Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iwo Jima Navy Chaplain Remembered

The Rev. E. Gage Hotaling, who was married to my oldest cousin Adell, passed away on 16 May in Springfield, MA. The Boston Herald has a nice tribute with a good picture of Adell and a video of their son Kerry with excerpts from the service:
In the bloodiest days of Iwo Jima, he spoke the last words over fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen as they were buried in the island’s black sand.

Yesterday, Marines, sailors and soldiers returned the favor to the late Rev. E. Gage Hotaling of Agawam, sending the old Navy chaplain on to join his comrades with military honors.

Hotaling, 94, died Sunday in a Springfield hospital, 65 years after the iconic battle for the Pacific island. In a 2007 documentary, he talked about the grim task he faced as Marines fell in bitter combat against the dug-in Japanese enemy. Of the 6,821 Americans killed, Hotaling believed he buried about 1,800.

I found that link from Jules Crittenden's blog where he tells how he learned about Gage's death and the military tribute he received on Thursday:
Thanks to Joe Galloway and Massachusetts State Trooper Mike Cutone on the headsup. Cutone, an Army Special Forces veteran of Iraq, was on a prisoner watch at Mercy Hospital when he learned from an old Marine that Hotaling was dying down the hall, made some calls and saw to it he was attended at his bedside by Marines in dress blues in his last days as he had tended to them in theirs in dirty, bloodstained dungarees.
According to Kerry, Gage was the last surviving chaplain who served at Iwo Jima.