By Sgt. Melissa Karnath, Defense Media Activity
WICHITA FALLS, Texas --
Raymond Lueb from Edmond, Oklahoma enlisted in the Marine Corps because he was going to be drafted and he wanted his choice of branch of service. Lueb spent about six months of initial training and assault training on the beaches of California.
Lueb arrived on the black beach of Iwo Jima in the second assault wave. He served as an 81mm mortar man and he and his fighting-hole buddy were the first Marines to make it to the airstrip.
“The lieutenant told us to go back to get extra ammo. We could carry eight rounds each, and he didn’t say go around the airstrip. We went across the airstrip and were in front of our own front lines, in enemy territory. The Japanese could see us from the end of the airstrip and started shooting at us with .30 caliber machine guns. We went from shell crater to shell crater and got across. We lucked out that time.”
Lueb was awarded a letter of commendation for putting out a fire in his mortar pit, which resulted in saving about 200 Marine lives.
“Everyone ran away up the side of the pit, but I grabbed a shovel. Two of my buddies looked back and saw what I was trying to do. They risked their lives to come back and help me put the fire out. Three guns would have blown up along with ammunition and affected everyone within a quarter of a mile.”
Lueb also witnessed the second flag raising on top of Mount Suribachi, which became famous as the photo taken by Joe Rosenthal.
“We didn’t see the first flag raising. We were about 300 yards from the base of Mount Suribachi, so we saw the second one. There was lots of hootin’ and hollarin’ when the flag was raised. We knew we had stopped a lot of enemy fire from the mountain when the flag was raised.”
Raymond Lueb served in the Marine Corps from January 1944 to May 1946. When Lueb departed Iwo Jima he was stationed in Japan for six months and served as a military policeman.