The death of Charles “Chuck” Jay on Dec. 3 marked yet another loss of local World War II heroes.
Jay joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 or 1944 when he was 17 years old. At age 19 he was a gunner’s mate on the first ship to hit the beach for the invasion of Iwo Jima. It was Feb. 18, 1945.
“Ours was the first ship to hit the beach for the invasion,” he said in an interview with The Mountain Mail in November 2010. “About half a mile out we peppered the beach with 40 mm cannons and when we got within a quarter of a mile, we hit it with rockets, decimating the beach so the Marines could come in.