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Richard "Dick" Wheeler
Born (1922-01-08)January 8, 1922
Reading, Pennsylvania
Died October 21, 2008(2008-10-21) (aged 86)
Nutting Hall, Pine Grove, Pennsylvania
Occupation
  • Historian
  • author

Richard "Dick" Wheeler (August 1, 1922 – October 21, 2008) was an American military historian who authored seventeen books and served as a military consultant for multiple film and television projects. A member of the United States Marine Corp's Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division) during World War II, he was seriously wounded during the Battle of Iwo Jima.[1]

Post-war, he penned an account of that battle, The Bloody Battle for Suribachi,[2] and became a military historian. Following his first book's release in 1965, he then published additional works, including Voices of the Civil War in 1976[3] and Iwo, which was released in 1980.[4][5] He received a 1973 Christopher Award for Voices of 1776 and the Fletcher Pratt Award for Voices of the Civil War.[6]

Formative years[]

Born on January 8, 1922 in the city of Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Wheeler was a son of Reading native Clarence E. Wheeler and Margaret (Wenrich) Wheeler, a native of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He and his sister, Marjery, subsequently spent their formative years in Laureldale, Pennsylvania after relocating there with their parents in 1926.[5]

Editor of the Muhlenberg Township High School newspaper during his senior year of school, he secured a job as a writer for the Reading Shopping Bulletin after graduating, and worked there until he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[5]

Military service[]

Following the attack by Japanese military forces on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Wheeler promptly enlisted for World War II military service. After enrolling with the United States Marine Corps, he was assigned to the corps' Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Seriously wounded during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945,[7] he spent a significant period of time recuperating from his injuries before heading home after being honorably discharged.[5]

Post-war life and publishing career[]

After returning home from his World War II service, Wheeler returned to his job with the Reading Shopping Bulletin. Over time, he also began to secure work as a freelance writer of poetry and prose for various national publications, including the Saturday Evening Post.[5]

In 1965, he published his first book, The Bloody Battle for Suribachi, which he based on his diary entries and recollections of the Battle of Iwo Jima.[8] As additional print and audio books followed, he became an increasingly respected military history writer[9] and consultant to film and television writers and directors, including those involved with the development and release of Flags of Our Fathers.[5]

Works by Richard Wheeler[]

• Voices of 1776, New York New York, Crowell, 1972.

Later years[]

Nutting Hall, Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, c. 2009.

In 1997, Wheeler relocated to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, where he resided at Nutting Hall, the historic home owned by his sister, Marjery Wheeler Mattox. He continued to research and write military history books, and also continued to serve as a consultant for television and film productions.[10]

In 2006, he joined several survivors from his Iwo Jima platoon in attending a Veterans Day breakfast at the White House with President George W. Bush.[5]

Death and interment[]

Still residing with his sister at Nutting Hall in 2008, he died there at the age of 86 on October 21, 2008, and was interred at Saint Peter's Cemetery in Pine Grove.[5]

References[]

  1. "Richard 'Dick' Wheeler" (obituary). Pottsville, Pennsylvania: Republican & Herald, October 27, 2008 (retrieved online via Legacy.com, August 24, 2019).
  2. Wheeler, Richard. The Bloody Battle for Suribachi. New York, New York: Crowell, 1965. OCLC 1416031
  3. Wheeler, Richard. Voices of the Civil War. New York, New York: Crowell, 1976. OCLC 1818393
  4. Wheeler, Richard. The Bloody Battle for Suribachi. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1994. OCLC 60283569
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "Richard 'Dick' Wheeler" (obituary), Pottsville Republican & Herald, October 27, 2008.
  6. Dear, Pamela S., ed (1996). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series. 50. New York: Gale Research. pp. 456-457. ISBN 9780810393417. https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780810393417/page/456. 
  7. Haynes, Fred. The Lions of Iwo Jima, p. 119. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008.
  8. Wheeler, Richard (1994) [1965]. The Bloody Battle for Suribachi. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-923-9. OCLC 31970164. 
  9. Moskin, J. Robert. "To the Sound of Iwo Jima." Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post, December 18, 1983.
  10. Terwilliger, Vicki. "Brother's Treasures: Sister of well known author auctioning off personal items." Pottsville, Pennsylvania: Pottsville Republican (via the Press Reader), April 26, 2019.

External links[]

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