PFC Richard Nicholas Carlton, the son of Nicholas and Elizabeth Carlton, was born June 1, 1926 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He enlisted in Boston on September 28, 1942. He must have lied about his age as he was only 16 at the time. He died on Guam due to a land mine explosion on July 21, 1944, just after his 18th birthday. According to relatives, Richard was the son of a Greek immigrant father who was killed in a car accident, probably prior to 1944. On Richard's casualty card, his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman, 279 James St., Worcester, Mass., indicating that she may have been re-married at that time, or had assumed her maiden name. PFC Carlton's remains were returned to the US and he is buried in Worcester.
The day for the initial invasion of Guam was dubbed W-Day. That was the day that the 3rd Marine Division attacked Asan beach, and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade attacked at Agat 7 miles away. That was the day that PFC Richard Carlton was killed. PFC Carlton was a member of the 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Provisional Brigade as documented on the NPS site. He is also listed on the Asan Wall Memorial that lists all casualties on Guam between December 6, 1941 and August 10, 1944.
W-Day, 21 July 1944, opened as a beautiful day, but it soon turned hazy as the violent clouds of smoke, dust, and fire spiraled skyward. At 0808 an air observer shouted into his microphone: "First wave on the beach." At 0833, the same airborne announcer confirmed the battle was on, with: "Troops ashore on all beaches."
Troops of the 3d Marine Division landed on Guam virtually in the lap of the Japanese island commander, General Takashina, whose U-shaped cave command post, carved out of a sandstone cliff, overlooked the Asan-Adelup beachhead. The looming heights dominated the beaches, particularly on the left and center, where the 3d and 21st Marines were headed for the shore.
PFC Carlton's officially engraved posthumous Type 1 Purple heart comes with its original purple "coffin" box as made by the US Mint, and his casualty card showing his origin and date of death, plus some internet research.
As of August, 2012 this group has been returned to a member of the family.