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Jerald 'Jed' Heins

Jerald "Jed" Heins, age 80, of Montrose died Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2004 at The Minnesota Veterans' Home in Minneapolis.

He was born Feb. 28, 1923 in rural Buffalo, the son of Charles T. and Ethel Dixon Heins.

Jerry was a Marine Corps W.W. II veteran whose unit was one of the first to land on the Island of Iwo Jima in February 1945.

He also was awarded two Purple Hearts from injuries received during combat while on Iwo Jima. Although the immediate family knew from Jerry's accounts that he was halfway up Mount Suribachi when the patrol went up to have the infamous flag raising, it was only after Jerry's illness that they found out the true extent of why.

The following are excerpts from the book Immortal Images by Tedd Thomey, 1996 (regarding the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima).

The first flag was raised on Mount Suribachi on the morning of 23 Feb. 1945 at 10:30 hours by elements of a 40-man patrol from the 28th Regiment of the 5th Marine Division shortly after it captured the summit.

The patrol had to fight its way up the steep, treacherous slopes of the 556-foot extinct volcano, as it was attacked by Japanese firing on them from caves and throwing grenades. The Marines killed all the enemy they would find and suffered no casualties of their own.

(This patrol was not the first to climb Mount Suribachi. That distinction went to a small patrol that volunteered to go up the night before, 22 February 1945.)

The four volunteers and a Navy Corpsman assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division included Pfc. Raul V. Paredes, Cpl Leroy Winegarten, PIc Jerald W. Heins, Pfc Charles Ihde and Corpsman Edwin E. Hickerson.

They had volunteered for the dangerous mission on the night of 22 Feb. 1945, while the mountain was still under total enemy control.

The volunteers were ordered by a Marine captain to scale the steep rocky slopes in the darkness and locate a cave being used by Japanese artillery spotters who were directing shell fire at Marine units dug in around the base of Mount Suribachi.

After encountering the enemy at approximately 1:30 a.m. on the morning of 23 February 1945, Mount Suribachi was turned into a scene of bloody confusion. Marine Gunners in the 3rd Battalion were unaware of the small volunteer patrol of Marines that were halfway up Suribachi.

One of the members of the volunteer patrol who was now under fire from both enemy and Marine units contacted a Marine captain by radio who immediately phoned the 3rd Battalion and stopped the Marines from firing at the patrol. At that time a larger patrol was sent up to reinforce the volunteers and sporadic firefights went on through the night.

A few hours later, a bigger patrol climbed Mount Suribachi, the flags went up, and the rest is history.

Jerald Heins and Frances L. Roy were joined in holy marriage Sept. 25, 1947 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Delano. God blessed their marriage with a son, Kenneth.

Heins engaged in farming for many years in Woodland Township, Wright County. He was formerly employed for many years at The Farmer's Elevator in Waverly, and later served as a heavy equipment operator and performed road maintenance for Woodland Township.

He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Waverly.

Jed was a life member of The V.F.W. Post #1901 in Montrose. He also belonged to The 5th Marine Association and American Legion Post 42.

He is survived by his wife, Frances L. Heins of Montrose; son Kenneth (Carla) Heins of Blue Springs, Mo., grandsons Wade, Charlie, and Jamie Heins; granddaughter Michelle Hilburn; and great grandchildren Ashley Staton, and Tucker and Madison Heins.

Jed is further survived by brothers Ted (Lydia) Heins of Buffalo, John (Vera) Heins of Princeton, Edward (Darlene) Heins of Corcoran, Owen (Wilma) Heins of Glen, and Chuck (Bev) Heins of Aitkin; sister Audrey (Denny) Bistodeau of Aitkin; sisters-in-law Mary Heins of Ogilvie, Fern Heins of Neosho Rapids, Kan., Elizabeth "Betty" Schorey of St. Paul, Vera Roy of Watertown, and Donna Roy of St. Paul; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Jed is preceded in death by his parents Charles T. and Ethel Heins, two brothers, and by a great grandson.

A Concelebrated Mass of Chrisitian Burial for Jed Heins was Monday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Mary in Waverly. Father Timothy Cloutier and Father Martin B. Shallbetter were the Concelebrants.

Interment with military rites followed at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Patty Munson was the organist for the Mass.

Friends called Sunday, Jan. 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. A prayer service was held at 7 p.m.

Casketbearers were Vernon BroIl, Roger Roy, Jim Schorey, Russ Heins, Dale Heins, and David Dixon.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo served the family.

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