Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-x

In the course of my duties as the oral historian for the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, I interviewed marines of all ranks and varied time periods. I was made aware of retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Roy H. Elrod in an unusual manner: through family friends from Muleshoe, Texas. This is where I grew up and coincidentally, where Roy grew up, but about thirty years apart. In 2012, when we met, Roy and I lived within five miles of each other but more than 1,500 miles from...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-4

Roy H. Elrod, born in 1919, came from the small West Texas town of Muleshoe. He was raised on a farm operated by his widowed mother. He managed to save enough money, even in the midst of the Depression to attend Texas A&M, however he did not finish. As the war clouds gathered, he joined the Marine Corps in 1940. This was the “Old Corps,” before the World War II expansion grew it ten times its former size. After boot camp he was assigned to...

read more

Chapter One: Muleshoe to Texas A&M: Growing Up in Texas, 1920s and 1930s

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 5-24

I was born on June 23, 1919, in a small farm house about four miles north of Muleshoe, Texas.1 My grandmother delivered me and I was the first child of Nina (Wallace) and Roy Elrod. This land had been part of the XIT ranch.2 The Spanish referred to this area as the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains, and is part of the Great Plains. When a person stands there, he sees no distinctive land forms, for there are no trees or bushes of any consequence. My grandfather had moved to...

read more

Chapter Two: The Old Corps: USMC Boot Camp, 1940–1941

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-42

While at Tech, I saw an advertisement that the Army Air Corps was taking pilot applications up at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in September. I decided that I would investigate. So, I gathered up all my paperwork, and when the summer school session was over, I drove up to Lawton, Oklahoma, which was near Fort Sill. After two or three days, I realized that this wasn’t something I was really interested in. It was a little more army than I liked. Also, I...

read more

Chapter Three: Eighth Marines: Preparing to Fight

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 43-70

The Eighth Marines were located at Camp Elliott, about ten or twelve miles north of San Diego. There had been an airfield at Miramar, just west of Camp Elliott during World War I, and several times we had company and battalion exercises out in that direction. We found rocks that had been laid out for the streets for the old airfield.2...

read more

Chapter Four: Exotic Samoa: Defending the Southern Lifeline

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-100

We were briefed on the little people knew about Samoa at the time, but it was very sketchy. Samoa is about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Pago Pago harbor was a very deep and very large and well-protected harbor. The entrance was quite narrow. The harbor was the crater of some ancient volcano that had formed at least part of the Samoan chain....

read more

Chapter Five: Guadalcanal: We Were Living Like Animals

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 101-134

I went aboard a troop transport with one of the infantry battalions, probably the Second Battalion.3 The brigade was essentially disbanded because when we arrived at Guadalcanal, we were attached to the First Division. It took about a week or ten days at sea to transit to Guadalcanal. There were no practice landings or anything of that sort. We headed straight for Guadalcanal. During the voyage to Guadalcanal other navy ships, including an aircraft carrier, appeared and covered us....

Photo Gallery

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

read more

Chapter Six: New Zealand: Paradise Found

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-158

Before we left Guadalcanal, I, along with two of my marines, went up to the battle area by the Matanikau. We took four empty sandbags and picked up four Japanese skulls and eight thighbones. On the way to New Zealand, I got permission from the captain of the ship to go down in the hull any time I chose so that we could maintain our guns and vehicles. We tied a skull and crossbones on the radiator of each Jeep. I knew we were going to Wellington, and I knew there....

read more

Chapter Seven: Tarawa: Hell Realized

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 159-184

We had reveille at about four o’clock, but we had been up and dressed before the wake-up call.3 We were about six miles off the entrance of the atoll. We had been briefed about the approach. We went off into our boats. We knew what order we were going to be landing. They would say, “Boat team number [so and so], up to your debarkation station.” Knowing how we were going to have to unload or load into the landing craft, LCVPs, I had...

read more

Chapter Eight: Hawaii: Recovery and Preparing for the Next Show

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 185-204

They didn’t tell us where we were headed, but we found out sometime along the way. We landed at Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. We loaded off the transports into boats and were ferried ashore. That was really the only port where we could land. Once we were offloaded we moved by truck from Hilo to the camp on the northwest side of the island that we came to call Camp Tarawa. We took the mountain pass road to reach it, a very primitive road that went from Hilo...

read more

Chapter Nine: Saipan: “We Were There to Kill Japs”

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 205-238

We sailed through Eniwetok. We stopped there, and that’s where we tied up with most of the other divisions, with the Fourth Division and some army troops. Eniwetok had been beaten right down to the sand.2 There were a few stumps of palm trees standing up. We spent the night there, and I didn’t leave the ship. It was just a place for the other ships to join the convoy and for the ship’s captains to find their positions in the armada. The next...

read more

Chapter Ten: Death Came Near: Wounded and Recovery

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 239-260

I was wounded on the 2nd of July, the same day that the Second Division was taken out of the line. The entire Saipan operation was over on the ninth. So, it was right at the end of the operation. When the artillery shrapnel from that second round hit me, like I said it was really a hard blow to my back, and I believe it sent me flying a good ways, then a numbing pain. It sent shell fragments through me in several locations. I have shell fragments to this day in my spine, one in...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 261-266

After their wedding in Galveston, Roy and Malda drove cross country to San Diego, staying in the rooms that the generous and patriotic Galveston hotel manager had provided. In San Diego Roy resumed his job as an instructor, teaching navy officers the intricacies of naval gunfire in support of troops fighting ashore. This was something he could put his heart into because of the powerful effect of naval gunfire he had witnessed at Tarawa and Saipan, especially at...

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-272

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 273-289