James Herman Frost

1923 - 1999

Marine Corps.
Korean WarWWII

Their Story

James Herman Frost was born March 27, 1923, in Greenfield, Indiana, the son of James Russell and Ethel B. Hill Frost.[1] James’ father was a grocer in 1930.[2] Jim graduated from Greenfield High School on May 27, 1941. Later that year he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on September 8.

Jim was sent to  San Diego California and trained in communications. He was assigned to Telephone Company, Signal Battalion Base Troops, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California. From there he was assigned to Battery M, (155MM Howitzers), 4th Battalion, 10th  Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Elliott, San Diego. The Division was assigned to the Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific campaigns.

After training, he was sent to the Pacific theater where he participated in the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian.

By the time Jim got to Saipan he had been promoted to sergeant. In the Battle of Saipan Jim worked for eighteen consecutive hours in the heat of battle to install telephone communications for his artillery unit.[3] He was a wire construction chief for a combat telephone team, and it was during the fierce Japanese counterattack on the second night of this battle that he distinguished himself. He had to go through the thick of the Japanese artillery fire six times to set up telephone wires. Once, during the worst part of the counterattack, he got caught in machine gun crossfire, but he got through okay.

Originally, Sergeant Frost’s wire team put in several wires. All but one was knocked out by Japanese artillery. Jim’s team had to run them down to find the breaks and make repairs.  He received a battlefield commission to second lieutenant on Saipan.

Jim married Alberta M. Singley, March 10, 1945, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

After World War II, Jim served in the Marine Corp Reserve and was commanding officer of the 2nd Ordnance Field Maintenance Co. in Moline, Illinois.[4]  Jim moved through the ranks and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.    

In August of 1950, Jim’s Reserve unit was called to active duty with the 16th Infantry Battalion, USMCR, and sent to Camp Pendleton.[5] They then mobilized for service in Korea, and he saw action there.  In 1952, he was still stationed at Camp Pendleton.[6]

In 1957, Jim qualified as an expert marksman, the highest level in marksman qualification.[7]                                                                                       

Jim then worked at Headquarters, Armament Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM), in the Procurement Directorate, Rock Island Arsenal.[8]  He retired in 1983.

Jim was a member of the Marine Corp League, where he was elected and served two years as national commandant of the League. He was also a member of the Retired Officers Association, VFW Post 828, American Legion Post 26, AARP, Plus 60 Club, Second Marine Division Association, Military Order of Devil Dogs, Hancock Lodge 101, AF and AM, Greenfield, Indiana, Greenfield York Rite Bodies, Miriam Chapter 64 Order of Eastern Star, Mohassan Grotto, National Contract Management Association, Rock Island Arsenal Historical Society and St. John’s United Methodist Church.

Colonel Frost died Monday, June 14, 1999, at Genesis East Medical Center, Davenport.

James H Frost’s memorial page – Honor Veterans Legacies at VLM (va.gov)

Battle of Guadalcanal

The Guadalcanal campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and code named Operation Watchtower by American forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first major land offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

On 7 August 1942, Allied forces, predominantly United States Marines, landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands, with the objective of using Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases in supporting a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Japanese defenders, who had occupied those islands since May 1942, were outnumbered and overwhelmed by the Allies, who captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as the airfield – later named Henderson Field – that was under construction on Guadalcanal.

Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November, with the defeat of the last Japanese attempt to bombard Henderson Field from the sea and to land enough troops to retake it. In December, the Japanese abandoned their efforts to retake Guadalcanal, and evacuated their remaining forces by 7 February 1943, in the face of an offensive by the U.S. Army’s XIV Corps, with the Battle of Rennell Island, the last major naval engagement, serving to secure protection for the Japanese troops to evacuate safely.

Wikipedia contributors, “Guadalcanal campaign,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Guadalcanal campaign – Wikipedia (Accessed July 19, 2022).

Battle of Tarawa

The Battle of Tarawa was fought on 20–23 November 1943 between the United States and Japan at the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, and was part of Operation Galvanic, the U.S. invasion of the Gilberts.[3] Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio, in the extreme southwest of Tarawa Atoll.[4]

The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the Pacific War that the United States had faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing.[5] Previous landings met little or no initial resistance,[6][a] but on Tarawa the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well-prepared, and they fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The losses on Tarawa were incurred within 76 hours.

Wikipedia contributors, “Battle of Tarawa,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Battle of Tarawa – Wikipedia  (Accessed July 19, 2022)

Battle of Saipan

The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June to 9 July 1944 as part of Operation Forager.[6] It has been referred to as the “Pacific D-Day” with the invasion fleet departing Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched, and launching nine days after.[7] The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and the Army’s 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito. The loss of Saipan, with the deaths of at least 29,000 troops and heavy civilian casualties, precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō and left the Japanese archipelago within the range of United States Army Air Forces B-29 bombers.

Wikipedia contributors, “Battle of Saipan,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Battle of Saipan – Wikipedia (Accessed July 19, 2022)

Battle of Tinian

The Battle of Tinian was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Tinian in the Mariana Islands from 24 July until 1 August 1944. The 8,000-man Japanese garrison was eliminated, and the island joined Saipan and Guam as a base for the Twentieth Air Force.[1]: 72

The 4th Marine Division landed on 24 July 1944, supported by naval bombardment and marine artillery firing across the strait from Saipan.[1]: 72With the help of Seabee ingenuity the Marines were able to land along the Northwest coast with its two small beaches and low coral.[3] The rest of the island had coral cliffs up to 15 feet (4.6 m) high at the water’s edge negating any assault plans. Commodore Paul J. Halloran (CEC) Seabee theater commander provided drawings of a conceptual landing ramp for the 18th and 121st Construction Battalions to fabricate.[4] To construct these ramps, the plans called for the Seabees to mount steel beams salvaged from Saipan’s abandoned sugar mill on LVT-2s. If they worked they would allow the Marines to outflank Tinian’s prepared defenses. General Harry Schmidt was skeptical and ordered that the ramps be put through a 100-vehicle use test. The Seabee creation was named a Doodlebug.[4] It worked exactly as the Marines had hoped.[4] A successful feint for the major settlement of Tinian Town diverted defenders from the actual landing site on the north of the island.[1]: 76The feint withstood a series of night counterattacks supported by tanks and the 2nd Marine Division landed the next day.[1]: 80

Another piece of Seabee handiwork was brought across from Saipan: the 24 “Satan” mechanized flamethrowers that General Holland Smith USMC had requested from the Army’s CWS Flame Tank Group in Hawaii. The terrain on Tinian was much more conducive to their use than Saipan.[5] Saipan and Tinian served as a training grounds for the tank crews and proving grounds for the Marine Corps.

The weather worsened on 28 July, damaging the pontoon causeways and interrupting the unloading of supplies.[1]: 81By 29 July, the Americans had captured half the island, and on 30 July, the 4th Marine Division occupied Tinian Town and Airfield No. 4.[1]: 81

Japanese remnants made a final stand in the caves and ravines of a limestone ridge on the south portion of the island, making probes and counterattacks into the Marine line.[1]: 85Resistance continued through 3 August, with some civilians murdered by the Japanese

Wikipedia contributors, “Battle of Tinian,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Tinian&oldid=1141986633 (Accessed July 19, 2022)

[1] James H. Frost (1923-1999) – Find a Grave Memorial

[2] Sheet 1A Census – US Federal 1930 – Fold3

[3] 20 Jul 1944, Page 4 – The Hancock Democrat at Newspapers.com

[4] Maj Frost 1959 – Newspapers.com

[5] 29 Jul 1950, Page 1 – The Daily Reporter at Newspapers.com

[6] 06 Mar 1952, Page 4 – The Hancock Democrat at Newspapers.com

[7] 15 Jul 1957, 7 – The Daily Times at Newspapers.com

[8] Clipping from The Dispatch – Newspapers.com