William Newell, C Co., 2nd Tank Battalion (special weapons)
Excerpted from "Memoir Stories of William Henry Newell"
"In his first wave of assault, the tank lighter that Dad was on was shot out from under him, he swam back to the ship and was quickly assigned to a new tank. Once on shore his destination was Inland toward the air field. There's no further discussion regarding what happened between landing until reaching the airfield, all he says is "I don't want to talk about it!"
After reaching the airfield, they noticed a Jap plane coming in behind one of our planes trying to shoot it out of the air. They aimed the tank's turret gun up at the plane and fired. Seconds later the Jap plane, with black smoke billowing, came down. They all thought they had hit the plane and when things settled down and they could, they painted the "zero" plane- kill on their tank. When their CO found out about it, he gave them hell and told them it was impossible to make that shot, and made them take the "zero" off the tank. Later on Okinawa, they saw on the news reels, the actual event of the planes flying over their tank, but what they hadn't seen was one of our planes, behind the Jap plane, that fired 2 seconds before they had fired, which knocked the Jap out of the air.
Dad said he had also gained a great respect for the Seabees and their "Cats" that day. He saw them advance on dugouts full of Japs, and with their blades up deflecting the barrage of bullets, they continued scooping up the dirt and burying them in their holes."
Thanks to Jacquelyn Valentino, Fields of Thunder Museum
copyright 2010 T.O.T.W.
Created 29 July 2015