Notable Deaths ›

John Moon (1916–2019), oldest known surviving veteran of Iwo Jima

USMC / Western Illinois University via Twitter

Served in the Marine Corps 5th Division

John Moon was believed to be the oldest known surviving veteran of Iwo Jima. He served in the Marine Corps 5th Division which saw heavy fighting against the Japanese Army on the island of Iwo Jima in 1945. He fought on the island for 13 days before being wounded. He helped another injured soldier make it to a rear aid station. He was then sent back to Hawaii to recover. He was 28 at the time of the battle.

After the war he opened and operated the S & J Café in his hometown of Macomb, Illinois for 20 years, followed by a candy store for another 20 years.

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Died: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 (Who else died on October 29?)

Details of death: Died in Macomb, Illinois at the age of 103.


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Enlisting after Pearl Harbor: Moon was working for Caterpillar Tractor Company in East Peoria, Illinois, as a physical test operator at the time Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was married and had an 18-month-old son at the time.

Notable quote: “I was working at Caterpillar when I heard them announce that Pearl Harbor had taken place, and I told my wife when I went home this is going to be quite a serious war. They say it’s going to be a war to end all wars, which of course it wasn’t, but that was what the newspapers were touting, this will be the war to end all wars. And I said my son, Paul, is only 18 months old, and I need to help the United States make the world safe for that little fellow,” he told the Veterans History Project in 2014, when he was 98.

Full obituary: WGEM

Related lives:

  • Francis Currey (1925–2019), WWII hero earned Medal of Honor
  • Lauren Bruner (1920–2019), one of the last survivors of Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona
  • Dick Churchill (2019), last surviving WWII “Great Escape” team member