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Bellefontaine, OH

American Legion holds 68th anniversary remembrance of Iwo Jima invasion (Audio included)

Two Iwo Jima remembrance events were held at the Bellefontaine American Legion Post #173 Tuesday.

The event was to remember the 68th anniversary of the invasion of Iwo Jima on February 19th, 1945.

Charlie Wedel spoke at the legion event because he was part of the invasion with the Company A 5th Engineering Battalion of the 5th Marines. Wedel joined the service at age 18 and did his training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Following his training, he was shipped to the Pacific.

Charlie operated a .50-caliber machine gun and used 20-lb satchel charges to destroy pillboxes and bunkers.

Wedel shared an experience where he was progressing across the island and had a machine gun kicking up sand around his feet. He says that he dived into a shell-hole to avoid the machine gun fire. He then bailed out of the hole because it was hot due to the conditions on the island. Wedel was quoted saying, "He'd rather be shot by a machine gun than burned in that hole."

Following the battle, Charlie was sent to Hawaii and was later part of the occupation in Japan following the Japanese surrender.

Charlie spent four years in the Marine Corps and used his GI Bill to go to welding school. He worked as a welder in Kenton for Rockwell.

Charlie is 87-years-old and currently lives in Middleburg.

The first presentation occurred at 1 pm where Wedel shared his experience and the movie Sands of Iwo Jima was watched. The second event featured a recording of Wedel's earlier presentation.

(Pictured: Russ Strayer speaking at second presentation.)

The Bellefontaine American Legion Post #173 plans to do a similar event on the anniversary of D-Day on June 6th. The post is looking for local residents who took part in the battle to share their experience.

1st Vice Commander Russ Strayer discusses the event and talks about Charlie.

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