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 PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/

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MessageSujet: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/   Sam 28 Déc 2013 - 5:57

PFC Jorge Ivan Rodriguez
Company M (Weapons Company)
3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment
2nd Marine Division
USS Arthur Middleton, APA-25
Betio, Tarawa Atoll
December 28, 1921- November 20, 1943

Here is a figure/tribute to the Marine uncle of a friend of mine, who at 21, was one of the many that died on the assault on Betio Island, in the Tarawa Atoll, in November of 1943. He would have been 92 today.

First some in action images, on one of my generic Styrofoam bases.

Here is the figure in its official base, representing the USS Middleton deck.

I want to thank Rafael Rodriguez who provided me with a lot of incredible information about his uncle, PFC Jorge Ivan Rodriguez, the subject of this bash. Also want to thank SAGers RogueJK , pangaloss, andy101506, tflockj and USMCPrice who helped me along the way with great advice on details of US Marine types. Their advice and an old book from my reference library, Bender Publishing’s “USMC Combat Infantry Equipment of WWII” by Alec S. Tulkoff were instrumental in moving this project forward.

Added a piece of wire (coat hanger) to secure the figure to the base

Some more information about PFC Rodriguez

Photo of PFC Jorge Ivan Rodriguez

PFC Rodriguez was born in Santo Domingo City in the Dominican Republic. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in New York City, New York on 3 November 1942 and stated that he had prior service in the U.S. military. He listed his residence as New York, New York. PFC Rodriguez listed his mother, Mrs. Clotilde Rodriguez of Ponce, Puerto Rico, as his next of kin. PFC Rodriguez had completed all of the necessary paperwork to receive U.S. Government life insurance. After basic training, PFC Rodriguez was assigned to Company C, Fifth Replacement Battalion, 3rd Marine Brigade in January 1943. On 5 April 1943, he was transferred to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division that was assigned to New Zealand for a period of training and refit after participating in the Battle of Guadalcanal. On 1 July 1943, Rodriguez was promoted from Private to Private First Class.
The 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines was designated to land on Red Beach 1 during the invasion of Tarawa. PFC Rodriguez’ battalion was transported from their training bases in New Zealand to Tarawa on board the USS Arthur Middleton, APA-25.

An image of the USS Arthur Middleton

PFC Rodriguez’ unit (M Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Division) was the battalion’s weapons unit and armed primarily with machine guns and mortars. He landed with his fellow Marines at about 0910 hours on the morning of the first day of the invasion, 20 November 1943, at a position on Red Beach 1 known as the “Bird’s Beak”. His company received heavy casualties during the landing including the loss of five of its seven officers who were either wounded or killed.

The circumstances of PFC Rodriguez’ death is completely unknown. PFC Rodriguez is listed in Chaplain Willard’s log book and his date of death is noted in that record. There is no notation in any of his records for either a cause of death or burial location other than a “memorial grave”, which is not an actual burial site. Both the Graves Registration Unit report of January 1944 and the island commander, Captain Gould, in his report of June 1944 list his burial location as “unknown”.
A preponderance of the evidence indicates that PFC Rodriguez was killed during the first day of the invasion on November 20, 1943 when he attempted to land on Red Beach 1 with his assigned unit in an area known as the “Bird’s Beak”. Chaplain Willard lists PFC Rodriguez in his log book with a date of death which supports the fact that someone reported observing PFC Rodriguez’s death to the chaplain. An absence of information in PFC Rodriguez’ records pertaining to a cause of death indicates that his was likely a hasty burial under fire on the battlefield. His burial was probably intended to be a temporary grave and its location was likely lost during the chaos of battle and its aftermath. If that was the case, the remains of PFC Rodriguez still lie on Tarawa today.

For this figure, I used a recent DID nude body, reduced at the shoulders and shortened at the thighs and calves. PFC Rodriguez was 5’6”, 162 lbs. All the uniforms pieces and equipment are DML, except the web belt, which I believe is from DID. Must admit that getting just a few elements on the cloth waist belt was almost 2 hours work! I did it, but still not sure what is the way to do it, as in my case it was more trial and error than technique! It is the first time I use a cloth waist belt, and I remember how tough it was to get the items on the rubbery belts, but was not easier at all!
Replaced the plastic stubs with CVI lift dot castings on the equipment.
He is wearing the light marching pack set up (thanks USMCPrice) He is carrying the tripod and cradle for the .30 caliber water cooled M1917 Browning machine gun used by the weapons company of the battalion.
I decided to depict him just as he would have been on his transport ship, the USS Arthur Middleton, just before going over the side to get on the LVT that would take him towards Betio as part of the first wave of the assault. So I made a base trying to represent the ship’s deck. Looks very new as the USS Middleton had been damaged and refurbished a sort time before the attack on Tarawa. Used black styrene and some scrap parts from the parts box to make the base. Painted with the air gun and then added some depth with dry brushing. Placed this piece on a wooden base on which my wife tried out, successfully, her new router for the edge! Later I decided to try some in action images on one of my Styrofoam bases and included some of these also as I really liked how they turned out!
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MessageSujet: Re: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/   Dim 29 Déc 2013 - 0:46

Interesting history.
Nice Marines but too clean for my taste. Wink


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screaming eagles


MessageSujet: Re: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/   Dim 29 Déc 2013 - 0:49

This morning, I couldn't see the pics... Here they are !

Nice bash, nice story. That's exactly the kind of figures I like to see.    
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MessageSujet: Re: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/   Dim 29 Déc 2013 - 14:55

I agree with you in terms of too clean, but the main display of this figure is on the ship BEFORE starting the attack. Having a figure heavily weathered on the ship would have not looked right.
I added the images on the sandy base later. This figure is representing an actual who died on the first day. There is no assurance that he actually reached the beach.
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Jethro Tull


MessageSujet: Re: PFC Jorge I. Rodriguez, 3/2 Marine Regt., Betio, Tarawa, 11/   Lun 30 Déc 2013 - 18:31

Everything is there, details, historical rigor ... Beautiful tribute. A working model I like (always with a flexible posture)   
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