Charles Berton “Bert” Mulligan, served in WWII and fought at the battle of Iwo Jima as a part of the historic 2d Battalion, B Company, 21st Regiment, 3d Marine Division.
Charles Mulligan was only 23 years old when he was drafted into the Marine Corps. Upon being drafted, Charles Mulligan traveled from his home in West Virginia to Baltimore, MD so he could catch a train to Parris Island in Beaumont County, South Carolina. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, he and others of his Marines compatriots were transported to California, where they boarded a vessel to Hawaii to secure food and supplies.
After stopping in Hawaii, Charles Mulligan spent a week in Guam before being shipped off to Iwo Jima, where he spent 29 days in combat. During this time Charles Mulligan witnessed the iconic flag-raising on Mount Suribachi which took place on 23 FEB 1945. Charles Mulligan recalled that because of the loud shouting after the flag was raised, some of the men mistakenly got the impression that the war was over. However the war had truly only just begun for them. After witnessing the extent of the casualties experienced by U.S. Forces on Iwo Jima, Charles Mulligan intimated that he never thought he would make it home alive.
However, as it would turn out, Charles Mulligan ended up being one of the fortunate Marines able to extract from the island with his life. When asked if he thought of himself as a hero, tears well up in his eyes and he proclaims, “I’m not a hero, the heroes didn’t make it home.”
As the 75th Anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima approaches, we honor the extraordinary service and exemplary sacrifice of this great American warrior-citizen.