Late marine’s Purple Heart, photos and letters found - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Late marine’s Purple Heart, photos and letters found

BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WALA) -

Photos of loved ones, letters to his mother, a purple heart, and a flag meant to be draped over a casket will soon be reunited with Private Samuel Lewis Brock ‘s family. A marine who died in the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.  

“It’s really a heartbreaking story to hear about. A mother losing one of her children in a battle,” said Justin Henson, a Foley High School senior in ROTC.  

The articles were found in an abandoned storage unit in Elberta four years ago. The owner of Point Mini Storage searched for Brock’s family with no luck. That’s when he turned to friend Brandon Thompson. Thompson asked for help from Foley High School ROTC where his step-son Justin Henson is a senior.

“We were trying to find close of kin and it was very tedious trying to find the information we needed. Some of it was newspaper articles that had all this information about fallen soldiers. That’s where we were able to find a little bit more information about him regarding his service as well as his family,” Henson explained.

Henson’s step-father said, “being 18-years-old, the only person he had I’m sure was his mother. So he stayed in contact with his mother telling her, ‘hey I’ve gotten safely overseas.’ He was shipped out to Iwo Jima and was boots on the ground and killed in action in Iwo Jima.”

Henson and his classmates located Brock’s 84-year-old brother in Amarillo, Texas and gave him a phone call. That’s where Henson says Brock is buried. 

“I was really extremely happy to hear him. He was really happy as well to hear about these items because he was wondering where the items like these were,” Henson explained.

Henson did a lot of research and discovered Brock “was killed February 28, 1945. Some of the items we were able to find included his purple heart which was awarded posthumously to him which was given to his family. Others included letters from home he had that were sent to him and that he sent as well. Some of the pictures being shown are some of his family pictures of him and his parents and his siblings.”

Henson says talking to Brock’s brother about the photos and letters helps him understand the marine who was Henson’s age when he was killed.

"I find it interesting how at my age he was zealous to go fight for his county. I'm exactly his age right now and I can't believe he was able to put his country over himself to serve,” Henson said. “Not only was this a marine, this was a son and a brother to these people.”

FOX10 News asked to be put in contact with Brock’s brother. We’re still waiting to hear back. In the meantime, Foley High School ROTC is making arrangements for Brock’s bother and wife to be flown to Foley where they will be reunited with Brock’s belongings.

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