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Dwayne Mears attended Bakersfield College in 1938 and 39 where he played on the football team and was the State Debate Champion. He continued on to College of the Pacific with a goal of going into law.
He joined the Marines in 1941 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. He led an assault company of the First Battalion in the first landing wave on Iwo Jima. In the citation for the Navy Cross he was awarded, it states:
"Captain Mears boldly led his units forward despite intense small-arms fire from the front and left flank to crash through an area covered by concentrated mortar and artillery fire for a gain of 300 yards. Disregarding serious wounds received during the subsequent bombardment from a series of almost impregnable blockhouses which halted his advance, he rallied his two assault platoons and, armed only with a pistol, fearlessly charged the enemy fortifications, sweeping through the fiercely defended strong point and destroying the four stubborn installations with indomitable aggressiveness. In the forefront of the action at all times, he fought on without respite, driving a wedge through the Japanese lines for more than 700 yards to cut across the narrow neck of the island within 90 minutes of landing. Struck by enemy fire for the second time during the last phase of the break-through, he resolutely refused medical aid or evacuation, directing the movements of his men by arm and hand signals when his injuries deprived him of his speech and persisted in his efforts until the company’s objectives were met."
Captain Dwayne Mears died of his wounds the following day.
He was awarded a purple heart and Navy Cross for his actions on Iwo Jima.