Landmarks of Dekalb County, Alabama

World War II Veterans Book: Sidney Allison Malone

An Excerpt

Sidney Allison Malone, Sr. was born December 9, 1916.
He died October 7, 1963.
Father: George Lee Malone.
Mother: Ada (Baxter) Malone.
Wife: Grace Elizabeth (Hughes) Malone.
Date of marriage: June 8, 1941.
Children: Sidney Allison (“Al”) Malone, Jr., Beam Hughes Malone.
Brothers: John Robert Malone, Reuben Jack Malone, George Wallace Malone.
Sisters: Dusty Shuff, Jesse Roberts, Purl Leath, Mary Kate Dyar.

Sidney Allison Malone

Sidney Allison Malone, Sr. enlisted to serve in the US Marines October 7, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama. When he was honorably discharged March 22, 1946 from Pensacola, Florida, he had advanced from the rank of private to the rank of corporal.

In basic training, Malone completed courses that qualified him as a shore party man. He also earned his qualification badge as a marksman with a rifle. An important element in an amphibious operation was the shore party, which included the labor for quick unloading under difficult circumstances. In the Central Pacific, where Malone served from September 19, 1944 to February 1, 1946, troop space was limited in areas of large over-water movement, making the job more difficult and more dangerous. At times casualties were so heavy that shore party men had to assume additional duties of grave digging and stretcher bearing for the dead and wounded soldiers.

Malone was assigned to the Fifth Marine Division, nicknamed “The Spearhead” and participated in action against the Japanese on Iwo Jima from February 19, 1945 to March 27, 1945.

The operation was to be timed so that LVTs (landing vehicles tracked) would comprise the first wave to hit the beach. These vehicles were to advance inland until the armored amphibians could use their 75mm howitzers and machine guns to keep the enemy down, giving some measure of protection to succeeding waves of marines who were the most vulnerable to enemy fire as they debarked from the LVTs.

Enemy positions were in mazes of natural caves, pillboxes, stone walls and trenches. While Americans fought above ground the Japanese remained hidden underground, and could pop-up at will to take aim at the Allies.

On the evening of March 25, D-day-plus-34, the assault on the rocky fortress of Iwo Jima appeared to be over. Word was received that the Fifth Marine Division had snuffed out the final enemy cave in “the Gorge” on that evening. Even as the commander was preparing his announcement that the battle had ended on Iwo Jima, a well-organized 300-man enemy force emerged from northern caves, slipping into positions around the island’s rear base area where newly arrived Army pilots of the VII Fighter Command were sleeping in their tents. In a surprise nighttime attack, the Japanese combatants fell on the sleeping pilots and the fighting was as vicious and bloody as any other that occurred on Iwo Jima.

The surviving pilots and members of the 5th Pioneer Battalion launched a counterattack, and only at daybreak was the awful carnage revealed: 300 dead Japanese, more than 100 slain pilots, Seabees and pioneers, and another 200 Americans wounded. Not many of the Japanese warriors had committed suicide – most had died in place – no doubt grateful to strike one final blow for the Emperor.

Malone and the Fifth Marines, exposed to the full fury of the Japanese, had clawed their way forward a yard at a time, across Iwo Jima’s loose volcanic ash. Foot by foot, Marines pushed forward until the last Japanese pocket was crushed on March 25, 1945. Every marine, everywhere on the island, was always in range of Japanese guns. The Fifth Marine Division fought and died, but it never stopped. It had earned its name “The Spearhead.”

Malone’s son made the following statement about his dad’s participation in the long, hard battle of Iwo Jima: “After the famous raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi, which most people believe brought an end to the battle, my father, who was a squad leader, and several of his men became separated during battle, and remained separated for 29 days. They survived on Japanese rations taken from dead Japanese soldiers. When the battle finally ended and the troops were reassembled, my father and only two of his squad had survived.”

Medals awarded: Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with a Bronze Battle Star (for Iwo Jima), World War II Victory Medal.

Sidney Allison Malone left his hometown of Fort Payne to serve his country, and returned there after discharge. He is buried in Lebanon Cemetery.