Pvt. James W. "Red" Mulligan, C Co. 1st Med. Tank Batt.
Excerted from Scot Kinsman's account:
"I went in on Red Beach Two next to a very long pier. I finally got to shore; how, I do not know. I has no strength left in my arms and legs. I tried to crawl out of the water but I was so weak that I had to take my knife and cut my backpack off. It was full of water and heavy. I crawled on my elbows and knees on shore. You had to stay flat with the ground. If you as much as put up you arm, it would have been shot off. There were dead Marines everywhere on the beach. I dug a foxhole with my hands and feet to get below the ground level, as I lost my shovel. I used two dead Marines as protection from bullets in front of me. Then I heard my buddy, Red Mulligan, call out to me, "Scot, I'm hit!" I spotted him about five feet from shore with a fountain of blood coming out of the water from his body. I called to him and said, "Red, you can make it." "No, I can't" he replied. I reached in my back pocket and got my New Testament Gideon Bible. I said, "Red, you can make it. Grab this Bible," and I threw it to him. He crawled out of the water into my foxhole. I dug another one adjacent to it. There was blood on his buttocks. I cut his belt and pulled back his trousers. There was a clean bullet hole in the buttocks. I took his first aid kit and put sulfa on it with a large bandage. I then proceeded to clean my rifle as it was loaded with sand, to make it operable. There was so much sand in the barrel of the gun that it would have caused it explode if I had tried to fire it.
We could throw grenades and fire a few shots but we couldn't move a foot. If the "Japs" had counter attacked, we would have all been killed. We were soaking wet, miserable and cold. There was so much confusion with the noise of exploding shells that one young Marine went out of his mind. He stood and starting shouting. When he did this a buck sergeant stood up and punched him in the face, knocking him down, but it saved his life. No one seemed to be in command. Everyone was on their own. Machine gun fire, rifle fire, grenades exploding - it was like a piece of hell and you were right in the middle of it. We were the living among the dead and I had a gut feeling we were about to join them.
At midday it seemed that the "Japs" were being pushed back somewhat. I saw a deserted Amtrak on the beach and crawled up into it to get a better view of what was going on. One of our Navy planes saw me and thought I was a "Jap". He came straight at the Amtrak firing his .50 caliber machine guns. I dropped down into the Amtrak but the only thing that saved my life was the angle of his fire on the vehicle. I jumped up and waved at him to let him know I was a Marine, but he came back and fired again. This happened several times, so I finally stayed down in the vehicle. This was probably some crazy "90-day wonder" who was gun happy. He must have thought everyone was his enemy. It makes me wonder how many Marines got killed with his stray bullets that missed me, because there were a lot of Marines on that beach.
There was so much action and shooting all day. Later that evening the tide came in. The bodies were floating all over. We walked all over Red Beach Two and went through all that was in our area. Red Beach Two took heavy losses. There were still some alive so as many as we could, we put them on life jackets that had been tied together and floated them toward the long pier. When I came to Red Mulligan, he had bled to death. When we got to the pier there were corpsmen loading the wounded on small craft to take them out to the hospital ship. I remember a Marine sitting on a 16 inch armor piercing unexploded shell as if nothing had happened, smoking a cigarette, with his eye hanging six inches down on his cheek. I had blood all over my arms and knees from crawling on the wet sand. I was told to go with them to help them unload. I talked to a corpsman later on about Red's wound. He said there was nothing I could have done because that fountain of blood that I saw coming out of his body into the water was because it had hit the main artery so he bled to death."
copyright 2003 Wheaton, Illinois
Created 7 August 2003 - Updated 31 August 2003