Sgt Jay Wormser USMC WWII family photo

United States Marine Corpscirca. 1942

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps
Triangle, United States

Sergeant Jay F. Wormser Family photo
Wounded in Action, 19 February 1945
Aged 22

Jay F. Wormser enlisted in the Marine Corps on 19 June 1942. He completed training at Parris Island and attended school at Quantico before leaving for the Pacific in April 1944 with the 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. As part of the Fifth Amphibious Corps, Wormser landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, 19 February 1945.

He wrote of his experiences in a personal memoir:
When we landed it was all hell broke loose, we tried to advance through the deep lava sand with our 60 lbs of equipment...I saw several dead Marines and wondered when I would be next to die. As we moved, Japanese shells exploded around us, and we dug into the sand trying to make cover.

Sgt Wormser, alongside PFC William Ohlmacher and another unidentified Marine, tried to dig a foxhole but the volcanic sand made the task impossible as the holes refilled as quickly as they were dug. The Marines took cover in a nearby shell hole with just enough room for the three of them to lay down. Wormser was in the middle with Ohlmacher behind him. Just as soon as they lay down, the Marine in front of Wormser was hit; Wormser patched him up and continued to take cover. Suddenly, Wormser felt a sharp sting in his backside and then in his hip; he was alive, but bleeding badly. Several minutes passed and as more shells exploded around the three Marines, Wormser felt a more intense “sledgehammer like blow” to his left foot. As he sat up to examine his injury, he saw what remained of Ohlmacher, tattered pieces of a uniform laid where the young Marine once had. His friend had taken a mortar round to the back and was killed instantly.

Wormser made it off the island in a leaky landing craft, where two Marines drowned in their stretchers. He earned the Purple Heart for his actions that day and spent the next year at various medical hospitals enduring several surgeries before being medically discharged in August 1945.


  • Title: Sgt Jay Wormser USMC WWII family photo
  • Creator: United States Marine Corps
  • Date Created: circa. 1942
  • Location Created: United States
  • External Link: National Museum of the Marine Corps

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