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Boatswains Mate Second Class JAMES BAIZE




BM2/C Baize enlisted in the US Navy on October 7, 1943 at age 15 and trained in the Great Lakes area and Camp Pendleton. He was assigned to the USS Fremont participating in the battles of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. His job was to transport troops and supplies to and from the ship during battle. During the Battle of Saipan, Baize was hit as he was landing on the beach, sent to a hospital, and discharged shortly after to fight in the Battle of Guam. Following Guam, he was reassigned to the USS Highlands and sent to the small island of Iwo Jima where he would be one of the few Navy sailors to fight in hand-to-hand combat alongside the 4th Marine Division. On February 19, 1945, Baize was operating LCVP #13 in the second attack wave at Iwo Jima, heading for Red Beach 1. Twenty yards from the beach, the LCVP was hit and exploded, sending Baize into the water. Wounded, he joined a small group of Marines from the 4th Division. Together, the group fought their way under the cover of darkness to take Airfield #1. Fifty feet from the runway, US Navy planes dropped flares, illuminating the Marines’ advance to the enemy. The Japanese opened fire, wounding Baize. He was evacuated from Iwo Jima and sent to Guam; he would spend the remainder of the war in various hospitals. Baize was honorably discharged from the US Naval Hospital in Oregon on July 10, 1945, and received two Purple Hearts.