While stationed at Navy Band Guam, we had the opportunity to support events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. One of those ceremonies was with this man, Major Everett Pope and his wife. Navy CB’s had cut through the jungles on the island of Peleliu in the South Pacific to get Major Pope and his wife to the location of the battle where he earned the Medal of Honor. Navy Band Guam’s Brass Quartet would travel with just a handful of people, including the Major and Mrs. Pope, to the location. We were all warned not to touch any ordnance, because it was corroded and dangerous, and after 50 years it was still laying everywhere. On the trail to the site, tanks and weapons remained from the battle. Once there, Major Pope spoke during the ceremony and eventually cried, it was very emotional for him. Major Pope landed with 235 Marines at Peleliu and after four straight days of fighting in temperatures of 115 degrees, lost 145 men. His Marines were then ordered to take and hold a position that left them being fired upon from above, at three side. His Marines were out of ammunition and forced to resort to hand to hand combat, leaving just 9 men alive when it was over. I’ve met many Medal of Honor recipients during my career, all of them are very humble, Major Pope was no different. Hearing Major Pope speak that day was one of the most memorable of my life, he was such a nice man and hero. This is his grave at Arlington National Cemetery, Mrs. Pope is buried on the reverse side of this tombstone.
Major Pope’s Medal of Honor citation:
Interview with Major Pope: