Lyman and Minnie Gleason were in their 40s when the baby arrived at their doorstep in a shoebox, and James Gleason would grow up near Youngstown, Ohio. On his 17th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy.
“Everybody was real patriotic at that particular time,” Gleason said in an interview with the Tribune two years ago at his home in Tampa.
On Aug. 3, 1942, he was called up, and after boot camp, transferred to the Marines, who didn’t have their own medics or chaplains. He volunteered for a newly formed group called the Marine Raiders.
James Gleason, 1943
There were four Marine Raider battalions and two Raider regiments that saw action in the Pacific between 1942 and 1944 and were formed to conduct amphibious raids and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines.
The Raiders went on to participate in campaigns across the Pacific Ocean and earned more than 700 decorations…