Robert “Bob” H. Dyches was born in Georgia, outside of Statesboro, in January 1926. He is the youngest of 15 siblings born on his family farm. After dropping out of high school, Dyches joined the Marine Corps Feb. 19, 1944. He went on to complete basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina. Afterward, he trained at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he spent most of his time on the rifle range.
Dyches then transferred to Maui, Hawaii, aboard the USS Forest Ranger, where he joined Company G of the 2nd Battalion in the 24th Marine Regiment of the 4th Marine Division. When Dyches sailed out of Pearl Harbor, heading for combat, he had no idea where he was going. On Feb. 19, 1945, Dyches and his fellow Marines landed on the small island of Iwo Jima, Japan, carrying 100 pounds of equipment to shore during the Battle of Iwo Jima. On Feb. 22, he was severely wounded when a grenade was thrown into his foxhole and exploded. The next day, while Dyches was receiving medical treatment on a hospital ship, six Marines raised the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi.
Dyches spent 21 months recovering in hospitals in Hawaii and San Francisco. In 1946, after he discharged from the Marines at the rank of corporal, Dyches moved back to Georgia to attend Draughon’s Business College. He then married his sweetheart, Gincy, in Savannah, Georgia, Sept. 12, 1955.
For his combat wounds, Dyches, who still has shrapnel near his spine and up and down his leg at 94 years old, received a Purple Heart.
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Writer: Rachel Heimann
Graphic artist: Deanna Cannon