Sixth Marine Division
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Stories by Others About the Sixth Division, the Marines, and World War II

First Lt. David N. Schreiner USMC Reserve - Almost the Whole Story

by Harry Waterson ©2016

In 1951 David N. Schreiner was the 8th inductee into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. Schreiner had been an All-American football player for the University of Wisconsin (UW). He was a split end and played first string in his sophomore, junior and senior years. A bronze tablet featuring a circular bas-relief of Schreiner was unveiled in the Milwaukee Arena on November 28th to honor his contributions to the glory of Wisconsin sports and to be a source of inspiration to the youth of Wisconsin.

It was a gala event. Thousands attended. Schreiner was one of 14 men inducted into the Hall of Fame that night. They were the charter class and he would have been the youngest inductee, had he lived.

Joe Krueger was the founder of the Hall of Fame and this is what he wrote and had forged on the tablet about Dave Schreiner.


The bas-relief was modeled by Julio Kilenyi, a Hungarian born sculptor of immense talent. Photo courtesy David Bernacchi.

This is what the whole tablet looks like. It is 40-inches high by 30 inches wide and was made by the L. G. Balfour Co. of Attleboro, MA.

The Hall of Fame was originally housed inside the Milwaukee Arena in downtown Milwaukee where it was only available to paying customers. In 1999 the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation (WSDC) of Madison, WI acquired the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and in honor of the Hall's 50th anniversary in 2001, built the Wisconsin Athletic Walk of Fame just outside the arena making it free for all to enjoy. The arena is now known as the UW - Milwaukee Panther Arena. 135 men and women are now enshrined on this Walk of Fame. In the picture at the bottom of the page the Dave Schreiner tablet is at the bottom of the third column. Or to put it another way, it is 3rd from the left in the bottom row. Photo Courtesy David Bernacchi.

The writer's interest in all of this is the sculptor of the portrait bust, Julio Kilenyi. He is compiling a catalog of his works and each entry of the catalog includes a biography of the subject sculpted by Kilenyi. This effort can sometimes be quite daunting. Here is Schreiner's:

Portrait: David Nathan "Dave" Schreiner (1921 – 1945) was a college football player from Lancaster in southwest Wisconsin. He was a two-time All-American End and the 1942 Big Ten Most Valuable Player at University of Wisconsin-Madison and a 1943 second round pick of the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. In his only post-season game he played end for the East in the annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco on New Year's Day, 1943. The East won 13-12. It was Schreiner's last college football appearance. The photo below is the one most often used to illustrate stories about Schreiner and is certainly a source for the Kilenyi bas-relief.

Dave Schreiner tried to enlist in the Air Force to be a pilot. He was turned down because he was partially color blind. He immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on December 15, 1942. The Corps allowed him to complete his studies and he got his degree in May 1943.2 Schreiner reported for active duty at Parris Island, SC on May 20. He underwent basic training and OCS (Officer Class 380) and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant September 8, 1943. He completed the 36th Reserve Officers' Class at Quantico, VA on November 17, 1943. Schreiner went home on leave for Thanksgiving and then went to Camp Elliott, San Diego, CA in preparation for a replacement assignment in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Dave Schreiner shipped out on January 23, 1944 for Noumea, New Caledonia. The 1st and 4th battalions of Marine Raiders left New Caledonia 2 days earlier on January 21 for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands where they joined the 2nd and 3rd battalions of Marine Raiders who had left Bougainville on January 12. On February 1 these four battalions were reformed into the 4th Marines, the original 4th Marines having been destroyed in the Battle of Corregidor. The 2nd battalion became the regimental Weapons Company of the 4th Marines and Schreiner was assigned to this unit. When exactly Schreiner got to Guadalcanal to join the Weapons Co. is not known. The 4th Marine Regiment became an element of III Amphibious Corps for the attack on Kavieng. This operation was cancelled on March 15 and instead on March 20, 1944 the 4th Marines landed on Emirau Island of the Saint Mathias Group which was unoccupied and they performed garrison duties while construction was begun for an advance US Naval and Air Base. They were relieved on April 11, 1944 and the regiment returned to Guadalcanal. In early June they sailed on a lengthy voyage for the Mariana Islands to take part in the Second Battle of Guam 21 July where Schreiner shortly became a gun captain in a weapons platoon. On 27 July he suffered a minor head wound for which he received a Purple Heart. His helmet took most of the damage. After Guam the 4th Marine Regiment returned to Guadalcanal again where on September 7, 1944 they were absorbed into the new Sixth Marine Division. The 6th Division went through a rugged training program on Guadalcanal from October to March 1945.

Dave Schreiner was appointed 1st Lieutenant on March 1, 1945.3 Fifteen days later the 6th Division sailed from Guadalcanal for Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands, the marshalling anchorage for III Amphibious Corps. The Division arrived there on the 22nd and sailed with the Corps on the 27th for Okinawa. The main invasion began April 1, 1945 (L-Day). The 4th Marines landed on the Hagushi beaches on the western coast of Okinawa and Schreiner by then was a platoon leader in Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. His unit took part in a shore-to-shore amphibious landing on June 4, 1945 to take Oroku Peninsula, southwest of Naha Harbor. His commanding officer Captain Clint Eastment was seriously wounded on June 8 and Schreiner took over command. The peninsula was secured on June 14. In mop-up operations afterward, Schreiner was mortally wounded on June 20, 1945 in action near Kiyamu, 6 miles south of Oroku on the extreme southwest coast of Okinawa. He died the next day. He was initially buried in the 6th Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa. Later his body was brought back to the US and he was reburied in the family plot in Hillside Cemetery, Lancaster, WI on April 13, 1949.4

He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.

Exterior: Arena West Wall looking North on N.4th St. from W. Kilbourn Ave. Kilenyi tablets left foreground

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