World War II Navy Vet Recounts Experience of Landing at Iwo Jima


James Upchurch of Texarkana, told the Texarkana Sunrise Rotary Club the incredible story of landing at Iwo Jima in the spring of 1945 near the end of World War II. He was a Navy enlisted sailor on the USS Bollinger, a Navy vessel commissioned just one year earlier to carry 1,500 Marines to battle.

In 1944, Mr. Upchurch joined the Navy as a 16 or 17-year-old youngster from Stamps, Arkansas. Either he or his friend had doctored one of their applications to the Navy in order to get in early. He recounted his experience on the Bollinger, the landing at Iwo Jima, the “taking” of the island from the Japanese, and their landing at other locations in the Pacific before the war ended in 1945

Mr. Upchurch, now 92 years old, has become a favorite of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Texarkana since he lives on one of the Club’s flag routes. District Assistant Governor, Ralph Waits said, “Mr. Upchurch has been a faithful and patriotic supporter of our Flag Project. He’s always there when we put our flags out in front of his house, and he stands at attention and salutes our flag. He’s a great inspiration to all of us.”

The Texarkana Sunrise Rotary Club salutes this great American – Mr. James Upchurch.

The Texarkana Sunrise Rotary Club, composed of 17 very active members, is one of five Rotary Clubs serving the greater Texarkana area. Rotary International is made up of 35,000+ clubs working together to fight diseases like polio, promote peace, provide clean water & sanitation, save mothers & children, support education, and grow local economies.

Sunrise Rotary meets most Wednesdays at 7:00 a.m. at the Texas Chuck Wagon in Nash. The public is welcome to attend.

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