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Date of Birth: 4/5/1922
Died On: 3/4/1945
Street Address: 262 Purchase Street
Service Number: 372265
Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps - HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Divsion

Veteran Code: KIA-49

BIOGRAPHY Extended Information
James L. "Sky" Larkin

James Larkin was born in New York in 1922. He lived at 262 Purchase St, with his parents, James P. and Minnie, and sister, Margaret. His father was a private chauffer and his sister a legal secretary. His mother was from Northern Ireland and his father from New York. They were members of the Church of the Resurrection. James was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1941. He enlisted in 1942 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

"Sky" Larkin whose nickname reflected his height of more than six feet was well known throughout his natlve Rye where he was active in athletics, in dramatic groups and in society. He attended the Resurrection School and later Rye High School where he starred on the football team. He was employed following his graduation in the mailing department of General Foods New York. He enlisted In the Marine Corps right after Pearl Harbor Day 1941 and in February 1942 he entered active service.

Sky enlisted in the Marine Corp. on February 6, 1942. after training he served 21 months in the Pacific as a Marine Paratrooper. However, the need for and cost of a parachute corps in the Marines was questioned, as were other specialized elite units, such as the Marine Raiders. The Marine Corps also lacked the transport aircraft required for a massed parachute drop. On 30 December 1943, Marine Commandant Thomas Holcomb ordered the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment to be disbanded, and along with the Marine Raider units, it officially ceased to exist on 29 February 1944. See Muster Rolls

Sky would then trasfer to the 5th Marine Division, 26th Marines, 3rd Battalion, HQ Company. By February 1945, after already serving three years and surviving four combat campaigns, Sky and his fellow Marines would invade Iwo Jima. After 13 days of continuous combat on the island, the Marines had suffered tremendous losses, but the battle was far from over.

D+13 Action Report 26th Marines D+13, 4 Mar 45 Weather: Intermittent rainfall, visibility poor.

"CT 26 attacked at 0730 with 3 LTs abreast to seize a very limited objective, with LT 127 passing through the right company of LT 226. Plans called for LT 126 to be relieved and to revert to CT 26 reserve, however, this was not accomplished until 1730. About 1030 an uncoordinated counter-attack against LT 126 was broken up by effective close-in artillery fires. Tanks and half-tracks were employed effectively against enemy cave positions in the center. CT 26 CP displaced forward. At 2100 a counter-attack of undetermined size appeared to be developing on the front of LT 226. This activity was reported broken up at about 2120, after artillery and rocket barrages were brought down.
Casualties 6 off, 205 Enl. Effective strength: 104 Off, 2049 Enl

The weather on Iwo Jima on 4 March was warm 75, but low-hanging clouds reduced visibility and intermittent showers dampened the spirits as well as the bodies of exhausted troops. The two tired regiments, after a night of heading off infiltrating Japanese, Sgt Larkins 26th Marines alone killed 97. The marines attacked again on D+13 against a front swept by machine gun and rifle fire from a new line of caves and tangled underbrush. The attack was sluggish and the Japanese seemed to sense it, two or three times forming groups of 200 or 300 for counterattacks which were promptly broken up by artillery and mortar fire.

Some units pushed forward in more or less uncoordinated fashion and were promptly hit on the flanks by fire and forced to withdraw, leaving the net gain for the day at zero. The only successful move, in fact, was made by Division Headquarters which moved from its original location near the eastern beaches to a position north of Airfield No. 1 on the west side of the island.

Behind the lines, replacements trudged single file up the road, staring silently at the tired, bearded Marines coming back. Here and there among the replacements were men wearing blue dungarees and shirts of the Navy, Marines returning from hospital ships after being wounded earlier in the operation.

The day-long struggle cost 200 Marine casualties including Sgt James L Larkin, he had participated in four major campaigns in the South Pacific. Despite sustaining frightful losses, the Marines had chewed through a substantial chunk of Japanese General Kuribayashis main defenses, forcing the enemy commander to shift his command post to a northern cave.

Combat on Iwo Jima was perhaps the most brutal, tragic, and costly in American history. This day 4 March 1945 was described as the unsuspected turning point on Iwo Jima. That afternoon the first crippled B-29 "Dina Might" landed on the island. In terms of American morale, it could not have come at a better time, but for one Rye Marine time had run out. Altogether 2,251 B-29 Superfortresses would force land on Iwo Jima and each carried eleven crewmen, accordingly, the Battle of Iwo Jima may have saved the lives of 24,761 American Air Men.

James L. Larkin Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1941.

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