Jesse Johnson Andrews Jr. was born July 2, 1925 in Weslaco, Texas. At the age of 1 year, his family relocated to Daphne, Alabama to open a General Store. He attended school at the Daphne Normal, Daphne Jr. High, and on to Fairhope High School.
When the war broke out, Jesse expressed to his parents wanting to go and serve his country. But at age 16, they thought he was too young. So at age 17, and with his Mother’s written consent, Jesse enlisted. After his basic training, he did not get the leave that had been promised, he was sent directly to San Francisco, and from there, the Hawaiian Islands. In between campaigns the 4th Marine Division rested on Maui.
Altogether, he fought on Saipan, Tinian, Roi , Namur ( at the time were 2 islands, but today they are joined and called Roi-Namur), and Iwo Jima. Iwo was the bloodiest battle, it begun on February 19, 1945, and on the 8th day Jesse was wounded by hand grenade in the left leg as his platoon sergeant pulled him from a fox hole. His wounds were treated as best on the field and was sent to the U.S. Military Hospital at Pearl Harbor.
Meanwhile, his parents were notified by Major F Belton of the USMC via mail that he had been wounded in action against the enemy on February 26 at Iwo Jima Volcano Islands. Daphne being a small town in Alabama, another Marines family had written in a letter that Jesse had been wounded and where he was sent. Helen Calloway, one of the first women to serve, searched for him for days. She sought help from a sympathetic officer who led her to him. He lay on a gurney, battered, bloody and bruised. Jesse thought he had seen an angel, but as she got closer and he saw that red hair, he leaped from the gurney and hobbled towards her where they embraced. They were both very happy to see each other. Had he not been injured, Jesse would have made a career of the Marines.
Finally, on November 30, 1945, Jesse was discharged with a Letter of Commendation, Purple Heart Ribbon, Asiatic- Pacific W/3- stars, American Theatre Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, Honorable Lapel Button, and Commendation by distinguishing himself by meritorious achievement as a member of a rifle squad during the invasion and capture of Saipan and Tinian.
Upon returning to the United States, he went back to school and received his High School Diploma. He was hired by South Central Bell Telephone Company and retired with 35 years of faithful service. He was very active in his church where he served as Deacon and on many committees. He was on the City Council in Daphne for 8 years, and was a member of the VFW and DAV. He attended many Iwo Jima Survivor Reunions. Jesse Andrews Jr. passed away January 13, 2009 from Kidney Failure as a result of the medication used for many years in the treatment of injuries inflicted on that faithful day on Iwo Jima.