Alton Cardenhead USMC World War II vet honored by peers

Alton Cardenhead 3rd Marine Division 9th Marines

Alton Cadenhead was just 19 when he left his home in Troupe County to join the Marines. Now, close to 70 years later, he is sharing his experience with both veterans and young soldiers preparing to fight.
“I learned an awful lot in the Marines,” he said. “I learned about discipline and self control, fear and limitations.”
Cadenhead, 87, now resides in Calhoun with his wife of nearly 69 years, Ila Cadenhead.
The veteran was honored Monday at a special ceremony held at the Pacific War Reunion of Honor at WinShape Re-treat center.
Cadenhead, along with two deceased soldiers, were recognized for their efforts in the Pacific during World War II.
“It was a surprise,” he said. “Just being mentioned was an honor. I didn’t expect it.”
Cadenhead first enlisted into the Marines in June of 1943, he served for two years, spending time in both Guam and Iwo Jima as a rifleman.
But it is the time he has spent speaking to fellow veterans, students and young soldiers that garnered him the recognition of his fellow veterans.
“He means a lot to the veterans and has been an inspirational person,” said Bruce Behner who organized the reunion held over a three-day period in Rome.
Cadenhead’s son, Al Cadenhead, said hardly a week goes by that his father is not speaking to one group or another about his time in the Pacific.
“The Marine Corp still asks him to talk about what it is like to be in combat to young soldiers preparing to leave for Afghanistan,” Al Cadenhead said.
He says his father’s ability to share his experience has been cathartic and has helped paint an accurate picture of what World War II soldiers went through.
“There is a need for him to tell the story, for him to talk about his experience,” he said.
Two deceased service members were also recognized. Wil-liam R. Caddy, a young 19-year-old solider from Boston was recognized. Caddy posthumously received the Medal of Honor after he was killed by a hand grenade.
Sgt. Major Ott Farris who died last fall, was also honored. Farris was a career Marine who had been the sergeant of Caddy when the young man was killed in Korea.
“Caddy actually died in his arms,” said Behner.
Read more: Calhoun Times – Calhoun World War II vet honored by peers

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