BH Clendennen and his wife, Janice have been married since 1946.
Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise
Ministry now calling for World War II Marine who knows firsthand "war is hell"
By MARGARET TOAL
November 11, 2009
Posted: November 10, 2009, 10:17 PM CST Last updated: November 11, 2009, 1:03 AM CST
The Rev. B.H. Clendennen has seen hell. He's felt it, touched it, smelled it.
Yet 65 years after seeing hell on earth in the South Pacific in World War II, he's serene and soft-spoken.
The 87-year-old former Marine said he was saved by the love of Jesus.
"In 1949, I really found Christ," he said Tuesday from his living room in Beaumont. "I became a Christian at 27. Everything
changed about my life for better."
He became a minister and missionary. The peace he has in his soul led him back to the war zones of other generations -
Vietnam and Iraq - to spread his message of Christ.
He thinks younger people, those who haven't lived through war, don't always appreciate or understand the sacrifices of those
who fought in the past.
"It would be a different world if we had that rising sun (of the Japanese flag) hanging over us," he said.
Clendennen, a native Texan, was at work in a Texas oil field in Alice when World War II began with the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. By early 1942, at the age of 19, he had enlisted in the Marine Corps.
He quickly grew up with experiences that belong in nightmares.
He was assigned to the famous 1st Marine Battalion, 3rd Division. Right out of boot camp, he fought in the 6-month long
battle of Guadalcanal, which ended in an Allied victory in February 1943.
Then came the battle of Cape Gloucester, from December 1943 to April 1944. The battle was on the island of New Britain in
"I got wounded there," he said.
He was hit by a piece of shrapnel from a grenade that landed behind him.
And if that wasn't enough, then Clendennen was sent with the invasion to fight for Peleliu, part of the Palau Islands.
Histories of World War II report the Peleliu Battle had a larger