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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jack W. Hill, USMC, Service #1,000,000
Jack W. Hill, USMC, Service #1,000,000

Jack Warner Hill (1928–1987) was a member of the United States Marine Corps who bears the distinction of holding Marine Corps enlisted service number one million (1,000,000).[1] Hill served a total of two enlistments in the Marine Corps, one during World War II, resulting in a discharge due to lying about this age upon enlistment (similar to Calvin Graham), and the other briefly before the outbreak of the Korean War. After his military service, Hill lived until 1987; where he was killed in an automobile accident.[2]

First induction and enlistment scandal

Hill was issued his number upon induction into the Marine Corps on July 8, 1944, at the height of World War II and during a time period when the United States Marine Corps was heavily engaged in several bloody battles in the Pacific Ocean. The issuance of the one millionth Marine Corps service number was a sensation in the media and was reported by several major newspapers, including The New York Times.[3]

Hill's induction into the Marines later became something of a scandal as it was revealed that the induction board which had drafted him had done so without a check into his background, based on verbal statements only from Hill and his parents. It was then discovered that Hill had made false statements to the induction board and was only sixteen at the time he was drafted. The Marine Corps quietly discharged him in December 1944 after only five months of service.[4]

Second enlistment

Hill reenlisted on October 17, 1946, now truly at eighteen years of age, and served three and a half years of duty before being discharged a second time in June 1950. During his second enlistment, he held his previous service number of one million, although the post-World War II media took little interest.

Hill's final rank was that of Corporal and his only military decorations were the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) and the World War II Victory Medal. Both of these medals were never presented to Hill during his service, but were considered "automatic" due to the time periods in which he served – the World War II Victory Medal for service between 1941 and 1946 and the NDSM for service after June 27, 1950 during the era of the Korean War. Hill in fact only qualified for the National Defense Service Medal by three days of service as he was discharged on June 30, 1950.

The One Millionth Marine

Although Hill is cited in Marine Corps history as holding service number one million, the honor of actually holding the one millionth service number technically falls to #1,020,001 since Marine enlisted service numbers start at #20,001.[5] The actual holder of the one millionth Marine enlisted service number was Private First Class Edgar Patrick Wibbenmeyer, who was issued #1,020,001 on 11 August 1945.[6] Even this claim is slightly dubious, however, since between 1920 and 1940, the Marine Corps left approximately forty thousand service numbers un-issued, meaning that the "true" one millionth service number would be slightly higher than #1,060,000.

Hill was also never the one millionth Marine, as some of the newspapers referred to him by, since the Marine Corps had been in existence for over a century and a half before Hill's entry, with service number 1,000,000 simply the result of the service number system invented in 1920.

Sources

  • Marine Corps Historical Center, 1254 Charles Morris Street S.E., Washington, DC 20374-5040

References

  1. ^ National Personnel Records Center, Military Operations Branch, "Service number index and registry of retired, deceased, and discharged military personnel" (2007)
  2. ^ United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Freedom of Information Act Inquiry (May 2010)
  3. ^ "One Millionth Marine Enlisted", The New York Times, July 10, 1944
  4. ^ "Selective Service Rolls", 1944, United States Selective Service System
  5. ^ National Personnel Records Center, Instruction Memo 1865.20E, "Service Number Information", 14 April 1988
  6. ^ United States Marine Corps Personnel Support Branch, Quantico, Freedom of Information Act Inquiry, August 2009
This page was last edited on 22 July 2019, at 12:51
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