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Sgt. William Dougherty Playground Memorial

This playground honors neighborhood resident Sergeant William T. Dougherty (d. 1944), a United States Marine of the 155th Infantry, 27th Division who fought and died in the World War II (1939-1945) Battle of Saipan.

America entered World War II after the Japanese Empire bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After several years of naval skirmishes, battles, and island-hopping amphibious assaults, the United States and her British ally had managed to push Japan’s forces back towards their home islands. Servicemen taking part in the Allied invasion of the island of Saipan, however, saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war from an enemy that refused to surrender. Twenty thousand United States Marines, including Sergeant William T. Dougherty, came ashore on Saipan on June 15, 1944 with orders to wrest control of the island from the Japanese. The Japanese had controlled Saipan since 1920, and fought tenaciously.

On the night of July 7, the Japanese counter-attacked with the largest mass suicide mission of World War II. With a battle cry of Gyokusai – death with honor – 3,000 Japanese soldiers rushed the island. After days of bloody combat and a staggering loss of life (16,525 Americans and over 25,000 Japanese were reported dead), the Marines finally wrested control of Saipan from the Japanese and secured the island. Sergeant Dougherty died on July 9, 1944 during the fighting. For his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

In 1948 Local Law 48 named this site after William Dougherty, who used the playground as a child.

The once had a children’s wading pool, swings and a see-saw. It also had a small park office building which have long since been removed.