MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Combat Center received a gift from history, May 23.
In a private ceremony, a World War II Japanese Arisaka Type-99 rifle that once belonged to 1st Sgt. Williams J. Delorey, was donated to the Combat Center.
Delorey obtained the rifle during World War II. Maj. Gen. David H. Berger, Combat Center Commanding General, accepted the rifle on behalf of the installation.
The Arisaka Type 99 Rifle was named after Japanese Colonel Arisaka and adopted by the Japanese military in 1939. The rifle was an improved version of the 6.5mm Type 38 rifle used in the Chinese campaigns during 1930s.It is a bolt-action rifle weighing approximately 8.7 pounds with a barrel length of 26.5 inches. The caliber of the rifle is 7.7mm; it has a magazine capacity of five cartridges.
The rifle was used by the Japanese military during World War II.
“The rifle originally belonged to my father, who was a first sergeant in the Marines and fought in World War II,” said Navy Capt. Janet Delorey-Lytle, assistant clinic director, 23rd Dental Company, 1st Dental Company. “He never really talked much about his time in the Pacific but I know he was very proud of obtaining the rifle.”
First Sergeant William J. Delorey served with the 1st Marine Division. He obtained the rifle after surviving the battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. He then mailed the rifle home to Lake Ariel, Pa. Many of the items never maded it.
“Twenty years ago when my dad was still alive, he gave the rifle to my husband, Mel,” Delorey said. “Mel had it cleaned up and did some research on the model. The Chrysanthemum, a symbol of Emperor Hirohito, is intact on the rifle. Many of them have been removed over the years, so this one does make it a true original.”
Capt. Delorey has donated many of her father’s military possessions to Marine Corps installations throughout her career. “I have served most of my dental career with Marines,” Delorey said. “My father would be thrilled to know that other Marines now get to enjoy a historical firearm.”
The rifle is currently displayed in the Commanding General’s building.
“I am very proud to have something like this aboard this installation,” Berger said. “We have many historical items here but none quite like this.”