Major Bill White is a 104 year old California Marine who survived the Battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. A while back, a friend from the assisted living facility where he lives started “Operation Valentine” and asked for 100 Valentine’s cards. He received over 200,000, as crates and crates of cards and gifts were sent to him.
A profile of this Marine was posted on Reddit one month ago. You can read more at the Reddit link:.
He was enlisted and crossed the equator on board the USS Colorado in 1936 as a “shellback.” He was stationed at Pearl Harbor from 1936 to 1937 before being transferred to the 4th Marine Regiment in Shanghai. When WWII started in 1942, Bill was assigned to Parachute School and was transferred to the 4th Parachute Battalion in Bougainville. When the paratroopers were recalled from the Pacific in 1943, he went to the Parker Ranch in Hawaii to prep for the invasion of Iwo Jima. Something big happened to Bill at the time while the invasion occurred. Bill arrived at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. On the morning of February 28th, he was heading to the front lines. He was told to relieve another Marine in a foxhole. Tapping him on the shoulder, Bill said, “I’m here to relieve you.” When the man turned around, Bill realized that the Marine was his brother-in-law, the only brother of his wife. They only had the opportunity to say hello and then goodbye as they switched positions.
According to the profile, he was promoted to Major in 1963, and retired from the Corps in 1964 after 30 years of service.
“The cards and notes to “Major Bill,” a retired major who lives in an assisted living facility in Stockton, California, began pouring in after a fellow resident launched a social media campaign called “Operation Valentine,” asking friends and strangers alike to send greetings to honor White.
At the outset, the goal was a modest 100 cards – about one for every one of White’s birthdays – but the response has outstripped all expectations…
… “It’s just too fantastic,” said White, surrounded by waist-high stacks of postal boxes filled with cards.
On a recent day, White’s great-granddaughter Abigail Sawyer, 9, delivered a bundle of cards from her fourth grade class, many of them decorated with the American flag.”
They came from every US state and even foreign countries, as friends and relatives helped Major Bill open and read them. Gifts of hearts and stuffed toys in addition to the cards poured into the Oaks Assisted Living Center in Stockton, California.
In an interview on Fox, he said, “It’s something I’ve never heard of or seen. All of a sudden here, like a ton of bricks. I’m sort of speechless…Right now, I am considered to be the oldest living marine in the Marine Corps. About the other services, I do not know. I know that I am theoretically the oldest member of the United States Marine Corps.”
Semper Fi, Major Bill, you absolutely have stolen the heart of America.