. I think one of our classmates made admiral though I can't remember his name now.

Anonymous said...

A an Ohio-born CWO. How could he have been anything but excellent:-)

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

I have read Chief Warrant Officer Exum’s very fine book (The Golden Ring), that you sent to me some time back. It is a very good read as folks describe books today. Having spent a career in the Navy myself and lived through many of the current events of the times that he brings out in his book I had great empathy toward the author and the book from the start of this work.

My habit concerning the average book I read is to pass it on to some other person so they can gain the same pleasure, and knowledge, as I did from that book, but I will not pass this signed copy to anyone else. It may never find its way back to me if I loan it or give it to someone else. I have already made a few references to the works contents and I expect I will be doing that on a continuing basis as long as I can still communicate with people.

Very Respectfully,

LCDR Bob Maguire, USN (LDO Ret) said...

Happy Birthday, CWO Exum and here's wishing you many more!