I was going to post this on the “Spoilers’ post, but thought that some might not see it because they had already seen that thread.
Sgt. Lena Basilone was quite a Lady, Female Marine and Noncommissioned Officer.
Lena was born March 7, 1913, in Portland Oregon of Italian/Sicilian parents. She had four siblings.
Lena was attending business school when the war broke out. She immediately enlisted in the Marines.
She was assigned as a field cook and stationed at Camp Pendleton, where she later met GySgt. Basilone. They were married on 10 July 1944. Shortly thereafter John shipped out back to the Fleet Marine Force. While GySgt. Basilone was killed on 19 Feb. 1945, Sgt. Lena was not notified until 7 March 1945, which happened to be her 32nd birthday.
Sgt. Lena never remarried. She was once asked by her best friend, a lady by the name of Barbara why Lena never remarried. Lena replied, “Once you have the best, you can’t settle for less!” Greater Love hath no Woman!
After the war she worked for an Electrical Company in Southern California. At the same time she worked tirelessly as a volunteer at the Long Beach California Veterans Hospital, the American Veterans Auxiliary and the Women’s Marine Association. She was also a member of the Liberty Baptist Church of Long Beach.
Sgt. Lena was well known for her service to those in need. She would invite large groups of people over, to cook them special meals for the Holidays and such. When she saw a person in need, she would do what she could to help, when she saw a need she would do what it took to fill that need. She was extremely well loved!
Sadly, Sgt. Lena Basilone passed away on Friday, June 11th, 1999, at the age of 86. She passed just three days before the official notice was released that the 17 mile section of Interstate 5 by Camp Pendleton was to be renamed “Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Memorial Freeway”. I know she would have been very proud to hear that!
Right before her death, Sgt. Lena was asked if she wished to be buried at Arlington Cemetery, close to her husband. She gracefully declined saying that “she did not want to cause trouble for anyone.” A truly remarkable Woman!
Sgt. Lena Basilone was laid to rest with full military honors at the Veterans Administration National cemetery at Riverside California. She had asked that in lieu of flowers, would donations be sent instead to the American Veterans of WW2 Association.
Sgt. Lena was as much a hero as her husband, John.
Where do we find such people as they were?