Sunday, September 14, 2008


James Louis Fecht was the great grandson of Mary Ann (Secrist) and Josiah Crites. He served as a U.S. Marine in the South Pacific during World War II.

Philippine 10 centavo note: Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by James L. Fecht in 2007
James Fecht, a young American Marine in World War II brought back several interesting artifacts, one of which is this small 10 centavo note from pre-World War II Philippines. The bill was found on a Japanese soldier captured during the invasion of the Island of Iwo Jima. Japanese prisoners, and there were very few on Iwo Jima, were stripped and made to lay under barbed wire. Artifacts in their clothing not deemed of military significance were divided among the young Americans guarding the prisoners.
Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click to enlarge)

After WWII, James Fecht married and settled in the San Fernando Valley. It was years before he talked about his experiences in the war, among which was the guarding of prisoners on Iwo Jima. He talked about how much he hated the prisoners, and how he feared them. Jim had seen the results of the Japanese army's atrocities on other islands and the deaths of his friends and fellow Marines. His indoctrination about the "sub-human" status of the Japanese made him more fearful, dangerous and determined.

No comments: