Cpl. Loren Duke Abdalla from World War II tells his story and...

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FB: Loren Duke Abdall “The Indian”

February 2011

 Cpl. Loren Duke Abdallafrom World War II tells his story and is now currently being reviewed for the highest honor (Congressional Medial of Honor) from The United States of America for military service by President Barack Obama and Illinois Senator Richard Durbin. Loren Duke Abdalla's heroic actions during WWII have gone unnoticed for over sixty-five years. A Resolution was adopted by the City of Chicago and made public at a City Council meeting on March 18, 2009. On April 22, 2009 he was honored by the City Council and a Resolution was formally presented by The Honorable Richard F. Mell, and Mayor Richard M. Daley, calling on The President, Senate and House of Representatives to review his military service in the hopes that Loren Duke Abdalla will be properly honored.        

While serving under Chesty Puller's 1st Regiment of the 1st Marine Division, Loren Duke Abdalla fought in the Pacific Theater in the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa. Also known as 'The Indian', due to his Native American heritage with the Yankton Sioux Tribe from South Dakota - Mr. Abdalla was severely injured on Peleliu, having had holes blown in both legs from mortar fire, and a busted back from being thrown backward into a coral wall from the force of the explosion. Both of his eardrums were also blown out. He survived, then healed at a hospital on Guadalcanal, and was sent back to his unit with the 1st Regiment. He was immediately promoted to corporal and squad leader of the 3rd squad, 1st platoon, A Company.

The Battle of Okinawa as Loren Duke Abdalla participated in it:

A. May 1, 1945 – The 27th Army Division was thwarted for an entire month at Dakeshi Ridge, which was the entrance to Wana Draw, so the 1st Marine Division was called on to take over. The Japanese had a ‘big gun’ located in a cave at the center of the ridge that limited the advance toward Wana Draw. The 1st Regiment, 1st Battalion planned their attack.

May 2, 1945 - B Company made an advance toward the ridge and was pushed back.

May 3, 1945 – C Company made an advance toward the ridge and was pushed back.

May 5, 1945 – The advance fell to A Company, 1st and 3rd platoons. Acting 1st Platoon Sergeant, Corporal Stan Bitchell, with his company commander, had decided to send the 1st platoon to attack and secure the ridge. John Brady was the squad leader for 2nd squad and Duke Abdalla (myself) was the squad leader for the 3rd squad. There were twelve men under my command in 3rd squad. The plan was for the 3rd platoon to strike first at the broad side of the ridge to draw Japanese fire. The 1st and 2nd squads from the 1st platoon was to advance at the base of the ridge, taking out the spider traps and killing the enemy. My 3rd squad was to attack and take out the six heavy machine gun nests on the way to the top. The goal was to reach the mouth of the ridge and blow up the big gun in the cave. As the 3rd platoon began to draw fire, John Brady took a direct hit from a phosphorous grenade. I saw the hit and immediately ran to him. Hoisting him over my shoulder amidst the firing, I made my way back to safety and placed John in the arms of awaiting reserve soldiers. I then rejoined my squad. Corporal Bitchell took over the command of 2nd squad. My 3rd squad was about to begin our mission of immobilizing the machine gun nests, which housed 2-3 Japanese soldiers each. Immediately as we stood to advance, I witnessed two men in my squad on either side of me being shot in the head and killed. “Lernahan and Christiansen” were dead. I proceeded up the ridge, my men behind me, firing my Thompson machine gun and throwing grenades as I went. After successfully taking out the first four nests, I heard a call from one of my men. “Duke, I’m hit!”. It was Ralpholito Cruse Altomarino, from California. I addressed him quickly, “Can you move?” The man nodded and said “Yes”. “Then get out of here!” I yelled back. Through the smoke laden air, I surmised that none of the men in my squad were left to assist me. I couldn’t see one of them. I continued up the ridge alone, machine gun in hand, and single-handedly took out the last two nests, clearing the entrance to the cave for the 1st and 2nd squads. In the process of this mission, my entire squad of twelve men was either killed or wounded. I was the only man left in my squad to complete the mission, and I did. I stood alone on top of that ridge. This cleared the way for Corporal Bitchell to throw pack charges into the cave that housed the big gun. I felt the ground shake beneath my feet from the impact of the explosion. For his efforts, Corporal Bitchell received a Navy Cross. Two other men from those squads received Silver Stars; “Joe Bureau” and “Alan Blue”. No mention of Loren Duke Abdalla (also often referred to as “The Indian”), or my 3rd squad was made. For these efforts alone, I believe that I earned “The Medal of Honor”.

B. Following the Battle of Dakeshi Ridge, the 1st Marine Division was able to advance up Wana Draw. Traveling with tanks, we encountered a cart path that we considered to be strewn with mines. The tanks would not advance. I grabbed the phone attached to the back of the tank and told the driver that I would scour the cart path ahead of them - in full view of possible enemy fire - and wave them forward if it was clear. The tanks were able to advance because I made sure their way was clear.

C. As we continued to advance up Wana Draw, I killed several inhabitants of “spider traps” set at the base of the ridges by the Japanese. These spider traps were holes dug into the ground and covered by ‘thatched roofs’ which a Japanese soldier would raise just before he would shoot with a “nambu” machine gun.

D. The next battle took place after Wana Draw at “The Three Sisters”. A grenade was thrown next to me by the enemy, spewing large amounts of mud into the air. A large ‘glob’ of mud forcefully hit me in the left eye - I understood that the next event would be the enemy’s gunshot following the grenade (to finish the kill). I was intent on locating the enemy’s position and killing him before I was killed myself. I was successful. Wiping the mud from my eye, I noticed no blood, and therefore determined not to seek medical attention for treatment at that time, and continued to advance with my company (A Company). Later, this injury would prove to have had greater impact. With my not reporting the injury at that time - a Purple Heart was not awarded.

E. While surrounded by the enemy at Three Sisters, I saved the life of a fellow Marine named H.T. Clark, who “froze” on the battlefield due to stress. I threw smoke grenades and live grenades, then followed by firing shots with my BAR to distract the enemy and saved this man’s life.

F. After our company had secured The Three Sisters, we were being fired upon, and a war correspondent (name unknown) asked me, "Where's the front?". I pointed at the ground next to me and touted “Right Here!”. The war correspondent wanted to get pictures - but I told him to keep his head down. He didn’t listen to me, crawled about fifteen feet out to take pictures, and was immediately shot by a Nambu machine gun. He rolled back and forth on the ground with his knees in the air, screaming in pain - I told him to lie still, but he was unable. I looked over at the Marine next to me, his name was 'Red Bottomly' (not certain of correct spelling) and said “Let’s go get him!”. Red and I threw smoke grenades, then live grenades - and proceeded to bring the correspondent back to safety while being fired upon heavily by the enemy. Red lost his ‘pinky’ finger in the process, and the ground underneath our feet was blown away as we jumped to safety. I never saw Red again.

G. During my tour on Okinawa, I was promoted to Platoon Sergeant for the 1st platoon, A Company.

H. Due to my extreme discomfort in recalling and sharing the events, I had not previously spoken of it in such great detail. It is my belief, based on my heritage, that I was not recommended for any awards by my commanding officers.

My name is Douglas Nykolaycuyk, I am Loren Duke Abdalla's eldest grandson. Just two years ago, I heard his story for the first time... from him. Committed to my grandfather's cause, I have sent his portfolio to the following representatives:

Alderman Richard F. Mell
Congresswoman Melissa Bean
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, from his home town of Wagner, SD
Congressman Mike Quigley
Senator Daniel Akaka, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs
Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
Board of Correction of Naval Records
United States Senate Armed Services Committee
Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs
Department of The United States Navy
Chief of Staff to the President of The United States, Rahm Emanuel
John Marshall Law School of Chicago
The U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs
Superintendent of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Robert Cournoyer
Senator Roland Burris

With the guidance of the preceding offices, my grandfather's story is now with Senator Richard Durbin and President Barack Obama. Following my grandfather’s wishes that his story be told, I am offering the details of it to you in hopes that by your telling his story, any additional witnesses or commanding officers that served with him, might be available and come forward and say they saw what ‘The Indian’ did in World War II, and that our country will thank him for his outstanding service in fighting for our freedom.

You can listen to my grandfather tell his story personally, via a YouTube link, on his Facebook page: Loren Duke Abdalla. Refer to the Photos tab to read the letter from the gentleman who witnessed his actions on Okinawa, Al Costella, who was squad leader for mortar platoon, A company. You will also see the copy of the Resolution by the Chicago City Council, and other newspaper articles and photos of his great grandfather Chief Running Bull of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, who signed The Peace Treaty of 1858 in Washington, D.C. at The White House.

I am available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact me directly, as I am speaking on behalf of my grandfather, Loren Duke Abdalla, who is now 85 years old. It is his sincerest wish to have his story told, the way it happened.

Thank you,  -- Douglas Nykolaycuyk
You may contact me at:
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