Mike Plasha was born March 14, 1925, in the coal mining town of Kingston, West Virginia. He was the son of East European immigrants George and Anna Plasha and had five brothers and one sister. Mike’s Yugoslavian father was a miner for the Kingston Pocahontas Coal Company.
As a student at Kingston High School, Mike was considered a star athlete and lettered in football and basketball, but he wanted to enter the military after the war began, hoping to return after the war and eventually become an athletic coach. When Anna Plasha refused to sign papers allowing Mike to join the Marines, he threatened to lie about his age.
|On August 18, 1942, Mike Plasha entered the Marine Corps. He was first stationed at Camp Lejeune and later Camp Pendleton and served in the Pacific theater in the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division. During the invasion of Ennubirr Island, one of the Marshall Islands, on January 31, 1944, Cpl. Mike Plasha pushed ahead with his rifle, killing several Japanese solders, and urged the Marine forces forward. For his actions, he was awarded the Silver Star. Five months later, on June 16, Mike, now a sergeant, again displayed “conspicuous gallantry” during action on Saipan in the Marianas. For this action, Mike was awarded a Gold Star.|
|Sgt. Mike Plasha was killed on July 10, 1944, while attempting to rescue a fellow Marine in the Battle of Saipan. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. His body is buried at Highland Park Cemetery in Fayette County.|
|It was said of him that he “became something of a hero to the boys in the Twenty-fifth Regiment.” Recollections of the Early Years, by Frank S. Craig Jr., contains a tribute to Mike Plasha, and he is memorialized in a poem written by Carl Dearborn. Both men served with him. “So many of us, of ‘F’ Company, owe so much to Sgt. Mike Plasha. A very brave marine who would have gone far in life,” Dearborn later wrote Mike’s brother Tom.|
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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