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"And that's one thing about the Marine Corps... they just kept you going from island to island, until you got wounded or killed. They just kept you going." (Audio interview, 42:55)

   Leonard Kiesel
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Marine Corps
Service Location: Parris Island, South Carolina; Lakehurst, New Jersey; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands)
Rank: Sergeant
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Leonard Kiesel enlisted in the Marines in 1940, just months before the draft was reinstated. Stationed at the Naval Air Base in Jacksonville, Florida, at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kiesel was part of a group of Marines who captured three Italian ships trying to flee the harbor--an action which, he claims, should count as the first American offensive action of the war. Soon after, he joined the paratroops and served in the Pacific Theater. Badly injured trying to knock out a machine gun nest during the initial landings in the Battle of Guadalcanal, he was sent back home to the States, where he remained for the rest of the war.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (58 min.)
 Personal Correspondence
»View List (3 items)
 Other Materials
»News article written by veteran, "7 December 1941--a different story"
More like this
»The War
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
His first time jumping from an airplane. (01:50) Landing at Gavatu during the Battle of Guadalcanal. (02:45) His only stay in the brig. (01:53)
Getting wounded at Gavatu. (07:56) "We claim to be the 1st offensive action of WWII"-in Jacksonville, Florida. (05:09) Souvenir collectors. (01:36)
 Personal Correspondence (3 items)
Letter from Leonard Kiesel to the an unidentified "History Department" [May 2001] Letter from the Italian Naval Attache, Washington, D.C. [1/1995] Letter from the Italian Naval Attache, Washington, D.C. [6/14/1996]

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  October 26, 2011
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