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Marine Rock Ola Carried on Iwo Jima

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HammerGrunt View Drop Down
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    Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 3:37pm
For the Long Time CC Members you will recognize this amazing piece of WW II and Marine Corps History that I'm learning several have tried to acquire over the past years since it came into Great American Marcus Rust possession. Marcus has graciously allowed me to acquire it from him and bring it back Home to the Marine Corps and its 4th Marine Division roots. 

I have been working closely with the Marine Corps University and the USMC Historical Branch to research and validate which of the two Marines named Ricci who fought on Iwo Jima in the 4th Marine Division Feb 1945 carried this Rock Ola. 

Here are the Casualty Reports of the two Marines named Ricci who were in the 4th Marine Division and who served on Iwo Jima. Peter Paul Ricci KIA the day after the landing, and Felix Ricci WIA 10 days after the landing on the Black Sands of Iwo. We are pulling their Service Records from the Military's Archives and I'm confident the Historical Branch will be able to determine which one would have been issued an M1 Carbine. 




I was the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division 2012-2014 and I'll be meeting with 98 yr old Iwo Jima Marine Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams in 3 weeks and I will place this Rock Ola in his hands and will record him as he describes what it was like on 20 Feb and 28 Feb 1945. His BN was just a few hundred yards away from both Felix and Peter Pauls's BNs on the battlefield. Woody is the last surviving MOH recipient from WWII...



Edited by HammerGrunt - Sep 11 2021 at 4:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 4:10pm



And Yes, the Handguard is also RMC as is the Buttstock slingwell cartouche. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 4:43pm
Awesome Carbine, Hammer! Sure hope you can narrow down which Ricci it was issued to. Very hard to find Carbines with true Marine provenance. I am envious!! Semper Fi!!
Wayne
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 5:09pm
I’m leaning toward Felix Ricci because he was WIA and was evacuated to the hospital ship 10 days after landing, so he would have time to do the artwork on his own car being himself. If it was Peter Paul Ricci who was killed on the second day after landing, he wouldn’t have really had time to put the artwork on his own stock so it would’ve been his battle brothers who would have done it is a grave marker memorial on his behalf.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt_X Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 5:21pm
It's great you can (hopefully) further the research on its use and the person who carried it.
What was common practice on issuing small arms to a combat unit at the time?  Were weapons permanently assigned or given the next one on the rack? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 5:47pm
My understanding was that you were issued a weapon when you checked into your unit and you kept that weapon as long as you were in that unit. Iwo Jima was the fourth Amphibious assault landing for the 4th Marine Division (Roi-Namur, Tinian, Saipan, Iwo) and both Ricci’s were in 4th Marine Division prior to those landings in 1944 so I believe this early Rockola that was built In the Fall of 1943 most likely would have been issued to either Ricci when they joined their Battalion unit in 4thMarine Division.

When I meet with 98-year-old Marine Woody Williams in a couple of weeks I’ll ask him to validate the unit weapon issuing protocols in 1943-45.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 6:05pm
Does anyone know what the X that is underneath Rock Ola on the bottom flat of the operating slide represents?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GotSnlB28 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 6:49pm
Hammer, Great research effort & fantastic Rockola! Very special carbine.

Regarding the "X" marked parts check your copy of War Baby page 398 :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 6:55pm
Thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Abel4287 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 7:01pm
HammerGrunt this such an amazing thing you have put together Semper Fi brother!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DonFlynn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 7:23pm
Nice
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 9:29pm
Even though the type 1 Underwood firing pin is the only metal part in this early Rockola that is not a RockOla stamped part, I’m going to leave it in the gun as part of its “as found” history.
Marcus believes this Carbine’s type 1 Underwood firing pin may have been an undocumented lateral transfer part that RockOla used early on in their production.

I’ll keep the type 1 Rockola firing pin with this amazing Carbine just as a visual representation of what RockOla’s Type 1 Pin looked like. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NavySCPO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 11 2021 at 10:13pm
General, what a magnificent piece of history! I wish you all the luck in the world completing your task.

When talking about USGI equipment, we always say “if only it could talk”…I have every confidence you just might get this beautiful weapon to say a few words about its travels and companion.

Well Done Sir, BZ!
Danny Fowler, NCCS, USN (Retired)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HammerGrunt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 12 2021 at 5:54am

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