Asbury United Methodist Church, Cinnaminson, NJ
Thursday, September 21, 2017

Asbury Veteran: William H. Shaffer

Marine Corps Veteran...William H. Shaffer
 
Bill Shaffer, born and raised in Philadelphia, attended Bartram High School. Sixty-five years ago, October, 1943 while listening to Bill Stearns, a sports commentator and radio personality, Bill heard him announce that Bob Oswald and the Hanson twins had been killed by the Japanese when their tank became wedged between two trees on the island of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. Bob was a good friend, neighbor and mentor and just twenty-two years old. The next morning Bill enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was seventeen years old.
 
When Bill's parents finally co-signed his papers, since he was underage, he officially became a Marine. He left for Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and a new life that he "would not wish on a dog, but would not trade for anything in the world." Bill spent the next two years in the South Pacific attached to the 2nd Marines, on islands with names like Tinian, Guam, Los Negros, Bougainville, Peleliu and Malabang. He was becoming an expert rifleman, truck driver and lover of all things beautiful--as in native girls, V-J Day and home.
 
Bill related that, "This experience taught me that the mind is a wonderful piece of equipment, having the ability to retain that which is important and to forget that which is repugnant. A case in point is the fact that I cannot remember if the first human I shot at in the Pacific was killed or even hit by my bullets. I know he fell from the tree but remember nothing after that."
Corporal William Shaffer was discharged from the Marines in 1946. He attended Drexel Institute of Technology for two years and then Temple University. He first pursued General Engineering and then Mechanical Engineering. He was employed by an engineering company in Philadelphia and then in 1955 pursued sales in North Jersey.
 
In 1963 Bill, his wife Jean and their four sons, Bill, Bruce, Scott and Mark, came to Cinnaminson, After Jean's death in 1995, Bill rekindled his friendship with Jane, a classmate from high school. She and Bill married in 1997 at her church, Asbury UMC in Norristown, PA. They currently reside in Cinnaminson and together have six children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.
 
"To all of you Marines who might happen onto this article--"SEMPER FI!" - Bill