[Note, according to U.S. Veterans Affairs, over 650,000 U.S. Military personnel have been lost in battle over the course of U.S. history; lives that were cut short. This is a brief rememberance of one the young men who didn’t come back from the horrors of World War II. The inspiration for this article is the Stories Behind the Stars project, which aims to “Bring the stories of the fallen to future generations.”]
He was the uncle his nephews and nieces never met. The one who towered over his siblings at a reported 6′ 4″, but who never had the opportunity to have his own family. At just 19 years old, this Private First Class U.S. Marine made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his country.
His immediate family has been gone for decades and there is scant information about this war hero. He was the fourth child and second eldest brother in a family of five. His father and mother were born in 1880 and 1881, respectively, making them in their mid-40s at Clifford’s birth in the roaring 20s.
Raised on a farm in his hometown of San Jose, his apparent birthdate was July 23rd, 1925. This seemingly contradicts the 1930 U.S Census which indicates he was 4 and 7/12 years old on April 1st, 1930. His last day on this earth was October 3rd, 1944 on Palau Island when he was killed in action.
The October 7th, 1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron describes the battle for three of the Palau islands. Including Clifford, the total Palau casualties of the 1st Division were 771 killed, 4650 wounded and 267 missing, according to the Chevron. Pyle apparently received the following commendations for his sacrifice and service:
- World War II Victory Medal
- Purple Heart
- Combat Action Ribbon
- American Campaign Medal
- Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Pyle is buried in the Plot L, Row 8, Grave 17 of the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manilla, Phillipines.
Thank you Uncle Cliff from a grateful nephew and country.