During Lena’s time at Camp Pendleton she met John Basilone. They were married on July 7, 1944 and spent some time together before John returned to the South Pacific. He was killed on February 19, 1945 on Iwo Jima. Lena was notified of his death on March 7, 1945 – her 32nd birthday. Lena never remarried. She purchased a home in Lakewood, California and lived there for over 50 years until her death
“I wanted to know how it was to love somebody the way Pop loved Mama. At least I wanted a few days, or weeks if I could get it, to know what it was like to be married. I wanted to be able to say ‘I love you’ a few times and mean it … Lena agreed to marry me. We set the date for July 10th, 1944."