JOHN J. HEIL, MAJ, 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.


Class of 1928

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