Lieut Merle Ralph Cory

Death 14 Aug 1942 (aged 43)
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Burial University Place, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 133992079 · View Source
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World War II
Enlisted 26 May 1942
His discharge date same as his date of death.
Awarded the Purple Heart Posth.
1st Lt.
U.S. Marine Corps
1st Marine Div.

His brother, Donald W. Cory, 643 Skyline Drive, Tacoma 66, Washington, applied for his bronze marker.

MERLE RALPH CORY was in his mid 40's and working as a civilian cryptanalysis at the OP-20-GZ (Translation and Dissemination Section), the organization responsible for breaking the Japanese cryptic code prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then Mr. Cory was the translator who intercepted the encrypted message warning of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Following December 7th, he resigned to join the Marine Corps. He was too old for a regular enlistment, but was offered a direct commission as a 2nd Lieutenant to fill the Marine Corps' crisis shortage of Japanese linguists. Cory was assigned to the S-2 of the Fifth Marines of the 1st Marine Division. He soon found himself aboard ship heading for Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942.
On Guadalcanal, Lt Cory interrogated several Japanese prisoners of war, discovering that a large number of Japanese "Marines" and laborers were willing to surrender. Based on this information, LtCol Frank Goettge organized a 25-man patrol, along with Lt Cory, to bring them in.
On August 12, The Goettge Patrol deployed to the designated area and was immediately taken under fire from the Japanese. Col Goettge was killed with the first burst of fire, and Lt Cory fell gravely wounded with a bullet in the stomach. The ensuing battle left the entire patrol killed, save three. Cory was listed as missing in action on 13 August 1942, which was changed to Killed in Action (body not recovered) a year later.
Lt Merle Ralph Cory, USMCR, is honored with a headstone erected in New Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Washington.

Gravesite Details Please see Memorial 56781823 for more details about this very fine and brave soldier.

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Added: 7 Aug 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 133992079
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Merle Ralph Cory (8 Nov 1898–14 Aug 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 133992079, citing New Tacoma Cemetery, University Place, Pierce County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Alice (contributor 47083912) .