Marines celebrate 241st birthday |

Marines celebrate 241st birthday

91-year-old World War II Marine Corps veteran Jack Wyle cuts the birthday cake Thursday.
Brad Coman |

At 91, Jack Wyle was the oldest Marine attending Thursday’s 241st birthday ceremony at the Douglas County Judicial & Law Enforcement Building.

Wyle fought at Tinnian, Saipan and Iwo Jima where he served as an aircraft mechanic on Dauntless and other divebombers between 1943 and 1946.

He said was taking pictures on Iwo Jima and saw all the dead there.

“I couldn’t take a picture of them,” he said. “It wouldn’t have been right.”

Wyle said all 6,800 dead were brought home and Iwo Jima was turned back over to the Japanese.

“You’d think we should have kept it as a memorial,” he said.

Two dozen Marines from every era since World War II were present at the birthday, where coffee and cakes was served.

Justin Willaims was the youngest Marine, who got out in 2009.

“This is an opportunity for us to gather and share our experiences as Marines,” Undersheriff Paul Howell said. “One thing none of us shares is regret at being a Marine.”

Judge Steve McMorris read the commandant’s message.