Veteran Memorial: PFC Windle Leon McDonald

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(Photo from Ancestry.com)

Windle Leon McDonald was born on December 1, 1922 in Cullman County. He was the son of E.G. and Winnie McDonald. The family lived at Route 2 in Hanceville. On December 7, 1942, Windle married Miss Ruby Davis.  

He soon enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and served during World War II with the 4th Marine Division. His location in much of his correspondence said simply listed as, “somewhere in the Pacific.” McDonald was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he received in the Saipan-Tinian Campaigns where he was a member of the combat team that captured Namur.  

The 4th Marine Division would receive orders that would take them to Iwo Jima. On the morning of February 19, 1945, they arrived off the coast of Iwo Jima. A history of the 4th Division from 1945 described the morning, “It was D-day! Lying off the island was the now familiar spectacle of the vast armada of an invasion force. From every side, the guns of warships were laying down the bombardment, and overhead, wave after wave of planes hit the island; torpedo bombers firing rockets, fighters strafing and dive bombers coming straight down to drop their load.”  

The battle would continue for 20 days and on March 5, the Division would reorganize and give the troops a chance to rest. On March 6, the 4th Division attacked again. “All three rifle regiments were now in the line, with RCT 25 on the right anchored on the coastline and the other regiments pivoting about it. Very little progress was made through the rugged terrain. Diehard Jap defenders continued to hold out in the Minami Pocket.” 

PFC Windle Leon McDonald was killed in action on the coastline of Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945. McDonald is now buried at Bethel Primitive Cemetery in Berlin. He is honored on the World War II monument at Cullman’s Veterans Memorial Park.  

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com