P.F.C. Melvin R. Welton
"My father was at the battle of Tarawa, in the first assault wave. He was 18 and only 3 men lived out of the 60. The 3 that lived were his Lt., Sergeant, and my dad Private 1st Class Melvin R. Welton. He survived the landing by swimming under water, basically in a sea of blood. My dad was not a very good swimmer but he could hold his breath. He was wounded in the leg and made it to the beach. Later in the day mortar shells shot shrapnel into his wounded leg. He told me that he did not receive any kind of medical attention for 2 days.
My grandmother received a telegram stating that he was missing in action. It was about 4 to 5 weeks after the battle, I believe. Then she received a second telegram stating that he was found but wounded and the extent of the wounds were unknown. He was shipped out to Pearl Harbor for medical attention. Until his passing in June of 1997, my dad received a check for his wounds at Tarawa.
What a bloody battle for an 18 year old to walk into."
copyright 2004 T.O.T.W.
Created 19 May 2004