The Collections Department is in the process of accessioning a WWII weapon with a wonderful story behind it. The M-1 carbine carried on the beach at Iwo Jima by a 19-year old Navy corpsman is being donated by the original owner’s son.
Fred Brinkman, Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class, went ashore at Iwo Jima on D-day+1 and remained for four days tending to the wounded under fire and with no rest. He and two other corpsmen were the only unwounded survivors out of a medical section of nine from the USS Lowndes. He had worked out with the Marines in preparation for the invasion, and credited that physical training with giving him the stamina necessary to his survival during those terrible four days. Brinkman wrote his family a 40-page letter detailing his experiences during the Iwo Jima battle. A facsimile and transcript of the letter are posted on the USS Lowndes website maintained by Brinkman’s son. The original of the letter is also being donated to the Relic Room.
In later years Fred Brinkman was the Director of the SC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from 1973-1991. He died in 1997. The Museum is delighted to be the permanent repository of these reminders of his service in WWII.