Iwo Jima Marine Dies
Added August 13, 2015
On Sunday, August 9, John Scheperle, Jr., one of the last living Marines to serve on Iwo Jima, passed away in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was 90 years old.
Scheperle, who followed in his older brother's footsteps and joined the Marines in 1943 after graduating from Jefferson City High School, was a member of the 3rd Platoon, E-Company, 28th Marines. The platoon is famous for capturing Mt. Suribachi and planting an American flag on its summit, as was captured in Joe Rosenthal's iconic image that was used as the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial, and is believed to be the most decorated platoon in Marine Corps history for a single engagement.
Scheperle earned two Purple Hearts on Iwo Jima, the first after he received a shrapnel wound to his arm from an exploding mortar, the second after he was shot days later, the bullet entering under his right arm and exiting through his left shoulder. Scheperle's shrapnel wound prevented him from having the opportunity to take part in the mission to capture the summit of Mt. Suribachi, as he was recovering on a hospital ship, the USS Samaritan, at the time. The initial treatment of his gunshot wound was provided by Navy Corpsman John Bradley, one of the six men who helped raise the flag.
After the war, Scheperle returned home to Jefferson City and married Carolyn. The two had three children and John worked in the construction industry until his retirement in 1990.