Tulsan Rex Calvert graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1942 and worked 10 months for Mid-Continent Petroleum. When he and some of his friends came out of a movie in December 1941, Calvert remembers there was a kid on the street yelling, “Pearl Harbor attacked by Japanese!” Rex was drafted and on February 12, 1943, 14 months after the Pearl Harbor attack, he enlisted in the Marines. It was at Pearl Harbor in early 1945 that Calvert along with the 4th Marine Division started their 40-day trip to Iwo Jima. The marines fought off the attacks by the Japanese in hidden bunkers and shellings from Mount Suribachi. On February 23, 1945 four days into the battle, came the raising of the American Flag atop Mount Suribachi – the highest point on the island. Rex saw the flag as hundreds of marines celebrated the moment. The costly American victory at Iwo Jima gave U.S. forces an emergency landing strip for damaged aircraft in the Pacific. But previous to this moment, Rex had already been in three combat landings in the Marshall Islands, Saipan and the battle of Tinian. He dodged death many times but was hit by enemy fire just one time on Saipan, which earned him the Purple Heart. In October 1945, Calvert was discharged and returned to Tulsa where he retired in 1984 after 42 years with Sun Oil. There were many marines in the Fourth Division who made the supreme contribution to victory. They were boys of 18 and men of 40. They were privates and they were lieutenant colonels. They will not be forgotten.
Interview with Rex Calvert
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: March 1, 2012
Date Published: May 23, 2012
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.