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William I. Criste collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 02-14.0017

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to U.S. Navy Electrician's Mate First Class William I. Criste who served during World War II with GROPAC 11, Section E-9. The materials relate to the battle, work, and life on Iwo Jima, including more than 100 photographs, military documents, and Japanese military artifacts.


  • Created: 1886-2003
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/25/2014


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast works from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience must be requested and granted in writing by the director of the Institute. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Institute on World War II as the owner of the physical items and the copyright holder. Possession of a copy of an item does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast it. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. Permission fees must be paid before images are provided. Please contact the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience for current publication and duplication rates.

Biographical or Historical Information

William I. Criste, born on April 19, 1917, Harrisburg, PA, entered service in the U.S. Navy on February 13, 1943. Criste served in the US Navy during the Battle of Iwo Jima as an Electrician's Mate First Class with Group Pacific 11 (GROPAC 11),  Section E-9.  He arrived with his unit from Hawaii aboard the U.S.S. Whiteside (AKA-90.)  He witnessed and documented in a journal the initial invasion of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.  Criste, along with his unit, assisted in building the U.S. Naval Base on Iwo Jima.  While stationed on Iwo Jima for 9 months, Criste had the opportunity to accumulate Japanese military artifacts. Criste departed Iwo Jima on November 2, 1945 aboard U.S.S LSM-97 and transferred to the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. Chester which arrived in San Francisco on November 17, 1945 with a stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Criste was subsequently discharged on December 7, 1945. Criste worked as an electrician for 40 years and was a past-president of the IBEW Local 308, serving the Tampa Bay area. Criste also served as a Crime Watch captain in the Mount Vernon, FL area for many years.  In 2003, Criste was entered into the World War II Registry of Remembrances. Criste passed away on February 19th, 2004 in St. Petersburg, FL. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Dorothy.

A GROPAC was a U.S. Naval organization designed to install and operate harbor and waterfront facilities and to provide certain harbor defenses for an advanced base. It normally provides for: the unloading of ships; installation and maintenance of navigational aids, piers, moorings, net defenses and underwater sound detection; the repair of small craft and harbor equipment; the operation of a harbor defense patrol; and the provision of a boat pool for use within the harbor. It provides, also, for its own administrative, communications, medical, and housing needs.  GROPACS vary materially from each other in size and composition since each is individually designed to meet the needs of a particular island or area. He passed away February 16th, 2004 at the age of 86.

Note written by Michael Kasper


3 boxes

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Michael W. Criste

Method of Acquisition


William I. Criste collection
Huaqing Shi
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience Repository