World War II veterans remember: Marine Bill Pummill survived three fierce island campaigns. Bill Pummill, a WWII veteran serving with the Marines, saw significant action in the Pacific Theater, including battles on Bougainville Island, Guam and Iwo Jima.
About two feet, give or take an inch.
That’s how far Bill Pummill’s head was from the mortar shell that hit and blew up his field pack.
He still, 70 years later, can’t quite figure how it missed him. Sometimes, it seemed, he was just lucky that way.
On this occasion, Pummill had been taking cover from a mortar attack in his foxhole when his pack — which he’d left lying outside, a couple of feet from where he was huddled — suddenly exploded from a shell.
“I looked, but there wasn’t a thread of it left,” he said.
Going forward, Pummill would continue to need that kind of luck.
It was just his first night on Iwo Jima.
In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2015, the Tulsa World is trying to capture and preserve some of the personal stories of veterans living in the Tulsa area.
Stories in the series "Serving Our Country: World War II Veterans Remember" will be collected at tulsaworld.com/ww2veterans.
Article written by Tim Stanley on Tulsa World. WW2live has special and granted permission from the Tulsa World to use part of this article and this video.