Corporal Harlon H. Block



Harlon Henry Block, participant in the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima, was born at Yorktown, Texas, on 6 November 1924.Young Harlon graduated from Weslaco High School in 1943. Following graduation he worked as a farm and oil field laborer.

Block was inducted into the regular Marine Corps through the Selective Service System at San Antonio on 18 February 1943 and transferred to the Recruit Depot at San Diego. Upon completion of recruit training, he was assigned to the Parachute Training School at San Diego on 14 April, where he completed the course in six weeks. He qualified as a parachutist on 22 May and was promoted to private first class on the same day. Block was assigned to the Parachute Replacement Battalion at the same camp.

Arriving at New Caledonia on 15 November 1943, Private First Class Block joined Headquarters and Service Company of the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment, I Marine Amphibious Corps. He saw combat as a rifleman during the latter part of the Bougainville campaign when he landed on that island on 21 December.

On 14 February 1944, he arrived at San Diego with his unit and the parachutists were disbanded on the 29th of that month. Block joined Company E, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines, of the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton on 1 March. He was promoted to the rank of corporal on 27 October 1944. After training at Camp Pendleton and Hawaii, Block landed on Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945.

Following the securing of Mount Suribachi on 23 February, Corporal Block moved northward with this company. On 1 March, he was killed as the 28th Marines was attacking toward Nishi Ridge. The Marine's body was buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima in Plot 4, Row 6, Grave 912, and was later returned to the United States for private burial at Weslaco, Texas.

Corporal Block was entitled to the following decorations and medals: Purple Heart (awarded posthumously), Presidential Unit Citation with one star (for Iwo Jima), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars (for the Consolidation of the Northern Solomons and Iwo Jima), American Campaign medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.