Russell Robert Rima

Marine Corp Badge
  • Name: Russell Robert Rima
  • Location of Birth: Warba, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: March 24, 1920
  • Date of Death: September 23, 2003 (83 years old)
  • Parents: Arthur Rima and Goldie (Austin) Rima
  • High School and Class: Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • College: North Central School of Agriculture in Grand Rapids, Minnesota
  • Highest Rank: CWO (Chief Warrant Officer)
  • Branch: Marine Corp
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: April 12, 1941
  • Place Sworn In: Marine Corps Recruiting - Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: May 1, 1962
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Units and Locations:
    Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served
    May, 1941 October, 1941 Boot camp at Pendleton, California with Artillery Training.
    October, 1941 March, 1944 Assigned to American Samoa.
    March 4, 1944 Embarked on board the SS Robert G. Harper (a liberty ship) at Tutuila Samoa.
    March 14, 1944 Arrived at Pearl Harbor.
    April 21, 1944 Departed Honolulu on USA M.V. Noordam (a troop carrier).
    April 22, 1944 Arrived at Kauai Territory of Hawaii for advance Artillery training and was promoted to Platoon Sergeant.
    November 30, 1944 Departed Hawaii for San Diego, California and went on to Minnesota on leave.
    December 31, 1944 Reported in at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina and completed advanced 90mm gun course plus other training with rifle training and tracked vehicle familiarization.
    July 8, 1945 Departed from San Diego, California.
    July 15, 1945 Arrived Pearl Harbor, in the field.
    August 27, 1945 Departed Hilo, Hawaii.
    September 22, 1945 Arrived in Sasebo, Japan. Duty here was naval occupation of Japan and was primarily port security until June, 1946.
    June 17, 1946 Embarked aboard the USS Gage (an attack transport) and sailed from Sasebo, Japan and arrived in Tangku, China.
    June 15, 1947 Embarked aboard the USS Pickaway (an attack transport) at Tangku, China and sailed to San Diego, California.
    July 3, 1947 Arrived in San Diego, California.
    Went home on leave and was married on August 23, 1947.
    September 1, 1947 Reported back to Camp Pendleton, California and was assigned to a tracked vehicle maintenance unit.
    August, 1949 Transferred to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Duties were similar to those at Camp Pendleton, California (maintaining LVT's (landing vehicle, tracked).
    October 10, 1951 Transferred to Camp Pendleton, California. 2nd Battalion 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Training and Replacement Command.
    May, 1952 Transferred to Head Quarters & Service Company, 1st Amtrak Battalion, Fleet Marine Force in the field (Korea).
    January 8, 1953 Transferred to Tracked Vehicle Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California.
    July, 1953 Became Company 1st Sergeant.
    January 14, 1954 Transferred to Casual Company Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.
    January 31, 1956 Transferred to St. Louis, Missouri.
    March 24, 1956 Received an appointment to Warrant Officer. Then became a Maintenance Officer but remained with the Navy inspection service.
    October, 1956 Returned to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina and was assigned duties there as a Maintenance Officer in the Headquarters and Service Company 2nd Tank Battalion. He remained there until April 30, 1962.
    May 1, 1962 Retired as a Chief Warrant Officer from the Marine Corps.
  • Military Awards:
    American Campaign
    American Defense
    WWII Victory
    China Service
    Navy Occupation
    Good Conduct - 4 awards
    Korean Service
    UN Service Ribbon (Korea)
    National Defense Service
    Korean PUC (Presidential Unit Citation)
    Rifle Sharpshooter
    Pistol Expert

    1942 - Corporal
    1945 - Platoon Sergeant
    1949 - Staff Sergeant
    1950 - Technical Sergeant
    1951 - Master Sergeant
    1956 - Warrant Officer
    1958 - Chief Warrant Officer

  • Military Highlights:
    In 1941, Russell enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater, Samoa, China and Okinawa during World War II. He served in the United States Marine Corps more than 20 years, retiring from the Marines in 1962.

    Russell was already on Samoa when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. His mission on Samoa was defense of the island, at that time it was believed the Japanese would try to land an invasion force there. The island was defended by the 2nd Battalion of the Fleet Marine Force, a 90 MM coastal artillery unit.

    Note: It should be noted here that troop movements and locations all during World War II were guarded very close. In many cases the locations were referred to only as "in the field". Russell spent 29 months in Samoa and for two years the family did not know where he was. His location was discovered when it was noticed that on the back of a Postal Money Order application (Samoa) was in parenthesis and Russell had dropped a clue about the Money Order in one of his letters which were all censored. His dad and the local Postmaster figured out his location from that little clue.

    In June, 1946, Russell was assigned to 1st Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force for the purpose of accepting the surrender of these Japanese military and civilians for the Chinese government. In addition, they were to supervise the repatriation of the Japanese military and civilians and there were over 50,000. In October, 1946, a group of engineers went out to clear out a road to Peiping to get the repatriation started. They were guarded by a rifle platoon which was fired on by a group of 40-50 Chinese Communists and were forced to withdraw. The next day they went out again with a rifle company from the 1st Marine Division, a platoon of tanks and aircraft carrier air cover. The road was opened without further incident. Regular patrols were established to keep the road open. The Marine unit assigned here was also charged with port security; they patrolled the Yangtze River with gun boats and were frequently exposed to Chinese Communist sniper fire.

    In September, 1947, Russell worked on landing craft, tanks and tank retrievers. His duties also included instructing recruits on the maintenance and operation of this equipment. This equipment was used in the basic training of marine recruits and for the advanced training of other marines in the field.

    In January 1956, Russell transferred to St. Louis, Missouri and reported for duty at the St. Louis Car Company as a test driver. The St. Louis Car Company had a contract with the United States Navy to build LTV (Landing tracked vehicles). He selected, at random, vehicles from the assembly line and had them sent to the proving grounds which consisted of a large mud hole surrounded by very rough terrain with rocks and trees. The vehicles were run through this course continually until it quit running or leaked water. It was then sent back to the factory for a thorough inspection and repair.

    There is a short period between March, 1956 and September, 1956 where the records are incomplete and do not reflect Russell's duty assignment. However, his brother is aware of his six month assignment with the Ingersoll Rand Corporation of Kalamazoo, Michigan as an inspector and test driver with the Navy Shipbuilders Division. He monitored the building of tank retrievers and on a random basis had a vehicle picked to go to the proving grounds and tested as he did in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II
    Korean Conflict

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Russell was the eldest of the four children of Arthur and Goldie (Austin) Rima. There were two brothers and one sister.

    On August 23, 1947, Russell was married to Vera T. Bianconi in Hibbing, Minnesota. They lived in places such as Camp Pendelton, California, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, Kalamazoo, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri, and in 1962 moved to Hibbing, Minnesota. In 1963, he came to Grand Rapids where he worked for a year a Sugar Hills. He then worked 20 years for the Blandin Paper Company, retiring in 1983.

    He was a member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, all in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Russell is survived by his wife of 56 years, Vera; one daughter, Barbara (Christopher) Erickson; a son, Robert (Darla); five granddaughters; one sister, Alma Rima; two brothers, Merton (Delores) and Calvin (Mary).

    Buried in Itasca Calvary Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. (Plot I-G-22-24)

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):