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Franklin R. Sousley

Franklin R. Sousley

Franklin Runyon Sousley was born at Flemingsburg, Kentucky, on 19 September 1925. After his graduation from high school in June 1943, he moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he secured a job with the Frigidaire Division of General Motors.

Sousley entered the Marine Corps Reserve on 5 January 1944 through the Selective Service System and was sent too Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, for his boot training. Upon completion of recruit training, he was assigned to Company E, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines of the 5th Marine Division, then at Camp Pendleton, California. Private Sousley joined the company on 15 March as an automatic rifleman and remained with the same unit in the same specialty until he met his death. In September, Private Sousley sailed with his company from San Diego for Hilo, Hawaii, where it arrived on 24 September. The young Marine was promoted to private first class on 22 November 1944. In the latter part of January 1945, after extensive training and maneuvers, Sousley sailed for Iwo Jima where he landed with his company on D-day, 19 February. Sousley survived the battle for Suribachi and moved northward with his regiment. On 21 March, Private First Class Sousley was killed during the fighting around Kitano Point. At the age of 19, he was the last of the flag-raisers to die on Iwo Jima.

Private First Class Sousley was buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery at Iwo Jima in Plot 8, Row 7, Grave 2189. On 22 March 1948, a request was made to return the remains to the United States for reinterment in the Elizaville, Kentucky Cemetery.

Private First Class Sousley was awarded the following decorations and medals:

  • Purple Heart (posthumously)
  • Presidential Unit Citation with one star (for Iwo Jima)
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one star (for Iwo Jima)
  • World War II Victory Medal
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