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Big Blue Ablaze
by Raymond Stolpe
In June 1944 Raymond Stolpe boarded a ship in San Diego headed for the Mariana Islands (Saipan and Tinian) where, he experienced his first combat – a midnight Banzai charge by the enemy- a frantic all-out, all night charge by the enemy. In the morning, Stolpe saw over 1,000 dead enemy soldiers.
Later in the Tinian campaign, Lt. Shearer ordered Stolpe and his buddy Charles Leslie to set out booby traps in front of their position. Then at night, when they began lighting up the area in front of Stolpe’s position, they exposed the attacking enemy. Stolpe jumped to his feet and threw a grenade on target and silenced the enemy’s machine gun.
Stolpe was one of the very first Americans to land in Nagasaki after the bomb had wiped out the city. His job then became one of peacemaker to the Japanese people. It was a great challenge, but one he was happy to accept.
About the Author
Now 86, Raymond Stolpe was born May 2, 1926 in little Obert, Nebraska, to working parents. He had six sisters and four older brothers who all served in the Army and Air Force in Europe in World War II. Raymond had to go to his parents for their signatures for him to be able to enlist in the Marines at 17. He had to promise his parents that he would complete high school upon his discharge, which he did.
After his discharge, Raymond had a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals, but his combat-filled mind seemed to get in his way and he settled on playing for town teams in Nebraska. After two years in college, he began working in the lumberyard business and this would be his calling for the rest of his working life. He finally built his own lumber company in Colorado. His proudest accomplishment is helping his three children pay their way through school.
Raymond’s dear wife Marilyn passed away June 12, 2011. She was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. Her family misses her dearly and she will always be in their hearts.
(2013, Paperback, 290 pages)