Today, October 25, 2020, is the 75th anniversary of the Battle Iwo Jima. The day is also the day of the Marine Corps Marathon – which has gone virtual this year. But T. Fred Harvey Jr, 96, and his three friends plan to do the 26.2 mile race in Fredericksburg, Texas, and push Fred across the finish line at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Fred will do the race in a specially built wheelchair.
Dr. Glenn Paige, Chris Haley and Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Lawrence will run with Harvey. Dr. Paige has run several marathons previously, according to Fox. The chair Harvey will race in cost $5,000 (funds raised by his friends). It is inscribed wtih his name, and has pictures of Harvey and his patches and medals on it. The plan for the chair is to be used by other disabled veterans in the future to be a part of the Marine Corps Marathon.
UPDATE: Fred finished the marathon in 5 hours, 20 minutes, 8 seconds. Congratulations, Marine!
As a Private First Class during WWII, Thiele Fred Harvey Jr was sent to Iwo Jima, where he earned a Silver Star for his valorous actions. His citation reads,
“The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class Thiele F. Harvey, Jr. (MCSN: 820917), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving with Company C, First Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands on 20 February 1945.
When his three man patrol which was sent out to establish contact with the adjoining company was ambushed by heavy fire form an enemy machine gun and one of the men was seriously wounded, Private First Class Harvey dragged the fallen Marine under heavy fire to the shelter of a nearby hole. Remaining with the wounded man while his companion went for aid, he held off the hostile forces with his rifle and hand grenades until the arrival of the rescue party. Then, exposing himself to enemy fire and directing accurate heavy fire on the Japanese position, he successfully covered the evacuation of the casualty. By his initiative, courage and unselfish devotion to duty, he undoubtedly saved the life of his comrade and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Fred went on to serve in the battle of Vella Lavella, as well as the Bougainville and Soloman Island Campaigns. We’ll update this article when he crosses the finish line later today. He and his friends want him to be the oldest Marine to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon.
“I can talk about the war, and I am going to talk about it as much as I can, because I want the people to remember those buddies of mine that paid with their lives for the life that we have here in the U.S. today.” Fred Harvey
Featured photo of Thiele Fred Harvey by Lance Cpl. Armando Elizalde, USMC
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