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The Face Behind G.I. Joe

Leslie Brown

On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige, alone, sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring. One hill. One Marine.  ~Vin Suprynowicz Oct. 25, 2009 Las Vegas Review -Journal 

After I wrote the story about the passing of the creator of the G.I. Joe action figure (a veteran), a Marine friend of mine forwarded me the story of the face behind the “branches of service” Marine G.I. Joe.  I’m sort of partial to Marines since I’m married to one; they don’t quit, and their word is their bond.

Colonel Paige was among the Marines who were essentially stranded on the island of Guadalcanal as Japanese counterattacks had driven U.S. Navy vessels away.  The battle for the island was intense as the Japanese tried to prevent the Marines from creating an airstrip on the island.

Paige and his 33 rifle men killed approximately one thousand Japanese (Japanese figure) and approximately 500 wounded. Ultimately, Paige was the only one left in his platoon, still he sat behind a 30 caliber Browning.

As dawn broke on the hill on which Paige sat, he was recruited by Major Conoley along with 17 other Marines and a few others who mounted an attack on the remaining Japanese by use of grenades. This became the “pivot point” in the battle for the island.

Colonel Paige left us on November 15, 2003, Semper Fidelis.



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