Arthur F. Dreves
U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) 1st Marine Division C/1/1
Arthur Dreves passed away June 23, 2019
Arthur Frederick Dreves was born in November 2, 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. Nicknamed "Art". After finishing high school, he began working in a hardware store. In November 1941 enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, his enlistment was deferred and told to standby until called. In late December 1941 inducted into the U.S. Marines at 92 Church Street in New York City. Due to an outbreak of measles at Parris Island, South Carolina, he instead boarded a train cross country picking up recruits on the way before disembarking at Camp Pendleton, California.
After basic training, volunteered as a replacement for the 1st Marine Raider Battalion under the command of Col. Merritt A. Edson. While getting ready to ship out, while hauling ammunition, slipped and fractured his foot and was instead assigned guard duty at Imperial Beach guarding a radio station. Afterwards, got leave home to New York.
Returning, he was sent to Point Loma in San Diego guarding an ammunition depot. Next, assigned to El Toro and volunteered to see a movie and was chosen to escort Hollywood actress Jeanne Crain to the premiere of Guadalcanal Diary (1943) at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. By January 1943 promoted to Corporal and became an infantry instructor at Camp Pendleton but instead requested a combat assignment.
Sent overseas to the to the Solomon Islands as a replacement for the 1st Marine Division (1st MAR DIV) on Pavuvu Island. Assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment (C/1/1) under the command of Captain Everett P. Pope and participated in landing on Peleliu Island.
On September 19, 1944 ordered to capture Hill 100. Advancing up Hill 100, the Marines faced enemy mortar and machine guns. By twilight, they were able to reach the summit but discovered the northeast end extended to higher ground where Japanese defenders were able to fire down onto the hilltop. Overnight, the Japanese attempted to probe their position and counterattacked. The defending Marines engaged in hand to hand fighting and resorted to throwing rocks, thrown intermittently with grenades to confuse the Japanese as they ran low of ammunition and grenades.
On September 20, 1944 by dawn, only eight remained uninjured. The surviving Marines were ordered to withdraw and carried off their wounded but were forced to leave their dead. Afterwards, Pope earned the Medal of Honor for his actions on Hill 100. Afterwards, this feature became known as "Pope's Ridge" or "Pope's Hill".
By January 1945 Dreves was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In April 1945 participated in the campaign on Okinawa including fighting at Wama Ridge, Shuri Castle and other battles. On May 15, 1945 he was wounded by shrapnel in his foot and earned the Purple Heart. After the surrender of Japan, Dreves was sent to northern China to maintain peace between Communist Chinese, civilians and the remaining Japanese. On one occasion, he heroically protected a Japanese businessman and his family from Communist Chinese soldiers.
Back home in the United States, he worked for Naval Training Device Center in Orlando, Florida and retired to Winter Park. He was an active member of the Central Florida Chapter 1st Marine Division Association and served as the treasurer for ten years including the June 2019 meeting.
Dreves passed away on June 23, 2019 at age 96 in Hospice care at Lutheran Haven in Oviedo, FL. In 2018, the Central Florida Chapter 1st Marine Division Association purchased a commemorative brick for him at the National Museum of Marine Corps.
Ellie Dreves (wife)
Rick Dreves (son)
Diane Soliwoda (daughter)
NY Births Reported in 1923 - Borough of Brooklyn - Dreves, Arthur F. November 2 1923
U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls - Arthur F Dreves, January 1942–April 1945
Marines in World War II Commemorative Series "Bloody Beaches: The Marines at Peleliu" pages 20-21
RickDreves.com Recollections Arthur F. Dreves (video interview February 2002)
UCF Veterans Arther F. Dreves Interview (video interview March 30, 2011)
Central Florida Chapter 1st Marine Division Association - In Their Own Words - Videos
YouTube "Sergeant Art Dreves - 1st Marine Division" September 7, 2016
Thanks to Arthur F. Dreves for additional information