By Cpl. Jeffrey Cordero, 9th Marine Corps District
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The oldest living Marine combat correspondent, died Sunday at the age of 92.
Irving Schlossenberg was born March 19, 1918 in Baltimore and lived in Overland Park, Kan., where he passed away. He served as a Marine combat correspondent during World War II from 1942 to 1945, during which he served in five pacific campaigns, including four first-wave landings. He was the oldest living combat correspondent at the time of his death.
After his time in the Marine Corps, he sold Encyclopedia Britannica door-to-door. He held the positions of district manager, division manager and then national sales director and executive assistant to the company president, respectively.
“He lived a very accomplished life,” said his son Marty Schlossenberg, of Overland Park, Kan.
Beyond the Marine Corps, Schlossenberg, a photographer for the Washington Post at the time, was most notably known for having his camera broken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during a ceremonial first pitch April 16, 1940 during the Major League Baseball’s opening day of the season. According to Marty, the picture from that day still hangs in Irving’s bedroom.
Schlossenberg enlisted in the Marine Corps at a time when combat correspondents were being recruited with the offer of enlisting as sergeants. Because he had an abnormal growth on one foot, he was ineligible to enlist in the Marine Corps. Schlossenberg decided to have surgery on his foot in order to be able to enlist. He was a master sergeant when he left the Marine Corps in 1945.
A World War II veteran, Schlossenberg never received some of the medals he earned for his service. They were a Presidential Unit Citation presented to the 2nd Marine Division for operations in Tarawa from November 20-24, 1943, and the World War II Victory Medal.
“After the war, there was so much confusion about the awards,” said his wife Gloria, “so many men didn’t get the medals they earned.”
In November, his son Marty and nephew Eric were able to track down a contact who helped the family obtain the medals. They received them on Feb. 11, 2011, two days before Schlossenberg’s death. He never actually saw them.
“(If he would have been able to see the medals) he would have smiled and probably started telling stories about the medals,” Gloria said.
He was married to Gloria for 64 years and has two sons, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.