Well again a couple of classic stories from Jerry tonight.
On Pacific Chapter 5 we saw Eugene Sledge and the replacements filter in to the camp. Bob Leckie came back with gifts of magazines, books and comic books.
Eugene Sledge hooks up with Sid Phillips. At one point as they are walking through the camp, I noticed a handwritten sign on a post that indicated the direction of the 4th JASCO. It was quick and Jerry didn't notice it.
John Basilone met up with his brother George in LA. George Basilone was wearing the 4th Division Patch on his blouse.
"There was a rumor John Basilone was come to the 4th. You know, the guy had a great reputation. Something like that, a guy might feel he has an obligation to to live up to that reputation. He certainly didn't have to prove anything. Part of me wonders if he took one to many chances. After Saipan and Tinian I was a little nervous. I had seen so many guys get hit. Hey, after Iwo Jima we were practicing pretty hard to hit the Japanese. I just felt my luck would have run out. I had been very lucky. So many guys..." Jerry said.
Jerry mentioned the land crabs were brutal. When he came ashore at Saipan he tore his dungarees and got a scratch on the front of his leg.
"I tore the pants from the top of the leggings all the way up to above my knee. I was very concerned about the crabs eating my leg. Yeah I wasn't too crazy about that."
On the landing at Peleliu, he shook his head in acknowledgement of the guys doing a low crawl up from the water.
"I did that and dug a fox hole behind a big tree about forty yards up from the beach. That tree was about nineteen inches in diameter. By the third day it was about the size of a twig. 'One day. We'll be all done.' the officers said. Famous last words." Then, that all too familiar chuckle.
"On Saipan my right leg went numb and I thought I had been shot. I reached down and my dungarees were all wet. I wiped my hand on pants and then licked my hand. Well it wasn't blood. Then I realized my canteen was shot and had leaked all over my leg. I had been laying on my side in one position that my leg had fallen asleep."
Japanese tanks. "Tanks. You got close and threw grenades into the treads. Pretty much did the job. Thank God they weren't bigger. At Iwo, it was different as far as tanks went. We didn't run across many of them. At least not my unit."
The Gunnery Sgt. The Gunny was running a firing line. A second lieutenant finishes and turns into the line with his weapon pointed at other Marines. The Gunny came unglued. He gives the "shave tail" a serious dressing down on firearms safety and etiquette of the pistol. He informs the LT where he will holster the pistol if it happens again. Jerry didn't intially pick up on it the violation. He was chuckling about the Gunny screaming at the LT. Then I pointed out the violation and Jerry started giggling pretty hard. The LT looks for some help from the Captain. The Captain reaffirms the Gunny.
"We had some guys who would scream and shout at you. They would be smirking and laughing. They were trying to help you. Then you had some guys who were just plain mean. They were some tough SOB's. You avoided guys like that as much as you could."
On guys taking the teeth of the dead.
"Well we had a lot of guys do that. Word spread pretty quick about the gold in the teeth. I couldn't leave my pliers down anywhere. If I didn't keep them on me, they'd be gone. It was well known that the all the Japanese had gold for fillings in their teeth. Some guys did strange things."
Overall pretty good episode. Jerry's number one complaint? It ends too quickly.
"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two sizes big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're are aggressive on attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat!" RADM Jay R. Stark 10 NOV 1995