Marine Vignettes By Gunny G
AN OLD SALT'S
by Mike Adelt
Alright Marines, let the ol' gunny tell you a story. Pull up a footlocker
and sit your ass down!
I'd just come
back from a tour with the 1st MAW which had been all over the Pacific from
to Atsugi to
Opama and Cubi Point in the Philippines to Oki, was a lot of fun. That
was back when
Nam was really starting.
up with a set of orders that directed me to Camp Gieger and ITR, this was
1960. Was assigned to a barracks and like they all say, "walked in and
threw down my
seabag". Got assigned to a cubicle with an old Cpl E3,2 striper.
The new pay
grades had been assigned to include Lcpl E3, Sgt E5, etc. Didn't pay much
I was already
serving with hashmark Pvt's and PFC's, from what I thought was the "old
seabag and hung up my stuff in the locker. Thought myself lucky I had been
to a bottom
bunk, but then glanced around and realized in a four-man cubicle there
was only two of
us, me and that 2 stripe Cpl E3. Didn't think much more of it, was assigned
to other duties.
Sort of fell
in the groove of things, cross country chasing school coming up, troop
handling with new
just sorta' gettin' adjusted, finding out where the good slopshoots were,
the rock 'n roll
bands in J'ville, and some other crazy stories, I'll relate later.
to roll over every morning getting up at reville, seeing this ol' Cpl reach
over to the end
of his protruding
footlocker, grab an old fashion glass and take a swig. Knew then something
During the interim I had noticed when his wall locker was open, had a set
of greens with
Cpl E3 chevrons
but more hashmarks than I had ever seen in my life. But to continue, a
later I woke to find no Cpl, bunk still made, old fashion glass still in
appearance, locker is
I came in from the field late that afternoon there were a couple of guys
and packing the old Cpl's lockers. At which time, they informed me the
into the PX, was accused of stealing a couple of cases of Aqua Velva and
the brig. Of course, this young Marine, said "Oh, shit, he's gone and a
drunk to boot",
Velva? And went on about my business sort of bearing thoughts of that old
man to my
up he was court marshaled, got 6 6 and a kick, that's six months hard time,
time and a dishonorable discharge. Of course, I thought it was deserved,
How are we going to teach the new Marines what's right or wrong if the
can't live up to the code, and went on about my business, teaching new
of months later, I was handed a review of the old Cpl's court marshal by
Seems those folks saw something that nobody else did; you see that old
Cpl. E3 was a
the WWII and Korea. Not only that, he was a survivor of the Batan Death
and a half years of multiple Japanese concentration camps. He had more
than I can mention here. He wound up being retired on the spot as a GySgt
E7 with all
due and allowances. The court marshal was stricken off his record. We truly
are a Band of Brothers.
GySgt and Mrs. Mike Adelt, USMC/Ret.
Sgt Barnes' Vignette
By Richard W. Barnes
January 1, 1998
(Richard Barnes/1969 1stMAW HQ Danang (LZ-11) E-3
Nam was "for real" usually came abruptly with the first incoming experience.
not long before
I no longer thought much about getting home alive. With over ten months
just did not seem
that good. As a postal type that had not been assigned to a unit, I assisted
mail from the air field for the wing units. Usually riding shotgun in 6x6
to the main field,
I-Corps HQ. However, ever so often I would be volunteered to ride shotgun
46 to Chu Lai with mail and military guardmail. The first was somewhat
this mail, five boots were aboard . All had nice new, shiny starched cammies,
among them. Yet every one had a camera slung around their neck. Also, not
had a mag in
it, nor did I notice any mag pouches on their belts. I wondered what they
of me, as
I had fully loaded magazines at every location on my cammies that would
hold them, and
some taped other
places. As I turned my head I noticed the door gunners where looking at
the same hopeless
look I had. I imagine we all knew this would be the only trip they took
hands holding onto their camera and not the 16s.....rwb
A Marine Lost A Sailor
By Harold F. Dangler
January 7, 1998
After Guam, we sailed for Bouganville, and the little island of Purita,
where A Co 4th Base Depot
was to set up an equipment storage dump for the troops.
is just about 1/2 half mile off Bouganville. This place received more enemy
the main island,
probably because of the closeness of the Storage Depot which contained
ammo, fuel, etc. The enemy missed so often that WE got their payload.
a few days there, I saw this young sailor and I asked..."Is there anything
I can do for you?"
was: "Yes, I jumped ship, and I want to be with you Marines, that's where
the action is!
Besides, I'm sixteen & 1/2 and the Navy"s sending me home, can I stay,
I remembered that
at 16 and 1/2 I wanted to enlist, but my mother said very clearly, "NO!!"
talked her into it by my seventeenth birthday.
So, I told the young sailor that he would have to get permission from our
C.O. After getting
he became my responsibility, as ordered by the CO, for my information!
he became one
of us, and slept next to me, later becoming drunk.We had an air raid that
"personal bombs." With help, I was able to get him to our shelter. After
it was over, he
at me, and I angrily demanded of him, "What the ---are you---staring at?"
With a dopey
on his face, he said " I see an Angel on your shoulder." During the night,
I felt a thud on
thought that it was him in a drunken stupor. But, it was a Vampire bat
with a broken
into its eyes, I knocked it off, and yelled for my buddies and rifles.
We killed it with the
and unrolled it. It had a wing spread of about 3 ft. on each side, with
gripping claws. Right
then and there, we nailed it to a board on top of our shelter.
next morning, there was no cot, and no sailor! I checked with the troops--no
salor! I then
the CO--no sailor! Though, this was a very profound experience for me,
it was not so
to the others. But it is still with me today!
The next day
brought another air raid, and another hit on the Supply Depot. It looked
like all the
ever seen all rolled into one. My company got a commendation for our our
putting out fires and saving lives, etc. It was awarded by Marine General
Roy S. Geiger.
Harold F. Dangler
Busting Attitude Barriers thru Involvement (B.A.B.I.)
Note: My friend, Harold F. Dangler ( Pfc USMCR 1942-1945) is a veteran
of WWII, including
Guadalcanal, and other Pacific campaigns. He would like to contact any
former members of I Co,
3rd Bn, 21st Marines, 3rdMarine Division.
THE INVASION THAT NEVER HAPPENED!
By Basil Duncan
January 7, 1998
The Top Brass
of our Military and Naval forces were busy formulating plans for the invasion
to take place in late 1945. The plans were so secret that only a very few
knew it was happening. There are even fewer people today who know anything
plans, and fewer still who know how close we came to implementing them
the attack, which was code-named "OPERATION DOWNFALL."
the plan was prepared in its final form and called for two massive attacks,
to be carried
out in succession, aimed at the very heart of the Japanese Empire.
The first invasion, code-named "Operatiion Olympic," called for combat
troops to land by
assault in the early morning hours of November 1, 1945, on the beaches
of Kyushu, the
island of Japan. Preceding the actual invasion, there was to be one of
the heaviest and
naval ad aerial bombardments in the history of modern warfare. Plans called
divisions of Army and Marine Corps personnel to land on this heavily fortified
later, on March 1, 1946, there was to be a second invasion, code named
which would send 22 additiional divisions against one million Japanese
defenders on the
island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. Hopefully, this combined effort would
bring about the
unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of the war.
By and large,
this was going to be an all American operation, with one small exception.
Part of the
British Pacific Fleet was to participate in the bombardment. Other than
that, it was to be all
The plan called
for the use of the entire United States Marine Corps, the entire U. S.
Navy in the
7th Air Force, the 8th Air Force (recently sent over from Europe), the
20th Air Force
and the American
Far Eastern Air Force. There would be in excess of 1.5 million combat Marines
with millions more in support, to carry out this massive invasion. There
would be 4.5
servicemen, or over 40% of all Military and Navy still in uniform in 1945,
part in the invasiion.
In our most
conservative estimates, there would be massive casualties. Admiral Leahy
excess of 250,000
killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence,
Willoughby, estimated that we would suffer one million (1,000,000) men
lost by late
1946. His own staff considered this to be a very conservative number.
Many of the
self-proclaimed experts, who were not even born when all this was taking
to sell the world on the idea that a Naval blockade and the use of massive
air power over
have brought them to unconditional surrender. Of course, these educated
not the slightest
idea of the mind-set of World War II Japan, nor the fanaticism of their
military. It is
opinion that our politicians of today still don't know the Japanese and
have not the
slightest idea how to deal with them on their terms.
There is no doubt that a Naval blockade and massive air strikes >
tary and naval
minds of the time agreed that those two things alone would never bring
the war to an
and air power destroy some parts of a nation, but they do not kill the
of operation would have left whole armies intact. Little did we know at
the time just how
much was still intact in Japan, just waiting for our landing.
General Eisenhower and General Ira C. Eaker, the Deputy Commander of the
with the assessment of the commanders in the Pacific. So the plan was made.
25, 1945, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, after long deliberations, issued
orders to General
Chester Nimitz and Army Air Force General "Hap" Arnold, to proceed with
invasiion of Kyushu. Target date was to be November 1, 1945.
On July 24,
1945, President Harry Truman approved the invasion plans. On July 26th,
Potsdam Proclamation, which called for the unconditional surrender of Japan
or face total
destruction. Three days later, on July 29th, Domei, the Japanese government
broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the Potsdam Proclamation.
We also learned
that the intelligence section of the FCC monitored internal Japanese broadcasts,
that Japan had closed all schools in order to mobilize all its school children.
its civilian population, incluting its children, to throw against the invading
armies in the
This would cause many casualties in the invading armies and allow the Japanese
army to hit
the invaders with a hoped-for knock-out blow. Japan was going to be a nation
caves and massive underground defenses.
The key to
victory with the "OPERATION DOWNFALL" rested with the success of "Operation
Kyushu for, without success here, "Operation Coronet" might never be launched.
on our massive firepower for the success at Kyushu, as well as the operation
launced on Honshu.
One of our
major concerns was the ability of Japan to launch massive "kamikaze" air
remembering the success of these at Okinawa, where we lost 32 ships sunk
and over 400
top brass assumed that Japan had just about spent its air force, because
of the ability
of our fliers to fly, unmolested, over Japanese territory. If only they
What we did
not know was that, by the end of July, 1945, the Japanese had been saving
pilots in reserve. They had been feverishly building new planes for the
decisive battle for
They had given up, for the time being, their suicide attacks in order to
and planes to use against our invasion, which they knew was coming.
plan was known as "Ketsu-Go." The nation had been divided into districts
and in each
of these were
hidden airfields and hangars. Aircraft were being camouflaged and dispersed
the island of Kyushu were hundreds of suicide units which would, for the
first time in the
all forces in Japan, be operating under one unified command. On Kyushu,
there were 20
strips with underground hangars, 35 camouflaged airfields, and 9 seaplane
Suicide was to be an all-out mission of all military and naval operations.
On the night
before the invasion, massive suicide strikes by 200 aircraft were to be
There were 58 additional airfields in Korea. Of course, we did not know
all this at the time
had estimated Japanese strength to be no more than 2,500 aircraft, of which
guessed only 300 would be used in suicide attacks. What a joke that was!!
In August, 1945,
us, the Japanese still had 5,651 Army and 7,974 Navy aircraft, for a total
Also, in July
alone, they built 1,131 new planes. Almost 100 new underground aircraft
plants were in
various stages of completion.
also building new, much more effective, models of the "Okka" rocket-propelled
very much like the German V-1, but piloted to its target by a suicide pilot.
these were ordered and were to be launched from caves in Kyushu against
On the Western
shores of Kyushu, the Marines would be facing the most brutal opposition
divisions, the 6th Tank Brigade, the 125th Infantry Brigade and the Fourth
well as components of the 25th and 77th Divisions, also poised for counter-attacks.
not permit me to outline this very detailed plan of the Japanese, but it
is important to
Japan had 28 million people trained as the "National Volunteer Combat Force,"
used in beach defense and guerilla warfare.
I don't know
about the rest but, as a member of the Second Marine Divisiion which was
to be in the
I will be forever thankful that President Truman had the guts to put more
the lives of
American servicemen than on politics. I also thank God in Heaven that none
of us were
called upon to make that sacrifice.
in the full text of the "OPERATION DOWNFALL" plans may have a copy by
sending your request to "firstname.lastname@example.org," and I will send it to you
as soon as possible.
May God continue to bless this great Nation, and may we find leaders with
more concern for
defending our nation than in getting re-elected.
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