Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

Late in the afternoon of March 7, 1944, Robert L. Sherrod, a reporter who had been covering the war in the Pacific for Time and Life magazines, boarded an Eastern Airlines plane for a flight from New York to Washington, DC. He was in a good mood because his first book, Tarawa: The Story of a Battle, detailing his experiences with the Second Marine Division combating Japanese troops on Betio Island in the Tarawa Atoll, had just been published—an event, he noted, that “lives in the memory, like the day I was married, the day my first child was born, the day I got my diploma.” That same day...

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one The War Correspondent

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pp. 17-37

The men aboard the US Navy’s Harris-class attack transport USS Zeilin (named for Jacob Zeilin, the seventh commandant of the US Marine Corps), on its way to an operation in the Central Pacific in the fall of 1943, had few options for relaxation on their voyage. They played cards, read dog-eared magazines, watched movies, and slept, which one observer noted they could do “at any time in any position on almost any given surface,” including in their bunks, under landing boats, and on the ship’s deck. As they...

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two Learning the Trade

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pp. 38-56

The telephone call came early in the morning on Saturday, November 15, 1941, in the Washington, DC, home of Robert Sherrod. He had been expecting a busy day, as he needed to pack for a trip to cover US Army maneuvers in North Carolina as part of his work as Time magazine’s military reporter. The 295,000 members of infantry and mechanized units set to clash in the region between the Catawba and Dee Rivers needed to train all they could that fall. Nazi Germany soldiers had already overrun...

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three Somewhere in Australia

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pp. 57-86

In long lines, the men moved forward, shuffling along the covered San Francisco pier at night to the ships that would take them to a destination that was, at present, a secret. Numbering in the thousands, the troops setting out on February 17, 1942, as part of convoy PW 2034 included a cross section of American society, with a couple of millionaires’ sons and doctors of philosophy along with men who could not read. There were lawyers, cooks, plumbers, clerks, brokers, welders, mechanics, watchmakers, and the...

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four War in the Fog and Atolls: The Aleutians and Beyond

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pp. 87-133

I n May 1942 Harold E. Van Antwerp of Franklin, Indiana, while stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia, received a letter from a college friend, Norman H. Vandivier. A pilot of a Douglas SBD Dauntless divebomber with Bombing Squadron 6 aboard the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, Vandivier shared in his letter to Van Antwerp stories about his tangles with Japanese aircraft, giving little details about his exploits but indicating he could claim “a few in the old game bag. It’s even more fun, and...

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five Betio: Red Beach Two

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pp. 134-161

Abarrel-chested, cigar-chomping, often profane US Marine from the aptly named town of Battle Ground, Indiana, David M. Shoup had a rude awakening to how the service operated when he received his commission as an officer in 1926 at the Marine Corps barracks in Philadelphia. Major Alley D. Rorex informed Shoup that for his first assignment, he would be playing football for the marines. When Shoup responded that he had not joined the Marine Corps to play football, Rorex had him stand at attention for...

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six Saipan: Smith versus Smith

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pp. 162-187

On the evening of June 6, 1944, Time war correspondent Robert Sherrod gathered with sailors in blue dungarees and navy officers and marines clad in khaki to watch movies outdoors at an American base on Eniwetok Island in the Marshalls, which had been captured from the Japanese just a few months before and had been turned into the “neatest shipshape” facility that Sherrod had yet seen in the war. Before seeing Merle Oberon in The Lodger and Errol Flynn in Northern Patrol, the audience of about 400 heard

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seven Uncommon Valor: Iwo Jima and the Flag Raising

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pp. 188-213

Located just 700 miles south of Tokyo, Iwo Jima (“Sulphur Island”) posed a threat to American B-29 bombers on their way to missions over Japan. A radar station on the island gave the home islands two hours’ warning of approaching raids, and fighters on its two airfields sometimes harassed US bases in the Marianas. The Marine Corps was tasked with taking the island to provide bases for long-range P-51 fighters to escort the huge US bombers and to permit damaged B-29s to land there in case of emergencies....

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eight Okinawa: The Final Battle

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pp. 214-228

On April 9, 1945, while covering the American invasion of Okinawa, located only 330 miles from Japan, two war correspondents, one a veteran of the Pacific War and the other a newcomer to the theater, were busy writing stories about the battle in a room aboard the USS Panamint, a McKinley-class command ship that served as the flagship of Rear Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider. As the clacking of their typewriter keys slackened, the two men—Time magazine’s Robert Sherrod and Scripps-Howard News...

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nine “Taps”

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pp. 229-240

Those filing in to fill the pews for a memorial service on a rainy, gray day in early March 1994 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, could be excused if they believed the ceremony was to honor a member of the US Marine Corps. Present for the occasion was a color guard of tall marines clad in their dress-blue uniforms and a brass quintet from the Marine Band playing the “Marines’ Hymn Apotheosis” and the navy’s hymn “Eternal Father.” The man being honored on the afternoon of March 3,...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 241-248

Index

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pp. 249-259