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HomeCommunity GroupsHonoring Service: Fallen Veteran James L. "Sky" Larkin, WWII

Honoring Service: Fallen Veteran James L. “Sky” Larkin, WWII

Our reporting on local veterans is a collaboration with RyeVets.org to highlight those from Rye who have served our country across times of war and peace. There are over 2,100 veterans from the City of Rye. Learn more about how you can help research and write biographies of those that have served.

Honoring Service - 062023 - James Larkin
James Larkin

James Larkin was born in New York in 1922 and resided at 262 Purchase St. with his parents, James P. and Minnie, as well as his sister Margaret. His father worked as a private chauffeur and his sister held a position as a legal secretary. James completed his education at Rye High School, graduating in 1941. Following his graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and served during World War II.

Date of Birth: 4/5/1922
Died On: 3/4/1945
Street Address: 262 Purchase Street
Service Number: 372265
Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps-HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Divsion

Known by the nickname “Sky” due to his towering height of over six feet, James was well known in the Rye community. He actively participated in sports, dramatic groups, and community activities. He attended the Resurrection School and later excelled as a football player at Rye. After completing his studies, James found employment in the mailing department of General Foods in New York. Immediately after the events of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and began his active service in February 1942.

Honoring Service - JAMES L. LARKIN, Red Cross
JAMES L. LARKIN, Red Cross

Initially serving as a Marine Paratrooper, James spent 21 months in the Pacific. However, due to questioning the necessity and cost of specialized units like the Marine Paratroopers, the Marine Corps disbanded the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment and similar units by February 1944.

James then transferred to the 5th Marine Division, 26th Marines, 3rd Battalion, HQ Company. By February 1945, after three years of service and surviving four combat campaigns, James and his fellow Marines embarked on the invasion of Iwo Jima. The subsequent 13 days of combat resulted in significant casualties, but the battle persisted. D+13 Action Report 26th Marines D+13, 4 Mar 45 Weather: Intermittent rainfall, visibility poor.

On March 4, 1945, the weather on Iwo Jima was warm, but visibility was hampered by low-hanging clouds and intermittent rainfall. Despite fatigue and facing fierce resistance from Japanese forces, James’s 26th Marines engaged in a determined attack against well-fortified positions. The Japanese launched counterattacks, sensing the sluggishness of the assault, but were repelled by artillery and mortar fire.

While some units made uncoordinated advances, they were met with flank fire and forced to withdraw, resulting in no gain for the day. Notably, Division Headquarters successfully relocated to a new position north of Airfield No. 1 on the island’s west side. Throughout the intense combat, replacements made their way to the front, observing the wounded Marines returning from hospital ships.

The day-long struggle resulted in 200 Marine casualties, including Sergeant James L. Larkin, who had participated in four major campaigns in the South Pacific. Despite the heavy losses suffered, the Marines successfully chewed through a significant portion of Japanese General Kuribayashi’s main defenses, leading the enemy commander to relocate his command post to a northern cave.

Honoring Service - James Larkin - Dina Might
“Dina Might”

The battle on Iwo Jima stands out as one of the most brutal, tragic, and costly in American history. March 4, 1945, marked an unexpected turning point on the island. That afternoon, the first crippled B-29 bomber, named “Dina Might,” landed on Iwo Jima. The presence of Iwo Jima as an emergency landing base potentially saved the lives of 24,761 American airmen, bolstering American morale. Unfortunately, for one Marine from Rye, James L. Larkin, time had run out. His sacrifice and the sacrifices of his comrades are remembered with deep respect and gratitude.

James L. Larkin Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1941. More on Larkin.

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