PAULW.ZIEGENBEIN
From Wausa, Nebraska up in the northeast corner of the state, I joined the Marine Corps when I was 18.At Tarawa, I was a 20-year old young fellow in Headquarters Company, 2nd Marine Regiment in the 2nd Marine Division.††
We went from New Zealand to Tarawa on the USS William P. Biddle, and, I remember during the night before the assault on 20 November 1943, a great breakfast of steak and eggs; sharpening my hunting knife; talking with the guys; and just hoping I could do my best.††
USS William P. Biddle(APA-8)
A PHOTO OF USS William P. Biddle COMES HERE SOON.
Nowadays, I donít really remember what wave onto what beach I was in during the assault.It doesnít matter any more.I remember going in with my backpack, my carbine and its ammo, and some hand grenades.Iíll never forget the very heavy shell fire going on from all sides and in front.How I didnít get hit, Iíll never know.
Once ashore, I still remember the flying dust and sand, the noise, the smell of dead bodies and the screams of dying Marines.
After 3 days of non-stop fighting and virtually no sleep, I was in the center of the island when my part of the fight stopped.Thank heavens!I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty, sunburned and just plain worn out.I had taken an enemy shell in my backpack.If I had not had my backpack on, I would have been killed.††
On some transport whose name I donít recall now, I was taken to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii; from there we were driven by trucks to Camp Tarawa.It was a great place to be after the heat and combat and all the hazards of Tarawa, and I did a lot of nice swimming at the beaches.
Before Tarawa, I had fought at Guadalcanal; after, I fought at Saipan.As with each of these three battles, I was simply glad to get out alive.And that attitude sure helped me get to the age of 87, where Iím at today!
My medals include the Purple Heart, American Defense medal, American Campaign WWII medal, Asiatic-Pacific WWII medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct medal, Presidential Unit Citation (Tarawa); and the WWII Victory medal.
PURPLE HEART
A PHOTO OF THE PURPLE HEART MEDAL COMES HERE SOON.
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (Tarawa)
A PHOTO OF THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (Tarawa) COMES HERE SOON.
AMERICAN CAMPAIGN WWII MEDAL
A PHOTO OF THE AMERICAN CAMPAIGN WWII MEDAL COMES HERE SOON.
WWII VICTORY MEDAL
A PHOTO OF THE WWII VICTORY MEDAL COMES HERE SOON.
Paul, you represent the character, spirit and discipline of the Marine Corps.You volunteered to go into harmís way to defend your country, and that selfless gesture we respect and appreciate.Thank you for your service.
SEMPER FI,PAUL !
Received 10 December 2010
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