Original U.S. WWII USMC Battle of Iwo Jima Named 5th Marine Division Grouping - Sergeant Romeo J. Lanctot

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. USMC Sergeant Romeo J. Lanctot 5th Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps and participated in the first wave invasion on February 26th, 1945 during the Battle of IWO JIMA which earned him a Bronze Star with Valor. The Bronze Star Medal with the "V" device to denote heroism is the fourth highest military decoration for valor.

From his obituary which can be found at this link: Romeo J. Lanctot was born in Rhode Island on July 25, 1925. In 1935, he was attending the Albion public school. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on June 28, 1943, and was released on April 13, 1946. He took part in the first wave of Marines at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He married Therese Forest at St. Ambrose on June 10, 1951. In 1952, the couple lived in Woonsocket. He was one of 12 police officers hired in 1953 to form the first Lincoln Police Department, where he served for 25 years, retiring as Chief in 1981. Romeo died February 16, 2007 and was buried in St. Ambrose cemetery.

Included in this wonderful grouping are the following items:

- Service "A" uniform jacket, also known as the "pickle suit". Correct EGA collar pins and USMC buttons. The ribbon bars include the following awards:Bronze Star with V device, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal Ribbon with three Bronze Stars, Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with One Bronze Star, American Campaign Medal, and a American Defense Medal with "A" Device: Awarded to any member of the Navy who served duty in actual or potential belligerent contact with Axis Powers in the Atlantic Ocean between June 22 and December 7, 1941. Expert Rifleman Badge, and Sergeant chevrons on each sleeve and a beautiful 5th Marine Division patch on the left shoulder. Jacket is ink stamped in the interior armpit R J Lanctot .

- Bronze Star Medal with V device in original case.

- Service "A" uniform pants.

- Overseas Garrison cap with EGA pin.

A well research grouping from a Marine in the 5th Marine Division who participated in the first wave of the most famous battle of the Pacific during World War Two - IWO JIMA, earning him a Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

The 5th Marine Division was a United States Marine Corps ground combat division which was activated on 11 November 1943 (officially activated on 21 January 1944) at Camp Pendleton, California during World War II. The 5th Division saw its first combat action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 where it sustained the highest number of casualties of the three Marine divisions of the V Amphibious Corps (invasion force). The 5th Division was to be part of the planned invasion of the Japan homeland before Japan surrendered. Assault troops of the 5th Division were included in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the V Amphibious Corps for extraordinary heroism on Iwo Jima from 19 to 28 February 1945. The 5th Division was deactivated on 5 February 1946.

5th Division on Iwo Jima

The 5th Division landed on Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945, southeast of Mount Suribachi. The division sustained heavy initial losses, so much so that by that afternoon, the 26th Marine Regiment (26th Marines) had to be released as the division reserve. On 23 February, two American flags were raised on Mount Suribachi by members of the 28th Marine Regiment (28th Marines). The 5th Division would fight on Iwo Jima from 19 February until 26 March where they would sustain 2,482 killed in action, 19 missing in action, and 6,218 wounded in action. This was the highest casualty rate among the three Marine divisions involved in the invasion. The 5th Division began loading onto ships on 26 March, finally leaving Iwo Jima on 27 March 1945 sailing for Hawaii.

On 21 March 1945 the 5th Marine Division Cemetery was formally dedicated on Iwo Jima. Chaplains prayed, Major General Keller E. Rockey added a tribute to the dead and Lieutenant Roland B. Gittelsohn, U.S. Navy and a 5th Division chaplain, spoke of friends buried and "the ghastly price of freedom...." The American flag (there since 14 March) at the northern part of Iwo Jima was raised then lowered to half-mast. Taps was played echoing across the dark foreboding ash of "Sulfur Island".

Iwo Jima became an important support and emergency landing field for aircraft based out of the Marianas. In recognition of the 5th Marine Division's sacrifice in securing the island, the U.S. Army Air Corps 9th Bombardment Group named a B-29 "The Spearhead", with elaborate nose art depicting the 5th Division's insignia and the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi.

The 5th Division returned to Camp Tarawa, Hawaii and remained there until the end of the war. After the Japanese surrender they set sail for Japan where they occupied the southern island of Kyūshū. The 5th Division left Japan in November 1945 and arrived in San Diego, California the week of Christmas 1945. The majority of the division's Marines were discharged shortly thereafter. The 5th Division was inactivated on 5 February 1946.

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