Bradley Alden Spencer was born on December 4, 1923, in Greenwich, Connecticut, to Hazel Mildred Kelley, age 22, and Archibald Bradley Spencer, age 22. In Rye his family lived at 47 Oakland Gardens. Bradley was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1942.
He enlisted and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and served with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. The 9th Marines fought as part of the 3rd Marine Division on the islands of Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima during WW2.
On November 1, 1943 saw the division land as part of the Battle of Bougainville and fight on the island until their last unit to arrive, the 21st Marine Regiment, embarked on 9 January 1944. During the course of the battle the division had about 400 Marines killed.
The division returned to Guadalcanal in January 1944 to rest, refit, and retrain. The next operation in which the division took part was the Battle of Guam. From 21 July 1944 until the last day of organized fighting on 10 August, the division fought through the jungles on the island of Guam. During these 21 days of fighting, the division captured over 60 square miles (160 km2) of territory and killed over 5,000 enemy soldiers. The next two months saw continuous mopping up operations in which the Marines continued to engage leftover Japanese forces. At the end of the battle the division had sustained 677 Marines killed, 3,626 wounded, and nine missing.
The division remained on the island of Guam for training, until it embarked as part of the landing force for the Battle of Iwo Jima .
By the time of Iwo Jima in February 1945, Bradley had been promoted to Corporal. His 3rd Marine Division were initially in reserve for the battle. However, the division was committed one regiment at a time when the initial regiments that landed there needed to be relieved.
The 21st Marines came ashore on 21 February followed by Bradley's 9th Marines, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Tank Battalion, on 24 February.
The Marines of these two infantry regiments, supported by the artillery of the 12th Marine Regiment and tanks of the 3rd Tank Battalion, fought on Iwo Jima until the end of organized resistance on 16 March and the subsequent mopping up operations for the next month.
Rye Boys Get Together After Battle Of Iwo Jima
"Two Rye boys in the United States
Marines enjoyed a reunion on Iwo
Jima and more particularly enjoyed
good food, showerbaths and mail from
home, which followed the capture of the Japanese stronghold.
Corporal Bradley A. Spencer has
written his parents, Mr. and Mr
Archie Spencer, 47 Oakland Gardens,
about his meeting with
Corporal Aldo T. Rogliano, son of Mr. and Mrs,
Arthur Rogliano, of Highland Hall. Both were in "the best of spirits" and
enjoying the simple fruits of victory
he said. When the mail caught up
with the Marines at Iwo Jima, Corporal Spencer found he had fifty letters
In the service twenty-nine months
Corporal Spencer has spent twenty
three of them overseas. He was with
the Marines at Guam and Bougainville. Twenty-one years old, he is a graduate of Rye High School."
THE RYE CHRONICLE Friday, March 30, 1945
All elements of the division were back on Guam by April 17, 1945. The fighting on Iwo Jima cost the 3rd Marine Division 1,131 killed in action and another 4,438 wounded. The Battle of Iwo Jima was the costliest battle in Marine Corps history. It was also costly for the small town of Rye , NY who lost four boys, Thomas M Black, James "Sky Larkin, John F. Samler and Charles W. Barth.
After the return to Guam, the division began preparing for the invasion of Japan. This invasion never took place since Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. The 3rd Marine Division was decommissioned on December 28, 1945 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton,
Bradley returned to Rye and married his high school sweetheart Elizabeth Jane Reilly in Huntington, New York, on June 19, 1945, when he was 21 years old. He had four sons and one daughter with “Betty”.
Bradley continued his service with the Marines. He served in Korea and was in country starting in September of 1952. He also served in Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant July 16, 1967.
He would retire to Fallbrook, California and spend the next 43 years watching his family grow and enjoying many friends. His wife Betty passed in 1993.
Bradley Alden Spencer died on February 24, 2010, in Fallbrook, California, at the age of 86, and was buried in Riverside, California.
A Celebration of Life service was held on March 6th, 2010 at Grace Presbyterian. Hawaiian dress was encouraged.