John Ferguson, Chairman

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                          JOHN M  FERGUSON ----1/B

          My father was a Sargent in the 2nd Army division during WW1.  This was the same army division that the 5th Marines were attached to at the Battle of Bellou Woods. A Marine General commanded the Division.  My father was attached to the 5th Regiment during that Battle.  

        I only bring this out as background as to why my father was completely opposed to my getting into the Marines even if I had been 21. 

   So I had to, like many of you, use subterfuge.  I paid a drunken logger to act as my father and sign papers in front of a Notary Public stating I was of legal age. 

        To take one step farther back, I quit school several years before that, and had ended up as a welder in a shipyard and as a professional fighter.  I was also a sparing partner to Lou Nova, the Argentine who was training to fight Joe Lewis for the worlds Heavy weight championship.  So at 6’2’ and 203 lbs. I was in very good condition when I arrived in Boot camp in San Diego. 

       Upon completion of Boot Camp they were asking for volunteers for the Raider Battalions.  Col. Carlson and a Major Antonelle interviewed me and I was accepted.  I trained at San Onifry Canyon on North side of Camp Endelton and at Camp Elliot. 

    I shipped out of San Diego on the H.M.S. Welterhaven and after 18 days-arrived in New Caledonia. I was then placed in the first squad 3rd platoon Baker Company ,1st Marine Raider Battalion. 

   By this time my father had received my going overseas card that all of us had to fill out and sign. The Marines offered my father that they would bring me back if he wished, but he declined saying I had made my bed and now would have to sleep in it. 

    The 3rd Platoon Lt. Took one look at me and made sure I was issued a B.A.R., which I still carry parts of it in my right arm and hand. 

     Being a very conservative Republican, one of my fondest memories was around Christmas on New Caledonia, when Mrs. Roosevelt along with a USO show gave a performance at the 1St Marine Raider camp.  The USO part went off without a hitch until it got toward the end of the show.  A few  Raiders had borrowed a  army tank and had driven it up on the Hill overlooking the camp.   They cut loose with a few rounds fired over every one’s head and brought the show to a screeching halt and of course the first lady was whisked away in a hurry. To my knowledge no one could ever prove who had been responsible, but the whole Battalion suffered for a few days. 

     It was shortly after that incident that the Battalion was shipped back up to the canal were our base was located.  Then followed the Emirau operation And preparations for the Marianas Island campaign. 

     As our Amphibious tractor crawled up on the beach on Guam , it suffered a direct hit from a artillery shell, or hit a large mine. I never knew which. The effects were the same, devastating.  Much later,  part of my squad were trying to get some Japs that we had seen from a distance enter this gully . The gully had 6ft. elephant grass that cut visibility to near zero.   It was here that I got clobbered with three hand grenades, and ended my war. 

      I guess I looked like I was dead because they cut my dog tags off and reported me killed in action.  Marine Corps never got the word that I was alive and had been sent down to Navy Hospital in the New  Hebrides. 

      After my folks were awarded my Purple Heart Posthumously, gotten the GI insurance papers and received all kinds of letters of regret from the Commandant  of the Marine Corps,  Governor of Oregon, District Naval Chaplain etc., it came to some one’s attention that they had a Marine at the San Diego  Navel Hospital that was trying to get paid.  Was it  because he had not collected for months and had run out of credit from borrowing from friends?  So the Marines got word. The Marine Commandant, the District Chaplin, The Governor Of Oregon, and all the rest agreed that I was alive and should be paid. 

       The Purple Heart that my folks had was returned to the Marines and the Marines arranged, along with a bunch of other Marines, for a formal  ceremony  to be held to award various medals.  A four striper from the Navy did the Honors and allowed me to rejoin the ranks of the living and more importantly, be put back on the payroll so that I could get my back pay. 

      I was Discharged from the Marines at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, with a 80 percent Disability rating that was later raised to 100%.  And four years ago they added a housebound category. That category allowed the V.A. to partially remodel my house so I could get around better