Leonard Joseph Purgill Private First Class, United States Marine Corps Service # 284383 Entered the Service from: Wisconsin
From the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls: Oct 1943 - Sergeant Leonard J Purgill (Armored Amph mech) Company "A" First Armored Amphibian Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California
Apr 1944 - Private First Class Leonard J Purgill – 52nd Replacement Battalion, At Sea
July 1944 - Private First Class Leonard J Purgill - Co A, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Cor Trs, Iii Phib Corps, C/O Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Cal
Oct 1944 - Private First Class Leonard J Purgill - Sixth Amphibian Tractor Battalion (Provisional), Fleet Marine Forces, Pacific "Killed in Action against the enemy (Japanese) 5 Oct 1944, at Peleliu Island, Palau Group, wounds, gunshot, abdomen, buried 05 Oct 44 in U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery #1, Grave #127, Section #4 Source: U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls.
Peleliu island is about 14 square miles. Major General William Rupertus, USMC—commander of 1st Marine Division—predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. In the United States, it was a controversial battle because of the island's questionable strategic value and the high casualty rate (6,526 casualties, of whom 1,252 were killed), which was the highest for U.S. military personnel of any battle in the Pacific War. The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines". Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Peleliu
Of the 11,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island, only 202 were captured alive.
The battle was fought over the fact Peleliu had an airfield, and was within range of the Philippines, from where the US planned to eventually launch strikes against the Japanese mainland. The plan to attack Peleliu was a contentious one – not all of the US high command thought Peleliu was strategically important, and after the battle, the US found the airfield was barely operational, and posed almost no threat to US forces elsewhere in the Pacific. Source: http://thewiredjester.co.uk/2009/04/11/thousand-yard-stares-ruins-and-ghosts-of-the-battle-of-peleliu-1944-2008/
WWII Casualties - Wisconsin Dead: Purgill, Leonard J., PFC., USMC. Foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Purgill, 2061 S. 31st St., Milwaukee.