By Reverend E. Gage Hotaling BACKSTORY: The Reverend E. Gage Hotaling, the son of a Baptist minister, was born in Wellsville, New York, on January 21, 1916. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from Brown University, class of 1935, and Andover Newton Theological School in 1940. After graduating in 1944 from the Naval Chaplains School in Newport, Rhode Island, he joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 27. Serving as a chaplain in the Graves Registration Section of the 4th Marine Division, he spent 26 days on Iwo Jima—a vicious island battle that claimed the lives of over 6,800 Americans and 20,000 Japanese. His son, Kerry, who provided this magazine with excerpts from his father’s war diary, said that his father “felt that he would not be able to preach to this generation of people if he did not experience what they were going through.” The chaplain passed away in May 2010 after a long life preaching in many parishes in Massachusetts. This excerpt from his diary begins in January 1945, as the 4th Marine Division, part of a larger task force of 70,000 Americans, prepared to depart Hawaii for the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima. The Diary of Reverend E. Gage Hotaling January 26, 1945 Went ashore on my last liberty…. I went down to Waikiki where I had lunch. When I looked at the menu I saw they had clam chowder and sirloin steak. I had them both and then finished my dinner with a bottle of milk. Previous to getting the milk, I had a chocolate milk s
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2 thoughts on “A Navy Chaplain on Iwo Jima: Doing God’s Work in Hell”
Fascinating read. Eternal thanks to Ch. Hotaling and all those who served with him.