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Locklear, Henry

Henry Locklear was born on 16 June 1927 in Pembroke, North Carolina. He enlisted in the US Navy on 26 February 1944 to fight in WWII and joined Underwater Demolition Team #12 in Florida for training.  After additional training in Hawaii, the team moved to Ulithi, the staging area for the invasion of Iwo Jima. On 10 February 1945, after intense rehearsals, UDT#12 left Ulithi together with transports and ships of the fleet. The advance group arrived off Iwo Jima on 16 Febraury and the Fast Destroyer-Transports (Green Dragons due to the green camouflage paint) circled the island at 2500 yards that date making observations to aid in final operation planning.  The UDT swimmers were to be dropped from Landing Craft, Personnel, Rubber (LCPR's) 500 yards from the beaches with pairs of swimmers covering approximately 100 yards of shore line before returning to be picked up by the LCPR's. Coxswain Locklear and his swim buddy were dropped by small boat off the coast of Iwo Jima on D-2. Almost immediately, his buddy was wounded by Japanese small arms fire. Henry towed his buddy back out to a boat and got him onboard for medical attention. Coxswain Locklear then swam back alone to complete his mapping mission. He investigated the seabed floor for obstacles to landing craft and measured the depth of water at medium tide, recording this information with grease pencil on his acetate sheet wrapped around his leg. As he completed his mission and turned to swim back out, he noticed that his pickup boat was gone. The boat crew had wrongly determined that Coxswain Locklear was dead or captured by the Japanese. Coxswain Locklear spent hours on the beach, dodging enemy fire. Spotting one of the UDT boats, he swam back out and was picked up . Coxswain Locklear reported his findings to his superiors and the information was critical in making the initial landing successful. Coxswain Locklear and his team then returned on D-Day to assist in removing obstacles on the beach and further inland. For his gallantry in action during this landing, Coxswain Locklear was awarded the nation's third highest valor medal, the Silver Star.  Coxswain Locklear and his team then repeated this heroic action for the landing at Okinawa.  Coxswain Henry Locklear was Honorably Discharged from the Navy on 3 March 1946.  Henry then enlisted in the US Army and served in combat in the Korean War as an infantryman and the Vietnam War as a military intelligence analyst. 

1SG Henry Locklear retired from the US Army in 1980 from Redstone Arsenal in Alabama where he again had been working military inteligence and remained in the Huntsville, Alabama area.