Sgt. Raymond J. Wyss
When the landing craft door opened most of Sgt. Wyss's platoon was wiped out. Only a handful of men made it to the beach including Sgt. Wyss and an RTO. Wyss was hit by a sniper in a tree on while working his way from the beach to the airstrip. They took shelter in a bomb crater as the Japanese were shelling a nearby Marine tank. The shrapnel was getting them so they made a run for it. Wyss was holding his wound, the right side of his stomach area, when he was hit again in the back. This time the bullet exited out the same hole in the front of his stomach blowing off one of his fingers. Eventually he was marked as dead and his parents got the dreaded visit from the chaplain. After the battle a navy corpsman was going through the dead Marines when he came across my grandpa and noticed him twitch. They floated him out to the hospital ship and he eventually was sent back to San Diego Naval Hospital.
At the hospital he met a beautiful navy nurse, Kathryn Wood. Their first encounter was when Wyss asked her to help cut his meat and had his bandaged hand covered. She replied, "You Marines are all the same." Sometime later she came by and noticed him struggling to cut his food with his bandaged hand. She felt terrible and decided to help him. Soon after they were married, Raymond and Kathryn Wyss.
Wyss had four brothers who all served in WWII. One brother, Jerry Wyss, was with an army recom team that was captured and help as prisoners by the Germans. Another, Renee Wyss, was a Navy aircraft mechanic, who lied about his age when he enlisted. Brother Joe was also an aircraft mechanic but he was a Marine. They met in San Diego when Raymond was dicharged from the hospital. They spoke of the possible invasion of Japan and Raymond replied he would probably go since, "I still have my trigger finger." After the war Raymond and Renee opened a catering business and built a catering truck. They were the inventors of the catering truck. This business is still in operation.
In the early 1980s Wyss was battling cancer. After his surgery to remove the tumor the doctor asked his family if he had been in the war. The surgeon was told the story of Tarawa and he said that the bullet must have grazed his liver since it had so much scar-tissue around it he could not believe it still functioned. He lived another ten years. He was buried with a Marine honor guard.
copyright 2003 T.O.T.W.
Created 6 September 2003