|Birth: ||Apr. 5, 1924|
|Death: ||May 20, 1945|
Lawrence Edwin Selig was the son of Lawrence Selig and Anna ______. He attended grade school at Holy Rosary Parochial School in Stuttgart then attended Stuttgart High School and Arkansas Polytechnic College at Russellville, Arkansas.
Selig followed his boyhood friend Tom Buckley by joining the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 1943, attending boot camp at San Diego and infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California. And, like Tom, Selig volunteered to become a Marine Raider and underwent several more months of intensive combat training. On July 1, 1943, his friend Tom was killed in action with the Company "O", 4th Marine Raider Battalion in the Solomons (He is buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila Philippines).
In November, 1943, Selig shipped out for New Caledonia in the South Pacific and was immediately thrown into action on Puruata Island, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, assigned to Company "L", 3rd Raider Battalion, 1st Marine Raider Regiment. The 3d Raider Battalion (less Company M) had assaulted Puruata Island off Cape Torokina, on November 1, 1943. Japanese defenses in the landing area consisted of a single company supported by a 75mm gun. One platoon occupied Puruata and a squad held Torokina Island, while the rest of the Japanese infantry and the gun were dug in on the cape itself. The small Japanese force gave a good account of itself. The 75mm gun enfiladed the eastern landing beaches, while machine guns on the two small islands and the cape placed the approaches to this area in a cross-fire. The result was havoc among the initial right flank assault waves, which landed in considerable disorder. The 75mm gun destroyed four landing craft and damaged 10 others before Sergeant Robert A. Owens of the 1st Battalion, 3d Marines silenced it (Owens received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his single-handed charge against the key position.) The 3d Raiders silenced the machine guns on Puruata on D-day, and destroyed the last defenders on that island by late afternoon on 2 November. Total raider casualties to this point were three killed and 15 wounded. Over the next several days the Marines advanced inland to extend their perimeter. There were occasional engagements with small enemy patrols, but the greatest resistance during this period came from the terrain, which consisted largely of swampland and dense jungle once one moved beyond the beach. The thing most Marines would remember about Bougainville would be the deep, sucking mud that seemed to cover everything not already underwater. On 4 November another unit relieved the 2d Raider Battalion on the line, and both battalions of the Raider regiment were attached to the 9th Marines. The Raiders maintained responsibility for the Piva Trail roadblock, and companies rotated out to the position every couple of days. Selig was fortunate in that he missed most of this battle. (Combat information provided by the Marine Raider Association).
By February 1, 1944, the four Marine Raiders battalions were assigned to the re-established 4th Marine Regiment, bearing the name and honors of the original 4th Marines who were lost in the fall of the Philippines in 1942. The 1st, 4th, and 3rd Raider Battalions became respectively the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions, 4th Marines (The 2nd Raider Battalion became the regimental weapons company). The 4th Marines, combined with the 22nd Marine and the 29th Marine Regiment, was assigned to the newly organized 6th Marine Division (formed at Guadalcanal September 7, 1944) and fought at Guam and Okinawa. Selig was assigned to Company "L", Third Battalion, 4th Marines.
Selig landed on Okinawa with the 4th Marines on April 1, 1945. For nearly 50 days he was involved off and on in active combat against the entrenched and fanatical Japanese Army. During the Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, the 4th Marines were brought in as reserve. The hill was critical to keep Japanese guns from bombarding the Allied forces who had captured Naha and the airstrip that would prove vital to the Allied effort to bomb mainland Japan. Company L was active in the fight having been brought up into the thick of the battle on or about May 16th. The Marines would take the hill, and then the Japanese would push them back; then the Marines would again take the hill back. It took 11 tries during a 12-day period before the hill wa securely in American hands. The victory though, was bittersweet as Sugar Loaf practically decimated three regiments before the hill was taken. The estimated casualties were 1,656 Marines killed and another 7,429 wounded. While the impact of these regimental losses were great it was especially heavy at the platoon or squad level; they simple ceased to exist. One of those killed on Sugar Loaf Hill was Lawrence Selig.
Selig's body was temporarily interred on Okinawa but was returned to the United States at the request of his family after the war. He was interred at the Holy rosary Catholic cemetery in Stuttgart, Arkansas, next to his grandparents.
Corporal Lawrence Edwin Selig, Sn# 814958, earned the following badges/decorations for his service during World War II:
- Purple Heart Medal (posthumously)
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation with blue star
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with three battle stars
- World War II Victory Medal
- Marine Corps Basic Qualification badge with bars
- Marine Corps Marksmanship badge
Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery
Created by: Rick Lawrence
Record added: Feb 15, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105265965
In honored remembrance of your valiant service and ultimate sacrifice for our great Nation and the Allied cause during World War II. May it not have been in vain.|
Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET)
Added: Feb. 16, 2013