John F. Samler was born on April 30, 1921 in New Jersey. His father Lafayette was born in Pennsylvania and his mother Mary was born in New Jersey. John was the middle child of three, he had an older brother Robert and a little sister Mary. His father was employed as a chauffeur and their family lived at 52 Grapal Street.
John was a graduate of Resurrection School and Rye High School, class of 1939. During his high school days he gained popular acclaim as a football star and was captain of the team.
Previous to entering the service, he was employed by the Pan American Airways. He was sent to Africa to help in the construction of airfields and runways stretching across the continent from coast to coast. He witnessed some of the fighting while stationed at Cairo and following the attack on Pearl Harbor, returned home to join the Marines. He was engaged to Miss Barbara Lynch of Manursing Lodge.
"Jack" as he was known to his friends in Rye, went overseas n 1945 around the first of this year. He received his initial training at Parris Island; later signed up for para trooping at Camp Lejeune, N. C, and completed his training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. When the paratroopers were disbanded, he was assigned to the infantry as a flame thrower in an Assault Squad. He trained for two years before going overseas.
Private First Class John F. Samler, U. S. Marine Corps was assigned to the - 1st Battalion, 26Th Marine Regiment , 5Th Marine DivIsion
The Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire. The American invasion had the goal of capturing the entire island, including its three airfields (including South Field and Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.
On Iwo Jima 8 Mar 45, D+17, the weather was cloudy and cool, visibility fair. The 26th Marines attacked at 0815 against a heavy fortified Japanese line. The plan of action for the last several days called for the 5th Marine Division to complete the drive northeast and split the Japanes defenses in two. This included taking the highground of Hill 362 and Nishi Ridge.
Japanese resistance was fierce, both in front and from a number of bypassed positions, the Marines burned and blasted their way onwards. Action of LT 126 was supported by fire of tanks. At this stage of the operation after 17 days of continuos combat, qualified small unit leaders as well as the more aggressive riflemen had become so depleted that offensive efficiency and spirit were seriously affected, out of proportion to strength figures.
"The Japs werent on Iwo Jima", said a Captain of the 26th Marines, "They were in Iwo Jima."
Casualties for the 26th Marines on 8 Mar 45 were 1 Officer and 74 enlisted men, including Private First Class John F. Samler, he was 23 years old.
Of the twenty-seven Medals of Honor awarded during the 36-day battle of Iwo Jima, fourteen were awarded to 5th Division Marines, and three to Navy Corpsmen of the 5th Division.
The Battle of Iwo Jima took an immense toll. Over 2,000 5th Marine Division Marines and Navy corpsman were killed in action or died of wounds and close to 8,000 were wounded. This was one of every two men in the Division. The line infantry battalions had only a few of the original men they landed with when they boarded ships to leave. Three of the six flag raisers in Rosenthal’s famous photo were killed in action later in the campaign.
In his last letter home dated March 1, 1945, John had reported a brief meeting "Sky" Larkin, another Rye Marine whose death was reported a
week before and added that he himself was ''Fine and feeling okay although a bath, shave and change of clothes would sure suit me fine".
Besides his parents, he was
survived by a sister, Cadet Nurse
Mariellen Samler, who was too ill in
Orange Memorial Hospital, Orange,
N. J., where she was stationed, to be
told of her brother's death; also a
brother, Robert Samler, who lived at the time with his wife on Dearborn Avenue,
John F. Samler is buried at the NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF THE PACIFIC "THE PUNCHBOWL" in HAWAII
★ World War II Victory Medal★ Purple Heart★ Combat Action Ribbon★ American Campaign Medal★ Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation★ Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal★ Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal