The oldest Marine that survived the brutal WWII Battle of Iwo Jima has passed away at 103.
John Moon of Macomb, Illinois, died last week at the ripe old age of 103. According to Chicago’s WGN Channel 9, the Marine and Western Illinois University alum had risen to viral fame at the age of 101 for singing the national anthem at a WIU women’s basketball game in 2017.
Mr. Moon joined the Marines in 1943 as a 1939 WIU graduate, father of a young son, and a worker for the Caterpillar Tractor Company in East Peoria, Illinois. Moon chose the Marines after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He enlisted on Dec. 29, 1943.
After graduating boot camp, Moon was assigned to the 5th Marine Division.
Moon’s division participated in the amphibious assault on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. He participated in the battle until he was injured. He was later awarded the Purple Heart in September of 1945 for his wounding during the battle.
Upon returning home, Moon held a series of jobs including restaurant worker, school bus driver, and insurance salesman. He also taught driver’s education in his later years.
Moon’s obituary noted that he was an active member of his community, supporting the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion as well as the Optimist Club and the local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. Moon was a lifelong member of the Wesley United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir and drove elderly churchgoers to Sunday services.
The veteran was also a Freemason and once served as a Macomb City Council Alderman.
“John was a well-known and loved member of the community. Many will miss hearing his amazing singing voice, watching him ride his three-wheel bike, and his ‘fantastic’ attitude,” his obituary added.
In lieu of flowers, Moon’s family said donations can be made to Wesley United Methodist Church or Wesley Village Retirement Center.
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