Cpl. William F. Langford
"Five Minutes Seem Like Eternity When Facing Gunfire of Japs"
"Five minutes can seem like an eternity if you are in a stranded landing boat being machine-gunned by Japs," says Marine Cpl. William F. Langford, 23, of 1805 Colorado Ave., who had such an experience during the battle for Betio Beach on Tarawa, according to a press dispatch from the Pacific.
For two days and one night, Cpl. Langford had transported men and supplies onto the beach under withering gunfire. Twice he had to evacuate his craft.
On the second night his assignment was to transport a detail of men to damaged boats to strip them of their machine guns since Japs had sneaked into these craft the first night and had fired upon our men.
After the last gun had been stripped, Cpl. Langford tried to start his engine and discovered that the tank was dry and the gas line broken. Japs were sending a steady pattern of machine gun fire at the marines in the boat but the men huddled low and the hot lead whizzed over them.
Our marine sucked on the gas line and got some gas flowing out of a spare can. The engine started up and they dashed out of range of the machine guns. "That was the happiest moment of my life," was Cpl. Langford's comment.
Until the island was secured two days later, he carried ammunition to the front lines and helped evacuate wounded. His efforts have been praised by his commanding officer.
Cpl. Langford, son of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Langford, has been overseas since last October.
The above article with picture was probably from the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan.
The Commanding General, Second Marine Division, takes pleasure in COMMENDING
CORPORAL WILLIAM F. LANGFORD
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
For service as set forth in the following CITATION:
"For meritorious conduct and devotion to duty against enemy Japanese forces in Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, during the period of November 20 to December 3, 1943, while serving with the Second Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Second Marine Division. After having landed initially under heavy enemy gunfire Corporal Langford continued to operate his amphibian tractor during the above period. With little opportunity to sleep, he was instrumental in providing front line troops with sorely needed ammunition and supplies, as well as the evacuation of casualties from the beach. The efficient manner in which he performed his duties was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
JULIAN C. SMITH,
Major General, U. S. Marine Corps,
A cover memo accompanied this letter and was dated February 21, 1944. At the bottom it shows copy to:
CMC, dated March 15, 1944, First Endorsement,
Headquarters, 2D AMPH TR BN, V AMPH CORPS, IN THE FIELD.
To: Cpl. William F. Langford, USMCR.
1. Forwarded with congratulations.
HENRY G. LAWRENCE, JR.
copyright 2001 T.O.T.W.
Created 28 October 2001