IWO JIMA MYTH OF THE DAY:
Posted on the Marine Corps History Division Facebook page
by Annette Amerman, historian.
The rumor starts: “Dialog from a Tonight Show ... Johnny Carson ... His guest was Lee Marvin. Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ... and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded." And you know how Lee was ..."Yeah, yeah ... I got shot square in the ass and they gave me the cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi ... bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But Johnny at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew ... We both got the Cross the same day but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb bastard actually stood up on Red Beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. That Sergeant and I have been life long friends. "When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on my belly on the litter ..."Where'd they get you Lee?"... "Well Bob ... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse.".....
"Johnny, I'm not lying ... Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever Knew ... Bob Keeshan ...You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."
THE TRUTH: The truth is simply that Bob Keeshan and Lee Marvin were both Marines in World War II. Bob Keeshan entered the Marine Corps too late and was still in the U.S. during the Iwo Jima campaign. Lee Marvin, however, was wounded. However, Marvin was wounded on Saipan on 18 June 1944 and was still recovering when Marines took Pacific Island. Neither man was awarded the Navy Cross. You can see Lee Marvin’s casualty card in our photo section.
HOWEVER: Should anyone have actual video footage of Lee Marvin making these claims, please forward to us at the History Division. We are always interested in making sure the historical record is correct.
Front of Lee Marvin's casualty card.
The reverse of Lee Marvin's casualty card. Please note, we have redacted some information for Privacy Act reasons, despite the fact most of what is removed is available elsewhere.
This page was last updated: February 21, 2012
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