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Richard Sterling

Richard Sterling
South side of Grand River Avenue in front of Farmington Insurance Agency
Richard T. Sterling, USMC WWII
It is my honor to tell you a story of a proud Marine, Richard T. Sterling, USMC WWII, a Farmington veteran who proudly served his country.

Richard was born June 20, 1926 in Detroit, MI. The day Richard turned seventeen he left high school and joined the Marines, 1943. His parents had to sign his enlistment papers. From Detroit, he took a train across the country to San Diego, California for boot camp. Following boot camp, he was assigned to Company G, 2nd Bn., 25th Reg, 4th Marine Division where he served as a 60mm mortar man.

By January of 1944 Richard was aboard ship and sailing across the Pacific. Eighteen days later he arrived at his destination: Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands where they captured the territory from the Japanese. By the end of February his unit was on the Hawaiian island of Maui for rest, refit, and stage for the next operation.

He then sailed, landing on Saipan, June 1944. His unit suffered heavy casualties with fierce fighting on Saipan. Richard turned 18 years of age while in combat there. On D+ 23 he was shot in chest while on patrol. He was evacuated, recovering in a Navy hospital in Hawaii, receiving his 1st Purple Heart.

Richard rejoined with his outfit only to hit the beach on lwo Jima February  1945. "We were stacked like cord wood on the beach, the enemy was looking down our throats." He was severely wounded on the first night as an enemy shell exploded next to him while setting up mortars. Shrapnel landed alongside of his spine nearly killing him. Medics evacuated him to a hospital ship where he was operated on below deck with other wounded and dying Marines.  He was sent to recover at a Navy hospital where he learned to walk again, receiving his 2nd Purple Heart.
Richard remained in Marines following WWII where he served as an honor guard for the first war dead being shipped back to the States as well as participating in the atomic bomb test activity on Bikini Atoll 1946, one of only fifty Marines who had safety and security for a-bomb test site.
Due to his war wounds, Richard received a medical survey in 1948.

Returning from the war, Richard met Carol Sterling while attending Hillsdale College on a GI Bill, they married in 1952 moving to Farmington where they raised three beautiful daughters: Rene, Sheri and Suzanne who all attended Farmington Public Schools. He remained in Farmington the rest of his life retiring from Ford Motor Company. He passed away in 2009.
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