My hometown when I joined the Marines was Chicago, Illinois.  I was just 18 at the time, and I was 20 when the A-1-10 went to Tarawa.
We came from New Zealand on the attack transport USS Heywood (APA-6), and in the early morning of 20 November 1943, I remember having an early breakfast and standing out on deck for quite a while watching the shelling of land targets by the US Navy ships off shore.  Quite a sight!
The A-1-10 was in the 3rd Wave on Red #2.  It was a bad trip to the pier.  There were about 28 of us in a Higgins boat; I remember some of my buddies still, especially Bob George, Ray Forbus, Frank Kern, Dave Estes, Chris Hinzo and Ed O’Brien. On the way in to the pier, we had to change from the Higgins because the tide worked against us, and transfered to an amtrac.  We got my 75mm pack howitzer onto the amtrac, and we finally made it.
Then we got terribly bunched up at the seawall … smoke, noise, terror and death all around in that awful heat.  I guess it was a day or more before we got over the seawall and moved further inland, eventually getting up to the airstrip when the fighting finally died down.  My stay at Betio was about seven days, and then we went to a transport and departed for Hawaii.
Battles I was in include Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa.
I received a Purple Heart medal and a Presidential Unit Citation for my work at Tarawa.  I guess that is about all this 87-year old Marine can contribute now; 67 years ago is a long, long time ago.
Charlie, it is wonderful to have your memories here, and especially thoughtful of you to remember some of your close buddies from those battles in the Pacific.  We thank you for your service.  We will remember.  
Received 13 November 2010
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