On behalf of the Law Enforcement Community of Pinal County, Arizona, this is a special recognition award in honor of Mr. Jim S. Keller, United States Marine, for his distinguished service in Iwo Jima in 1945.
Mr. Jim S. Keller was drafted into the United States Marine Corps in June 1944. After completing basic training, he was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion of the 23rd Regiment, 4th Marine Division. Private Keller and his fellow Marines were assigned as a replacement company in the third wave to strike the beach at Iwo Jima. On March 12, 1945, Private Keller, along with his fellow Marines, was entrenched on the north end of the island. There were three Japanese Buzz Bombs fired at them. Upon impact, the concussion of the second bomb knocked Private Keller down. He stood up and ran to another fighting hole for protection. At the time, he did not realize he had been wounded due to adrenalin and the chaos of the battle that was raging on around him. Later in the battle, Private Keller was confronted by a Japanese solider with a grenade and was struck by shrapnel from the grenade. Private Keller was given medical treatment by a Navy Corpsman who was later killed in combat. Private Keller continued with his squad of Marines to battle the Japanese for control of the island. Once the battle was concluded and the Japanese had been defeated, Private Keller returned to the beach and was taken aboard ship. The proximity of the bombs exploding near Private Keller had resulted in a detached retina in his right eye, leaving him blinded.
Mr. Keller, we wish to take this opportunity to recognize you for your service and sacrifice in the defense of freedom. Your service, along with that of so many other brave men and women who have answered our nation’s call, deserves our gratitude and our respect. It is no small thing to be counted as one who, regardless of risk or personal cost, will stand against the aggression of evil forces. The world is a better place in this time because so many like you were willing to stand in your time. As kindred spirits who too have accepted the mantle of guardians, gatekeepers, and watchmen on the wall, it is an honor to present you with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Citizen Special Recognition for your service.
Robert C. Halliday, Colonel