Pvt. Darrell W. Heath, L/3/8
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath, USMC, 1942
Darrell W. Heath (Chicago, Illinois) joined L Company of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines on February 14th, 1943. He spent about nine months in New Zealand while waiting and preparing for the 2nd Division s next action. While in New Zealand, Pvt. Heath played on a U.S. Marine baseball team. On March 5th, 1943, he participated in an exhibition game at Wellingtons Athletic Park, where 25,000 people attended. Pvt. Heath always spoke very highly of New Zealand and the people he met while there.
On October 18th, 1943, Pvt. Heath embarked on the USS Monrovia and sailed to Efate, New Hebrides. There, he and the rest of the 2nd Division participated in practice landing operations. On November 13th, Pvt. Heath, again, embarked on the USS Monrovia. His ship arrived at a location off the cost of Tarawa Atoll on November 20th, 1943.
In the late morning of November 20th, Pvt. Heaths 3/8 Marines were ordered to land on the island of Betio. By all accounts, the landing was very difficult and many, many casualties were endured. Pvt. Heath made it to the beach that day and spent the rest of the day and night fighting beside his fellow Marines.
On November 21st, the second day of the battle, Pvt. Heath was wounded in action at 1700. The medical report reads: Running to get to rear echelon when a shell fell in front of him, lost consciousness for perhaps 10 minutes. Was carried back to sick bay. In getting up had no power in right leg, head buzzing, headache, and sore knee. Feels faint at times. On December 16th 1943, Pvt. Heath reported: A shell exploded about 10 feet in front of me ... felt a sensation of being forcibly struck then lost consciousness for 15 minutes ... made way back to the dressing station ... have been having headache and ringing in ears since. All reports reflect that Pvt. Heath received shrapnel wounds to his right leg and a severe concussion. He was awarded a Purple Heart on December 7th, 1943.
After being wounded, Pvt. Heath was transported to the USS Feland for further treatment. This concluded his experiences at Tarawa.
Pvt. Heath was honorably discharged from the United States Marines on May 31st, 1944. He went on to lead a very comfortable life. Living in Chicago, Heath worked most of his post service years as a printer. He married his sweetheart from before the war, Louise Esposito. They had one child, Patricia. They also enjoyed four grandchildren. Darrell Heath passed away on March 18th, 1994, as always, a proud Marine.
Submitted by Jason Veto (First Grandson of Pvt. Darrell W. Heath)
John "Lefty" Argotus, New Zealand, 1943
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath; date and location unknown
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath poudly wielding his borrowed .45; unknown location and date.
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath in New Zealand, 1943
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath taking batting practice in New Zealand, 1943
Marine ballplayers on the bench, John Argotus, far left, New Zealand, 1943
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath warming up, New Zealand, 1943
More batting practice for Pvt. Heath, New Zealand, 1943
Marine ballplayers (Pvt. Darrell W. Heath tallest) with a distinguished, but, unidentified civilian, New Zealand, 1943.
USMC baseball team photo, Pvt. Darrell W. Heath is tallest without cap.
Newspaper clipping from March, 1943 depicting a baseball game between USMC teams at New Zealand's Athletic Park ... over 25,000 attended. Pvt. Darrell W. Heath is highlighted.
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath (right) with an unidentified Marine; unknown location and date.
An unidentified Marine; unknown location and date.
An unidentified Marine; Unknown location and date.
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath (top right) with an unidentified Marine and three unidentified sailors.
Pvt. Darrell W. Heath (far right) with an unidentified Marine and three unidentified sailors.
copyright 2006 T.O.T.W.
Created 14 March 2006 - Updated 19 March 2006