Peleliu – USMC World War II

During my own visit to Peleliu in 2005, local guide Tangie Hesus and I chopped our way up Hill 100 (Pope’s Hill) and came upon the overgrown wreck of an Avenger.  Later we learned from JPAC that the TBM-1C Avenger (Bureau number 16956) crashed on the hilltop on September 13, 1944 and three men were KIA: the pilot Ensign Donald E. Baxter, Gunner Arthur C. Miller and Radioman Wesley Stuart (on his first combat mission).   JPAC confirmed remains recovered were identified as Arthur Miller in October 2009. On November 7, 2009 Miller was buried alongside his mother in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Thanks to Dan Reeder for forwarding the information sheet about this aircraft and the story of repatriating the remains.  I spoke with Tangie as the COVID-19 took a foothold in 2020. He said there is a road out through the Umurbrogol now.

August – September 1944

This site is a tribute to my father, a USMC World War II veteran who served at Peleliu, Yap and Ulithi in perilous combat and kept a wartime journal. It is dedicated to the “greatest generation,” out of respect for my father and others who fought this courageous battle. Our website was created and is maintained by his son and family, thanks to the urging of my sister who encouraged us to document our father’s Marine Corps experience, with the help of my brother who has transcribed my father’s personal war chronology, and my mother, who has provided incredible support to us, and helped him to negotiate the rugged shoals of painful recollection and distant memory. Dad spent his entire professional career as a mechanical engineer, leading the development of major innovations and products. He holds many patents for his inventions, producing an outstanding legacy together with the best engineering minds of the 20th century. My father and mother were married in 1948, and are devoted to four adult children (with four undergraduate and six graduate degrees), and three talented granddaughters (three undergraduate and two graduate degrees with others on the way).  Patrick L. Finelli was born on September 21, 1924, enlisted in the Marines on February 19, 1943 and passed away on February 18, 2016 after a long illness at the age of 91. Semper Fi, Dad.

Sergeant Patrick L. Finelli, USMC
MAG-45 to III Amphibious Corps

Demolition Support:
UDT-6 pre-invasion beach recon (Sept. 1-16) (in the water Sept. 12-15)“A” Co., 1st Pioneers; 3rd Bn, 1st Marines, “K” Co. (Sept. 16-21)“C” Co., 1st Pioneers; 2nd Bn, 7th Marines, “K” Co. (Sept. 21-26)

Wartime Activities



Peleliu Memorial Photo by P.M. Finelli