James A. Larrieu
U. S. Marines
WWII US Military

"I've been shot at and bombed at," James says of his service in the Pacific in World War II, and in later conflicts. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he grew up in New Orleans. At age seventeen he joined the United States Marine Corps on March 7, 1940, and was assigned to the Second Division. He says his pay when he joined was $21 a month. James participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. James, then an orderly and driver for Colonel John M. Arthur for part of his service, says he spent six months in the Solomon Islands. He also participated in campaigns for Saipan (landing in the third wave) and Tinian, where he worked in grave registration. After Tinian he returned to the states and spent nine months in Norfolk. He was slated for the invasion of Japan, but instead was sent to north China. By then he was a staff sergeant. James remained in the Marine Corps after World War II. He fought in Korea, where he earned a Bronze Star and received a Purple Heart for shrapnel when Chinese forces shelled his outpost for more than twenty-four hours. James was in the Tonkin Gulf when the incident that instigated the Vietnam War occurred. Retiring from active duty in August of 1968, James later worked as a machinist. He remains active in several organizations, such as the Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Second Marine Division, and Disabled American Veterans.