A Leatherneck with a Saxophone Takes to the Pacific

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In Big John’s Adventure’s in Travel, I thoroughly enjoy paying tribute to the brave men and women of our armed forces.  On this page we will take a historical journey, traveling back to a time when the entire world was engulfed in war.  On this journey you will meet a patriotic young man with a love for country and a song in his heart.

This post is a brief glimpse into the life of a leatherneck who carried his trusty saxophone into war and brought the joy of music deep into the jungles of the Pacific. This particular marine has a special place in my heart for he is my paternal grandfather, Richard Edwin Cutler. Though I never had the privilege of getting to know him, I’ve heard the extraordinary music he once created could  jazz up even the most unlikely of venues.


My grandfather, Cpl. Richard Edwin Cutler, standing tall in his U.S.M.C. uniform (circa 1943).


 Richard embracing my grandmother, Lauretta, shortly before shipping off to the Pacific Theatre. 


 A happy day for two special couples at a St. Brigid’s Catholic Church, San Diego, CA (August, 1943).



 One of America’s finest ready to do his part for the war effort.

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Cpl. Richard Cutler on Peleliu Island with the 12th Defense Battalion (12th Bn. Anti-Aircraft Artillery), USMC.

In September, 1944, the 12th Defense Battalion landed in Peleliu, where they endured some of the most heated fighting of World War II.  During the bitter fighting on Peleliu, the 12th Defense Battalion gave support to the 1st Marine division while it fought valiantly to take control of this small Pacific island.  Though these brave marines eventually proved victorious; the fighting they endured was later described as “the most heavily fortified ground, square yard by square yard, Marines have ever assaulted.”

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War-weary marines huddled together in a bunker house on Peleliu.


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Richard Cutler playing with the men of the 12th Battalion Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Marine Corps Band.


Though he could do damage with a rifle, this marine became quite the legend with this piece slung around his neck!


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Cpl. Richard “Dick” Cutler plays his sax as the pretty girls sing and dance (3rd bandstand from left).

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I haven’t been able to identify any of the females performing on the stage but they were most likely part of a traveling USO show. Perhaps a visitor to this site might one day be able to provide us with more information.

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 Singing to the boys so far away from home.

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Drink up fellas, you deserve it!

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Aren’t they lovely!

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 I know those young marines hated to see them walk off that stage!


Do your stuff, Gramps, and make that sax sing!

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In honor of Cpl. Richard E Cutler -USMC (8/25/1921-9/1985)

Thank you for reading my article and I hope you visit my site again real soon. Feel free to explore other areas of my blog, post a comment, and show some love on social media.

Happy travel,

Big John

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