Okinawa: a local Marine leads his men in the final firefight

Veterans Voices

MARRIOTTSVILLE, MD — (WDVM) First Lieutenant Louis J. Schott landed in the third wave during the Battle of Okinawa in the Pacific in the closing months of World War Two.

Schott came ashore as the commanding officer of Headquarters Company, but he wasn’t a happy camper. The combat-wounded veteran from Peleliu wanted to lead Marines in combat again.

After badgering his battalion commander, Lt. Schott was reassigned as the Executive Officer of a front-line unit. Two days before the iconic Battle of Okinawa ended, Schott got his wish for command when the company commander was shot in the back six times when A-Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment was cleaning out snipers hiding in the ruins of Shuri Castle, the major line of defense for Japanese forces on Okinawa.

Before Captain Jason Dusenbury from North Carolina was gravely wounded he raised a Confederate flag over Shuri Castle.

Schott says they got a lot of flak for raising a rebel flag over the ruins. But as he explained, “We didn’t have the U.S. colors with us, so we raised the rebel flag. ”

Schott says the battalion commander later replaced the Stars and Bars with the Stars and Stripes, but the Commanding General of the First Marine Division ended the controversial flag raising when he said Marines who stormed the castle could fly any flag they wanted.

Captain Dusenbury went home with a Silver Star, Navy Cross and a Purple Heart, “But he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair; unable to walk,” said Schott.

When Dusenbury went down, First Lieutenant Schott took command of A-Company and fought what he believes was the LAST firefight of the LAST battle of World War Two on Hill 69 near Shuri Castle.

“Okinawa was a tough battle, but Peleliu was absolute Hell,” said Schott as he sat in his man cave in Marriottsville where he lives with one of his five daughters.

Schott was badly wounded in the left arm on Peleliu by mortar fragments and was shipped to Hawaii for treatment of his wound. But he rejoined 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in time for the Invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945.

Schott didn’t know it at the time, but his medical records stated that he was “unfit for field duty,” because of the wound he received on Peleliu, but his desire to lead Marines again in combat on Okinawa was overwhelming and he says that was “the greatest moment of his life, because we accomplished the mission.”

Twenty-five years after the war, Japan rebuilt Shuri Castle and it quickly became a top tourist attraction when it opened in 1992, but it burned down in October 20-19. No word from Tokyo if it will be rebuilt a second time.

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