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|Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by
Jean Nolan Krygelski-Family
Marine Maj Michael Earl Nolan.
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|Date of Passing
Apr 06, 1991
|Location of Interment
Last Known Activity|
Attended school in Tucson, Arizona -- Safford Elementary, Roskruge Junior High, and Tucson High School.
Graduated from Tucson High School on May 27, 1932.
Served in Arizona National Guard, 158th Infantry Regiment Medical Detachment, 1928-1933. Ranked Private, Private First Class, Specialist Fourth Class, and Sergeant.
Lettered in varsity football at Tucson High School in 1930 and 1931. Played tackle and guard. Nicknamed "Tarzan." Selected to Conference All-Star, All-Southern Arizona, All-Arizona, and Yuma Sentinel All-State Teams.
Lettered in varsity track and field at THS in 1929, 1930, and 1931. Won medals and set records at Greenway Track and Field Day, Southern Arizona Conference, Southwestern Regional, and Arizona State Meets. Named high-point man in five meets.
Attended the University of Arizona, 1932-1936.
Lettered in varsity football at University of Arizona -- 1933, 1934, and 1936. Played offensive and defensive tackle. Nicknamed "King Kong." Often named Outstanding Player on the Field. Selected to All-Border Conference -- 1933, 1934, and 1936, Arizona Daily Star All-Border Conference, Arizona Wildcat All-Border Conference, and Phoenix Gazette All-Border Conference Teams.
Named to Associated Press All-America Football Team -- Honorable Mention, 1936, the first player from Arizona to be selected.
Named to Liberty magazine All-Players All-America Team, 1936.
Lettered in varsity track and field at U of A, 1934. Competed in shot put, discus, javelin, and high jump. Won medals and set records at Greenway Track and Field Day, Border Conference Track and Field Meet, and Arizona-San Diego State Dual Meet. One javelin record stood for 32 years. Named Outstanding Athlete and High-Point AAU Athlete.
Scored first place in shot put and second in discus at Peruvian national track and field meet in 1957, at the age of 46.
Competed on U of A boxing squad, 1933-1935. Won Southwestern Amateur Athletic Union heavyweight boxing championships, 1934 and 1936, and U of A Intramural championship, 1935-1936.
Won U of A Intramural heavyweight wrestling championship. 1935-1936.
Won Arizona Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing championship by first-round knockout, 1937.
Played professional football with NFL Chicago Cardinals, 1937-1938, the first player from U of A to go pro. Again played right tackle on offense and left tackle on defense. Named All-Pro Honorable Mention, 1937.
Worked as a sparring partner in Livermore, California, for boxer Max Baer, one-time Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Boxed professionally through 1940, including bouts in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California, and Oregon. Dubbed "Arizona's Heavyweight Sensation - 47." Managed by Frank Paccassi.
Elected to Tucson High School Athletic Hall of Fame, 1996; University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, 1996; Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, 1998; All-Time Arizona Honor Grid Team, 1949; All-Time Rocky Mountain-Southwest Football Team, 1969; Modern All-Stars U of A Football Team, 1969; All-Time University of Arizona 11 Best Players, 1985; Top 50 UA Football Players of All Time, 2013.
Enlisted in United States Marine Corps January 16, 1941. Served in active duty through January 22, 1946, rising from Private to Captain during the war with military specialties of Infantry Officer and Amphibian Truck Officer, and retiring a Major.
Nicknamed "Big Mike," "Iron Mike," and "Saddle Up Mike."
Entered boot camp -- 3rd Platoon, 3rd Recruit Battalion, Marine Corps Base, San Diego California.
3/15-6/20/41 -- Served in Base Service Company, Base Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California.
5/14/41 -- Promoted to Private First Class.
6/20/41 -- Joined Fleet Marine Force, then 2nd Marine Brigade, FMF, 2nd Defense Battalion, Battery H, Machine Gun Group.
1/21/42 -- Deployed to American Samoa, Wartime Expeditionary Force.
2/4/42 -- Promoted to Corporal. Served as Rifle Squad Leader.
4/1/42 -- Joined 8th Defense Battalion, Special Weapons Group.
5/27/42 -- Participated in the Landing and Occupation of Wallis Island.
Received a temporary transfer to 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) for Solomon Islands Guadalcanal-Tulagi Invasion.
8/12/42 -- Commissioned a Second Lieutenant on the battlefield at Guadalcanal.
9/20/42-1/31/44 -- Volunteered for and served with 3rd Marine Raider Battalion.
9/20/42 -- Joined Company D, 2nd Platoon, Rifle Platoon Leader.
12/31/42 -- Promoted to Lieutenant, Company Officer.
2/21-3/21/43 -- Participated in Landing and Occupation of Pavuvu, Russell Group.
4/1/43 -- Designated to 1st Marine Raider Regiment in the Field, Company D, Company Officer.
5/1/43 -- Assigned to Company M, Company Officer.
7/15/43 -- Assigned to Company K, Company Officer.
9/1/43 -- Designated to 2nd Marine Raider Regiment in the Field, Company K, Company Officer.
11/1/43-1/12/44 -- Participated in Assault on Puruata Island, Seizure and Occupation of Bougainville, including Battle for Piva Trail.
1943 -- Awarded Silver Star, Purple Heart.
1/26/44 -- Designated to lst Marine Raider Regiment in the Field, Company K, Company Officer.
1/31/44 -- Promoted to Captain.
2/1/44 -- Designated to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company K, Commanding Officer.
3/20-4/11/44 -- Participated in Occupation and Defense of Emirau, Mussau Islands.
6/16/44 -- Joined 5th Marine Division, 27th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company G, Commanding Officer.
9/14/44 -- Joined 5th Division, 27th Regiment, Headquarters & Service Company, Weapons Company, Commanding Officer.
10/25/44 -- Joined 5th Division, 5th Motor Transport Battalion, 5th Amphibian Truck Company, Commanding Officer.
2/19-3/22/45 -- Commanded the battalion-sized 5th Amphibian Truck Company in the Assault and Capture of Iwo Jima, Volcanic Islands.
1945 -- Awarded Purple Heart.
9/23-10/25/45 -- Participated in Occupation of Japan, Landing at Sasebo, Kyushu.
11/9/45 -- Joined Headquarters Battalion, Headquarters Company, Department of Pacific, San Francisco, California.
Served 44 months of foreign and sea service.
Wounded in battle multiple times, including gunshot wound to the leg, shrapnel in the shoulder, injuries to both hands, and hearing problems due to a nearby exploding mortar.
Served postwar in Reserve and Ready Reserve. First assigned to General Service Unit, 11th Marine Corps Reserve District, and then to 12th Marine Corps Reserve & Recruitment District, with military occupational specialties of Amphibian Truck Officer, Infantry Officer and, finally, Engineer Officer.
Completed active duty Cold Weather Training, January 11-23, 1952.
On June 24, 1952, named Executive Officer, 3rd Supply Company, Tucson Reserve, and served as member of Volunteer Training Unit (Guided Missile).
Attained rank of Major on June 28, 1952.
Became a member of the Retired Reserve on July 1, 1963, and retired from USMC on January 1, 1971.
On November 20, 1998, inducted into Marine Corps Mustang Association, honoring officers rising from the enlisted ranks.
During 1930s and 1940s, employed as construction worker, heavy equipment operator, and foreman in residential and commercial building, Larmour Construction Company; special patrolman, Tucson Police Department; welder, steel structural designer, and superintendent, Austad Welding/Steel & Construction Company; firefighter and driver, Tucson Fire Department, 1946-1951. Held contractor's license in cast stone, ornamental plaster, concrete, and cement.
Returned to the University of Arizona in 1951, and earned Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering on May 25, 1955.
Employed as engineer, Isbell Construction Company, Silverbell mining project, Arizona, 1955-1957; engineer, Utah Construction Company, Toquepala copper mine, Peru, 1957-1958; forest engineer, United States Forest Service, Coronado National Forest, 1959-1975, in charge of engineering design, construction, and maintenance in the 1,875,000-acre forest.
After retirement from USFS, wrote seven novels.
Married Nellie Ahee, June 12, 1946. The couple had one daughter, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
The family is grateful to Corporal Roger Rape for creating a Military Service Page on Together We Served in 2011, to remember Major Michael Earl Nolan.
Grabbing the Brass Ring & An Extraordinary Life, a novel written by Michael Earl Nolan, plus the compiled biography of his life, was published by Starsys Publishing Company in 2014.