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Lt. James Carroll head & shoulders

Major James Sutherd Carroll
1913- 1989

James S. Carroll was the son of Jesse Marshall Carroll and Georgia Corbin of Versailles, Kentucky. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and was raised in Paducah, Owensboro, and Lexington. He participated in boxing, winning the Golden Gloves Championship in the Welterweight class, and track, setting a state record in the 100 yd dash. He graduated from the University of Kentucky Law School and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar. He practiced in Lexington until the beginning of WWII.

On 19 October 1942 Private Carroll enlisted in the USMC and attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 30 December. Lieutenant Carroll remained at Quantico for the Infantry Officers course and was then assigned to Camp Lejeune where he commanded a train that crossed the United States with a group of enlisted men who had been in the brig for missing movements and AWOL. His mission was to get them to the West Coast so they could be deployed to the Pacific, and he had an armed detachment to ensure that happened. The detachment arrived in San Diego after the four-day trip intact.

Lieutenant Carroll shipped out for Samoa on 17 April aboard the SS Lurline and arrived on 27 April. He served first as an instructor on the 3" Anti Aircraft Gun and in Rifle Platoon tactics at the Jungle Warfare School at Tutulia, Samoa. On May 11th he was reassigned to the Samoa Defense Force as the Chief of Staff's Aide-de-Camp, Naval Censor Officer, and a Coding Officer in the Message Center. On 18 November he was "injured at or about 11:00 pm while riving [a] Jeep. [The] Hood of [the] Jeep flew up blocking [his] vision, [and the] Jeep ran into [a] ditch throwing [him]... against the windshield sustaining the Intra-Cranial injury." He remained sick in the hospital at Samoa until New Year's Day, 1944, when he sailed on the USS General John Pope to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland. There he had his jaw wired together. The injury resulted in a scar that he carried for the rest of his life. On 10 February he was transferred to the Naval Convalescent Hospital in Yosemite National Park where he remained until 5 July 1944.

In this assignment, Lieutenant Carroll had been given the additional duty of Wine Steward. It was his job to protect and care for the alcohol. At one time he was told by his commander that there was to be a party, but he was only to allow a certain amount of alcohol out of the wine locker, no matter what he might hear later. He issued the prescribed amount as he was told, and then headed for the hills with the key. Soon the Marines were hollering for more of the brew, including his boss, as he looked down on the party. Lieutenant Carroll was true in obeying his last sober command, and remained in hills till the next morning.

At another time, he was instructed to get his combat gear because the staff was to go on a night mission. The general took him and several others, and at night they went ashore on a neighboring Island that was occupied by the enemy.

Lieutenant Carroll was then assigned to Washington, DC where he served in the Discipline Division reviewing appeals and cases. At this time he received a promotion to First Lieutenant. He also served as the assistant Legal Assistance Officer at HQ, Marine Corps. While there, working in the Personnel Department, he befriended an old Sergeant Major who had been called up out of retirement for the war. The Sergeant Major cut orders for both for deployment to the Pacific. In April of 1945 he was detached to the Fleet Marine Force Pacific. He traveled to Pearl Harbor and waited there for an assignment.

The last great battle of the war was underway on Okinawa, and the 29th "Raggedy Assed" Marines were fighting along side of their sister regiments to take Sugar Loaf Hill. They finally did, after great losses, on 18 May, when they held the hill and broke through the Machinato Line. On 19 May the 4th Marines relieved the 29th. Lieutenant Carroll joined the 29th Marines on 20 May as they stood down for refitting, reorganization, and a brief respite. He was assigned as the Regimental Graves Registration Officer, and had the grisly job of directing the Regimental Band in recovering the many dead from the battlefield. He once said the landscape of Sugar Loaf looked like the surface of the moon, and was denuded and scarred from the bombardment by large 16-inch shells and bombs. He remembered vividly the stench that arose from the place from the thousands of corpses.

On 30 May the 29th and 22nd Marines, strengthened by reinforcements, drove through the Shichina area to the Kokuba estuary, isolating the island's capital. The Marines decided to bypass the capital and launched an amphibious assault on Oroku Peninsula, behind the Japanese. This operation helped to expedite the end of the battle, but the Japs were tenacious and fought for every inch. They used caves extensively on Okinawa. At one point, Lieutenant Carroll entered a cave with an NCO, and as they crawled along, Carroll in front, they ran into a Jap with his sights on them. Carroll heard a loud crack and figured he was a goner, but the Marine behind him had reached over his shoulder and fired at the Jap, the 45 Automatic discharging right next to Carroll's ear. Another time, Lieutenant Carroll spied a Jap moving along a distant ridge. As an officer he carried an M1 Carbine, but it was only good for close in fighting. He was an expert shot, and he switched rifles with an infantryman and dropped the Jap on the run. At another time he rushed forward from his position with some of his detachment to recover a Marine who, being wounded, had fallen. When he got there, the Marine was an officer, who upon looking up said, "Jim Carroll, well son of a bitch," The fallen comrade was a fraternity brother from the University of Kentucky that he had not seen since the start of the war.

The official record states that Lieutenant Carroll embarked on the SS Cape Perpetua at Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands and sailed to Guam on 18 July 1945. There Carroll served as the S1 until 12 September when he was listed as sick in the Fleet Hospital. In later years he told the story of his injury. He was with a black NCO, a corporal (the Marine Corps had just integrated) taking a water break and squatting to keep low. A 20-millimeter Jap round landed between them and the last thing he remembered was the corporal flipping head over heels.

Lieutenant Carroll embarked upon the USS Saratoga at Pearl Harbor and arrived in San Francisco on 31 October 1945 and was listed as a member of the Casualty Company. He was transferred to New York on 11 November of 1945 to the Casualty Company there. He was promoted to Captain while in the hospital, and remained in New York there until he was separated from Active Service on 14 November 1946.

For his service, Captain Carroll was awarded the Purple Heart, the Word War II Victory medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 bronze star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Honorable Serve Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck), and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.

Captain Carroll returned to Lexington and resumed his law practice. He transferred to the Marine Reserves in Lexington. During the Korean War, he was alerted for deployment, but the orders were changed when he was promoted to the rank of Major. He remained active for several years after twenty years of service retired in the rank of Major.

Mark's father

William Manchester's Book, Goodbye Darkness
Battle for Okinawa
Official US Army History of Okinawa
6th Marine Div Organization

Updated 5:12 PM 1/26/2013
Mark S. Carroll