PVT Howard Russell Wilkins
1st Marines, U.S. Marine Corps
KIA 22 May, 1945
-- Ted Wilkins Sr. --
I understand that my father, who I deeply miss to this day, died so that others and I could enjoy
some of the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. I grew up not knowing who he was, in my later years,
because so much was hidden from me, or just kept out of my reach. I started asking a lot of questions
of my aunt - his sister, Katie, who left me with a lot of information and many pictures of him and some
of the family. As a boy, I grew up with a lot of curiosity and as I get older my hunger for the information
I am now 60 and time is not a luxury for me and I want to leave as much memory to my family as is possible.
As I read some of what others have written, it sooths my heart knowing he is not alone wherever he may be.
And more information is out there. I have had requests from others to give me information, but I need to
know his unit. All I know is that he was a B.A.R. man and served with the 1st Marines.
I have read books on his final day what was happening that lead to his death. But how he was killed I am not
sure. My grandmother gave me one story, but my aunt Katie, who I tend to believe, told me he was in a fire fight
with the Japanese. He was wounded and taken back to camp, but he refused to stay there and went back out to
where his buddies were and was killed. This tells me some of what type of man he must have been.
The day of May 22, 1945 was a very rainy, muddy place and the fighting conditions had to just be awful, and just
to hear from someone who survived that day and who possibly served with him, if I might be so lucky, or someone's
father or mother who served in Okinawa on that day, week, or month, who might have been close to this situation.
Saying all this, my emotion is deep when I think of my father and his death - and not knowing, and I just feel for
all who take the time to read these stories and feel their emptiness, that the others don't feel that have not
suffered our loss. I am hoping these efforts that I and many others make will bring some comfort to you, as it
has to me. Thank You.