Fred Leroy Pope, Jr.

1923 - 2013

Marine Corps.

Their Story

Fred Leroy Pope, Jr. was born on May 15, 1923, in East Moline, Illinois, the son of Fred Leroy Pope and Opal Davis Pope. His father died on October 27, 1940, and his mother died on January 21, 1982.1

Pope married Barbara Spies on June 29, 1946, in Moline, Illinois. They later divorced in 1968. Pope married LaDean Curry on May 26, 1988, in Moline. LaDean died on October 12, 1999, in Rock Island, Illinois.2

Pope registered for the draft on June 29, 1942, in Moline, Illinois. He was employed by Moline Tool Company as a machine operator at the time of his registration.3 Pope then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on July 21, 1942, serving in the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines Division as a machine gun squad crewman.4 He participated in all five Allied landings in the Pacific during World War II,5 serving overseas from February 20, 1943, until November 2, 1945. He participated in action at Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, November 20-24, 1943; Saipan-Tinian, June 15-August 1, 1944; and Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, from April 1-14, 1945.6

On June 16, 1944, Pope was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received in action at Saipan, Marianas Islands.7 He was later awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic actions in the battle on Saipan, Mariana Islands, on July 8, 1944.8 His citation reads:

For heroic achievement while serving as a Machine Gunner of Company B, First Battalion, Second Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, and on Saipan, Marianas Islands, during World War II. When a friendly machine gun was rendered inoperative during a fierce enemy attack on Saipan, 8 July 1944, Private First Class Pope braved intense hostile fire to proceed forward of our lines to recover it and, expeditiously effecting repairs to the damaged gun, put it back into operation. By his courage, initiative and devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger on this and other occasions, Private First Class Pope upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Private First Class Pope is authorized to wear the combat “V”. 9

Corporal Pope’s unit was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their battle on Tarawa, called the bloodiest battle in Marine Corps history.10

Corporal Pope’s name is listed in the Book of Honor-Court of Patriots in the Browning Museum at the Rock Island Arsenal.11 He was discharged from the service on November 19, 1945.12

After leaving the service, Pope served as a machinist apprentice for the Moline Tool Company. After his apprenticeship, he worked as an industrial specialist at the Rock Island Arsenal for 32 years.13

Pope was a member of Edgewood Baptist Church and the Moline Masonic Lodge 1014. He enjoyed fishing.14

Pope died on February 20, 2013, in Moline, Illinois. He was survived by his son, Jeff; daughters, Mary Jane Ritch, and JoAnn Woolwine; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Pope was preceded in death by his brother, Harvey Richard Pope.15


1 Fred Leroy Pope Jr. (1923-2013) – Find a Grave Memorial

2 25 Feb 2013, 5 – The Rock Island Argus at

3 Page 1 WWII Draft Registration Cards – Fold3

4 Fred Leroy Pope: PERSON, pictures and information –

5 Fred Leroy Pope Jr. (1923-2013) – Find a Grave Memorial

6 Fred Pope Discharge 2 001.jpg – Fold3

7 Purple Heart Award Letter (

8 Corporal Fred Leroy Pope Jr. – Facts (

9 Fred Pope WWII Hero 001.jpg – Fold3

10 CA3AC032-0E50-4487-A13A-68D6F0F628E6 (

11 25 Feb 2013, 5 – The Rock Island Argus at

12 Fred Leroy Pope: PERSON, pictures and information –

13 25 Feb 2013, 5 – The Rock Island Argus at

14 Fred Leroy Pope Jr. (1923-2013) – Find a Grave Memorial

15 25 Feb 2013, 5 – The Rock Island Argus at