Famous Veterans Birthdays – May 15th
Birthdays Today (May 15th):
Born May 15, 1923:
Richard Avedon – Photographer- (Merchant Marines 1942-1944) – Died: October 1, 2004
Born May 15, 1908:
Lee Powell – Actor: first cinema Lone Ranger – (Marine Corps WWII) – Died: July 30, 1944.
Powell enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 17 August 1942, serving in the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, 18th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division. Achieving the rank of Sergeant, Powell actively fought in the Battle of Tarawa and Battle of Saipan.
Excerpt from the US Marine Corps Muster Roll for 2nd Battalion of the 18th Marine Regiment, July 1944.
Although he was widely reported to have been killed in action, one source claims he died of poisoning on Tinian, while celebrating the combat victory at that site, as the result of drinking an alcohol concoction that also temporarily blinded another Marine. Another source, Fred Goerner, a CBS correspondent, while conducting research for his later best seller “The Search for Amelia Earhart,” (1966) had a discussion with a former Marine who participated in the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. (June/July 1944) That Marine told Goerner that Lee Powell died after drinking poisoned sake. The monthly muster roll of his unit, the 2nd Battalion of the 18th Marines, notes that on July 30, 1944, Powell “died as a result of wood alcohol poisoning, not in line of duty, not result of own misconduct.”
Initially buried on Tinian, Powell’s remains were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.