The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Historian Publishes Novel About Four US Marines Who Attended LHS

Akshay Jaladi
This drawing on display outside the library imagines what the four soldiers would have looked like had they posed for a picture standing in front of LHS’s Brainerd Building (the Butler Lake building was not built until 1954). The drawing was created by artist Jeriann Dosemagen under the direction of Nemmers and Eggert.

On November 10th, in the Studio Theater, historian Joseph Nemmers showcased his new book “The Very Best We Had” which highlights Lloyd Iverson, Ole Ekstrom, Jack Brown and Jack Cherenovich, four Libertyville alumni who fought as U.S. Marines and died in the battle of Okinawa at the very end of World War II.

Published around Memorial Day this year, this book features a foreword by Mr. Dale Eggert, LHS class of ‘74, former LHS health teacher and head wrestling coach. Mr. Nemmers said that his inspiration for the book was an article Mr. Eggert wrote for the Daily Herald highlighting veterans from LHS. 

The young men that stood out to Nemmers were four Marines, all four dying within hours and within miles of each other at Okinawa. So, he researched them for two years while he was in graduate school. 

“By the fall of 2022, I had accumulated a lot of knowledge about these young men, which I knew could serve as the outline for a book,” Nemmers said.

After two years, he had enough information, and wanted to share it.

“In October of last year, I gave a presentation on what I’d learned about the four Marines to the leadership team of LHS,” Nemmers said. “When I finished, Principal Koulentes told me I needed to write the book, as the story of these four men was important to LHS and the community.” After seven months, the book was finished and was ready to be published. 

At the presentation, Senior Jacob Bahrani introduced Mr. Nemmers. The presentation covered many aspects of his novel, starting with the battle plans for Okinawa, and later telling the individual story of each of the four Marines who died in that battle. 

Lloyd Iverson was a varsity basketball player, and class president for the class of 1942 his junior year. He held interest in planes from a very young age, and that love for flying grew into him joining the Marine Corps as a night flier. On April 17th, during the battle of Okinawa, on the Yontan airfield, Iverson and his flight leader were about to take-off. However, 2nd Lt. Clyde Hill, who was also on the airfield, did not wait for the signal and took off early leading him to collide with Iverson. As a result, Hill was killed and Iverson was gravely injured, later succumbing to his wounds.

Ole Ekstrom, a member of the class of 1941, went on to join the Marines after he graduated. Ekstrom operated a tank in the Marines. During the battle of Okinawa, the US met the Japanese at a small hill, little more than a bump, that the Marines codenamed Sugar Loaf. But the unassuming little hill was so well defended that the battle became a bloodbath for Americans. Ekstrom was killed in action.

Jack Brown was a boxer in his youth, and was an extremely skilled one. Brown was set to graduate from LHS, but his family moved due to his father’s job. Brown was killed in the Dakeshi-Wana area, dying honorably in the line of duty.

Jack Cherenovich was a member of the class of 1941, and was class president. He served in the Marines, and operated a 155MM Field gun known as “Long Tom.” The Marines moved Cherenovich’s weapon to a cave, where the Japanese launched the largest assault of the battle of Okinawa. Cherenovich died in battle.

All the soldiers fought and died honorably in World War II. Mr. Nemmers captured their stories in his book and his presentation, allowing people to remember and be thankful for those we lost who were so close to home, and giving LHS students an insight into some of the heroes from Libertyville.

“While their fate was tragic,” Mr. Nemmers said in a post on Linked In, “their tale is filled with examples of patriotism, courage, and friendship.” 

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