I was 16 years old when I joined the Marine Corps from Springfield, Missouri.  Two years later, I was in Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, attached to the 2nd Marine Division.  
A group of us in my unit (about 30) were in one of the assault waves on D-Day, 20 November 1943, but because of a lot of confusion, our landing craft, like several others, spent all night off shore waiting for instructions. We thought we had been forgotten.  Finally, in the morning of D+1, we landed on Red 2, just west of the pier.
As we approached the beach, just seconds before the ramp was dropped, the enemy fired all over our landing craft.  It sounded like someone was throwing handfuls of rocks at the ramp and sides, and that sound just kept happening.  I can still hear and feel it today! Naturally, we got down as low as possible, but sooner or later that ramp had to go down and we had to take our chances.   Though I had gone in with a radio, it got wet on the way in and was unusable once I got to shore.  So, I just threw it away and found a machine gun lying nearby and continued to use that for the next almost 3 days I was there.  In all that time, our unit remained almost where we had landed.  
When the action stopped, I was in good physical condition.  I had no wounds, but I was exhausted, sunburned, thirsty, hungry and filthy.  
I was in three Pacific campaigns:  Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan.
Medals received include the Presidential Unit Citation for what we accomplished at Tarawa and several of the other general theater medals that were issued to probably all Marines.  No individual medals.   
Basically, I would not care to do any of this again.
Verlin, you did your duty and you pulled together with your fellow Marines to get the job done.  Thank you for your service.  We are proud of you.  We will remember.
Received 20 November 2010
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