CMC Elmer Irving “Eddie” Carruthers, Jr

CMC Elmer Irving “Eddie” Carruthers, Jr

Charlottesville, Charlottesville City, Virginia, USA
Death 20 Nov 1943 (aged 39)
Bougainville (North Solomons), Papua New Guinea
Burial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot F, Row 4, Grave 31
Memorial ID 56772394 · View Source
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Husband of Virginia Baker Carruthers whom he married in about 1927.

Father of Ellie Logan Carruthers who was born on November 17, 1932.

He resided in Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland prior to the war.

Elmer "Eddie" served as a Chief Carpenter's Mate, 25th Naval Construction Battalion, in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

The 25th Naval Construction Battalion was attached to the Third Marine Division, United States Marine Corps during the battle for Bougainville. The initial landing took place on the Cape Torokina region of Bougainville on November 1, 1943.

He was "Killed In Action" in Bougainville (North Solomons), Papua New Guinea during the war.

He was awarded a "Silver Star" and a Purple Heart.

Service # 6586399

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Below Silver Star synopsis & News Story submitted by:
steve s

Silver Star
Elmer I. Carruthers , Jr.
Service: Navy
Rank: Chief Carpenter's Mate
Action Date: November 20, 1943

SYNOPSIS: Chief Carpenter's Mate Elmer I. Carruthers, Jr. (NSN: 6586399), United States Navy, was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with a Naval Construction Battalion at Bougainville, 20 November 1943.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 339 (June 1945)

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News Story:

“On November 20, 1943, the advance of the United States Marines along the River Piva on Bougainville, British Solomons Islands was held up due to the resistance of the Nips and also due to the fact that there was not sufficient clearing beyond the front lines to permit the Marines to advance in numbers. At that time the front line was some three hundred yards west of Piva River though a path had been “bull-dozed” nearly half a mile east beyond the river and the Marines were in scattered numbers on either side of the path. Company “I” of the 25th Naval Construction Battalion had been assigned the task of driving a path on beyond this point and to such point as the Nips could be contacted and driven back. It had been a very dangerous and tedious piece of work and it had been necessary for the Marines to guard the “Sea Bees” while they worked in the area making the needed clearing for a further advance.

Chief Carpenter's Mate Elmer Irving Carruthers, Jr. had been in the area the previous day with his men and was not scheduled to return there on the 20th. Carruthers however, volunteered to go and it apparently eased the minds of those assigned to go in to have him along as he had proved himself a good leader and held the courage of the men together. The party set out on the morning of the 20th of November. They were being guarded by a platoon of Marines under the command of a Captain. Sniper fire was coming into the area, but without serious damage to any of the Sea Bees. Suddenly Japanese mortars opened up and it was necessary for all to seek cover quickly, since it was apparent that the Nips had the range. Carruthers ordered his men to seek cover under the blade of the “bull-dozer,” and as there was not room for him there he fell flat on his face on the ground near a large tree with Marines doing the same thing all around him. A mortar shell hit the top of the tree, and simultaneously another mortar shell hit the ground. Both exploded. The five “See Beas” under the blade of the “bull-dozer” were slightly wounded. Four Marines were killed and several wounded. Carruthers received a shell fragment through his left side (entering from the back) and in his leg.

Carruthers said, “I am pretty badly wounded and I am going to die, for it got me in a vital spot.” Immediately they started to get him out and to a dressing station. Father Robert J. Cronin, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Naval Reserve, attached to the Marine Raiders in the area came running to assist and was most helpful in getting him out of the danger zone and towards the dressing station, but he died before they could reach the station.

On the morning of November 21, 1943, he was buried in Island Cemetery No. 3. Father Cronin read the burial service as there were no Protestant chaplains available at that time. As many of his fellow men as could be spared went to the funeral and those who could not be spared to attend asked the ones going to pay their respects to him.

It was the desire of the Battalion that some token of esteem be given to Carruthers so a bridge on Bougainville Highway 25 was named, “CARRUTHERS BRIDGE,” plus the following inscription on the marker (one on each side of the bridge): “Dedicated to Eddie (his nickname) I. Carruthers, Jr., who gave his life blazing a trail beyond the front lines.” The members of his Company cast a bronze tablet which was placed at the foot of his grave with the following inscription: IN MEMORY OF EDDIE I. CARRUTHERS, JR., C.C.M. 25th N.C.B. WHO GAVE HIS LIFE BLAZING A TRAIL BEYOND THE FRONT LINES NOVEMBER 20, 1943.”

He is buried in Grave 14, Row 1, Island Cemetery No. 3, Island of Bougainville, British Solomon Islands.


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  • Maintained by: Russ Pickett
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56772394
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for CMC Elmer Irving “Eddie” Carruthers, Jr (14 Feb 1904–20 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56772394, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .