JOHN J. HEIL, LTCOL, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Heil '28

Date of birth: April 27, 1905

Date of death: January 19, 1945

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1928 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From Find A Grave:

Lt. Col. John J. Heil was held as a POW in the Philippine Islands. In December 1944, he was boarded onto the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan. The ship sailed on December 13th and came under attack from American planes on December 14th. As evening approached, the attack was called off. The next day the planes returned and continued the attack. When the pilots saw the large number of men climbing from the ship’s holds, they realized the ship was carrying POWs and called off the attack. After the POWs were off the ship, the attack resumed and the ship was sunk by American planes at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, on December 15, 1944. The surviving POWs were boarded onto the Enoura Maru which sailed on December 27th and reached Takao, Formosa, by the New Year. While docked it was bombed by American planes on January 9, 1945, killing many of the POWs. The surviving POWs were boarded onto the Brazil Maru which sailed on January 13th. Lt. Col. John J. Heil died on the ship before it reached Japan on January 29, 1945. His body was thrown into the sea.

His wife was listed as next of kin. (John Joseph Heil, Jr., could be his son; he was born in 1930.)

Wartime Service

Unable to find any details of John's service in the Philippines, though he was executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

Major John J. Heil (MCSN: 0-4356), United States Marine Corps, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Major

Memorial Hall Error

The obituary above, and the USMC casualty list, both have his rank as LTCOL. Memorial Hall has MAJ. Possibly a posthumous promotion; the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1945 lists him as a Major.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1928

2nd Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT Max Schaeffer '28.

January 1929

2nd Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT Max Schaeffer '28.

April 1929

2nd Lieutenant, under instruction, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Ernest Pollock '28 and 2LT Max Schaeffer '28.

July 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia

Others at this command: LT Raymond Hansen '22.

October 1929

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

January 1930

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

April 1930

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

October 1930

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

January 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

April 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

July 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

October 1931

2nd Lieutenant, 1st Marine Brigade, Haiti

January 1932

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20 and 2LT Thomas Jordan '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT David Claude '24 (Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), 2LT Harold Bauer '30 (Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia), and 2LT Paul Moret '30 (Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

April 1932

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Stuart King '20 and 1LT Thomas Jordan '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT David Claude '24 (Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

October 1932

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Thomas Jordan '26 and 2LT Harold Bauer '30.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Frederick Chappelle '20 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia) and 1LT Stuart King '20 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

January 1933

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: 1LT Charles Kail '23 and 1LT Thomas Jordan '26.

Others at or embarked at this command: 1LT Frederick Chappelle '20 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia) and 1LT Stuart King '20 (Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia).

April 1933

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Base San Diego

Others at this command: 1LT David Claude '24.

July 1933

2nd Lieutenant, staff, Marine Base San Diego

October 1933

2nd Lieutenant, USS Pensacola

April 1934

2nd Lieutenant, USS Pensacola

July 1934

2nd Lieutenant, USS Pensacola

Others at this command: ENS Ernest Evans '31.

October 1934

2nd Lieutenant, USS Oklahoma

Others at this command: LCDR Archer King, Jr. '15.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Julian Greer '27 (Aviation Unit).

January 1935

1st Lieutenant, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Stuart King '20 and CAPT Ralph Forsyth '22.

April 1935

1st Lieutenant, Fleet Marine Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Stuart King '20, CAPT Ralph Forsyth '22, and 1LT Charles Kail '23.

October 1935

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

January 1936

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

April 1936

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

July 1936

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

Others at this command: 1LT Thomas Jordan '26.

January 1937

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

Others at this command: 1LT Thomas Jordan '26.

April 1937

1st Lieutenant, Receiving Ship, USS Reina Mercedes, Naval Academy

Others at this command: 1LT Thomas Jordan '26.

September 1937

1st Lieutenant, Army Infantry School, Ft. Benning, Georgia

Others at this command: CAPT David Claude '24.

January 1938

1st Lieutenant, Army Infantry School, Ft. Benning, Georgia

Others at this command: CAPT David Claude '24.

July 1938

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Lofton Henderson '26.

January 1939

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Lofton Henderson '26 and CAPT Chandler Johnson '29.

October 1939

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Ernest Pollock '28 and CAPT Robert Brown '31.

June 1940

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT David Claude '24.

November 1940

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: MAJ David Claude '24, CAPT Francis Williams '30, and 2LT Philip Weems, Jr. '40.

April 1941

Captain, staff, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: MAJ David Claude '24, CAPT Francis Williams '30, 2LT Floyd Cummings '41, 2LT Kenneth Brown '41, 2LT Richard Harrison '41, and 2LT William Clay, Jr. '41.


Class of 1928

John is one of 17 members of the Class of 1928 on Virtual Memorial Hall.