But the Japanese wasn't dead. But we had seen nothing like it on Peleliu, and Guadalcanal veterans had told me nearly every Japanese they “field stripped” had a diary on him. Finally, during the misty gray light of early morning, the order came, “OK, you guys, let's go.” We picked up our loads and moved toward the front lines. During the muddy stalemate before Shuri, the area would resemble descriptions I had read of the ghastly corpse-strewn morass of Flanders during World War I. I suggested to an NCO that we take them in case we needed them during the coming night, but he said we could get them later if necessary. So, from pure habit I suppose, we carefully rolled up the loose straps and shaped up our packs. Sledge is best known for his literary memoirs recounting his experience during World War II: "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." * We received orders to shave and to put on the clean dungarees we all carried in our knapsacks. * We moved through the thick growth quietly in extended formation, with scouts out looking out for snipers. The Japanese increased the volume of their fire against the waves of amtracs. As we finished unloading, we all agreed that there wasn't a finer company commander than Captain Haldane. It was home; it was “my” company. Nervous Marines lined up using the other toilet one after another. But MacArthur believed the operation should proceed, and Adm. Chester W Nimitz said it was too late to cancel the operation, because the convoy was already under way. These men were clean-shaven and neat. Haney returned to his seat as though nothing had happened. As they were caught by the wind, the gunners opened fire upon order from the fire control officer. He wanted to know all about my family, home, and education. During our training we were told that we would have to climb over a seawall or cliff (exact height unknown) to move inland during the coming battle. As we looked on with keen interest, the exasperated mother removed her breast from the mouth of the nursing baby and pointed it at the face of the fractious brother. If I close my eyes, he is as vivid as though I had seen him only yesterday. It was the darkest night I ever saw. We hailed two Company K men coming along the ridge, and they said they would help. Our orders didn't specify the number of days we were to remain there. Beyond that it swung westward toward Naha. Rocks and dirt clattered down after each erupting shell blew open a crater. On the big island bases, men had the feeling of activity around their units and contact through air and sea traffic with other bases and with the States. I saw it happen before Guadalcanal and Gloucester. Until the millenium arrives and countries cease trying to enslave others, it will be necessary to accept one's responsibilities and to be willing to make sacrifices for one's country—as my comrades did. Most of us removed our mud-caked canvas leggings and tucked our trouser cuffs into our sock tops, but it didn't help our feet much. We calmly picked up our gear and walked onto the beach. We usually threw phosphorous and smoke grenades as a screen, and the riflemen covered us, but enemy snipers fired as rapidly as possible at stretcher bearers. They left, but all the Japanese grenades were gone. For some reason, he frequently carried his helmet upside down in his left hand clutched against his side like a football. My happiness knew no bounds when I learned I was slated to ship home. I suppose the other two squads in our mortar section fixed their guns’ base plates in the same manner. The corpses were sprawled where the veterans had dragged them around to get into their packs and pockets. Capt. Each battalion had its own galley, but chow on Pavuvu consisted mainly of heated C rations: dehydrated eggs, dehydrated potatoes, and that detestable canned meat called Spam. I'm sure men have been decorated for less.
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