Coronado’s “Avenue Of The Heroes” ... Machinist’s Mate Marvin Nottingham - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado’s “Avenue Of The Heroes” ... Machinist’s Mate Marvin Nottingham

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Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019 1:38 pm | Updated: 1:55 pm, Fri Jan 4, 2019.

Marvin Nottingham, EdD, aka, James Hawkins, was born in Sheridan, Wyoming in 1925. He was adopted at nine days of age and moved to Big Horn, Wyoming, population 200, where he went to high school graduating in three and one half years. He had a principal appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy from a Wyoming Senator and a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. The Academy appointment did not work out because he was partially color blind. He enrolled at the University in 1942 and got a job as a mix chemist at cement plant in Laramie.

Visiting Denver in the spring a uniformed soldier passed him on the sidewalk and mumbled “4F.” By August, at age 18, he was a Seabee because color blindness was not a problem for them. In the Seabees he got training as a bulldozer operator and was assigned to the 133rd CB Battalion. Further training took him from Virginia to Biloxi, Mississippi, Port Hueneme, California, and ultimately to Oahu where he worked on expanding John Roberts Airport to Hickham Field.

Subsequently the 133rd was attached to the Fourth Marine Division for training on Maui. January 1945 he and his cat were loaded on a Navy Landing Ship Medium (LSM) for a 50 day journey to Iwo Jima. On D-day, Feb. 19, 1945, he was put ashore on Iwo at 9:30 a.m. The 133rd was the only CB Battalion to go ashore on D-day and it suffered forty percent casualties as a result. Tasked with cleaning debris from the beach and later airfield construction, Nottingham was awarded a Bronze Star for Valor. He was known as the most cussed man on the beach because Japanese mortars were attracted to tractor noise and because its weight collapsed fox holes in the volcanic ash.

In August of 1945 he had his 19th birthday and in October, after seven months on Iwo, he was shipped to Kyushu, Japan as part of the occupation forces. From there he visited the remains of Nagasaki, was offered a promotion in rank, refused and was shipped to Bremerton, Washington for discharge.

After the Navy, Nottingham returned to Big Horn, Wyoming was married and worked a year in the local post office and grocery store. He then returned to college and got a degree as a physics and chemistry teacher at Northern Colorado University in Greeley. Beginning in 1950 he taught chemistry and physics at Coronado High School for eleven years and became vice principal after earning a Master’s degree at San Diego State. He learned to dive for lobsters in Baja from his students Peter Glynn and Pat Flynn and was a lifeguard at Coronado beach for five years. He bought a house on Glorietta Boulevard where his wife, June, raised three children and worked at the Naval Air Station for twenty-five years.

After leaving Coronado in 1961, Nottingham became principal at Hemet High School and later at Palm Springs High. He then became area superintendent in Norwalk/La Mirada. He received a doctorate in school administration from USC and was a professor there from 1973 to 1980. From USC, he transferred to the University of Idaho at Moscow. He retired in 1990.

Currently Nottingham at 93 is on the board of directors for a homeless shelter and enjoys retirement with his wife, Peggy, in Hemet, California, and often sees his children, Marilyn, Jim, Lori, Courtney, and Peggy’s daughter, Andrea.

Finally, Nottingham has written three books. The first is a textbook titled “Principles for Principals.” The second, a memoir which details his Iwo Jima experiences, “Once a Cowboy.” The third relates to agriculture and lobster diving, and is called “Victor and Connections to Pacific Spiny Lobsters.”

The Hometown Heroes banners can be viewed on Third and Fourth Streets between Orange Avenue and Alameda Boulevard, which have been designated by the City of Coronado as “The Avenue of Heroes” and recently designated by the State of California as a Blue Star Memorial Highway.

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