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Raise the Banner
Victory Over the Enemy

Formosa (now called Taiwan) was the original mission objective, but at Admiral Mitiz's recommendation, the invasion was changed to Okinawa to allow more rapid movement for the Allies toward the Japanese mainland. We who made the landing on April 1, 1945 expected the same kind of deadly Japanese reception as at Peleliu-an intensive, life-and-death struggle on the beaches. Instead it was a relatively peaceful landing.

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The Alphabet Men of C Co. First Tank Battalion

The Alphabet Men of C Co. First Tank Battalion

Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard. We are all held in a single honor, the brave with the weaklings. A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much.Homer in The Iliad, 800 BC

At Camp Elliott in San Diego after Boot Camp in early 1943, we were "volunteered" alphabetically, A, B, C & D, for Marine Corps tank training at Jaques Farm. The Alphabet Men, of whom I was one, were Alvarez, Atkinson, Backovich, Bahde, Barwick, Brenkert, Christensen-and many others too numerous to list. Even today, almost 60 years later, I continue to ponder the mysterious fate of being thrown together with some of America's finest, only because of the alphabet.

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The Gyrostabilizer

The Gyrostabilizer

The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same. Billy Graham

After an accelerated wartime seven week Marine Boot Camp in early 1943, hundreds of us in our new green uniforms and our equipment packed in khaki-colored sea-bags were sent by ten-wheel trucks to Camp Elliott on the outskirts of San Diego for infantry training. Camp Pendleton had not opened yet. In other chapters I've told how after initial infantry training, we were "volunteered" alphabetically for tank school. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me if my last name was Zaring! As new prospective tankers we were sent off to Jaques Farm, an old fruit orchard, for training. Never mind that some of us were well over six feet and could hardly squeeze into the 15-ton light tanks of that day.

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The Black Angel

The Black Angel

Do not remain neglectful of hospitality to strangers, for by it some have entertained angels without knowing it Hebrews 13.2

He spotted me on the crowded ward of the hospital ship, USS Solace. This black man, clad in his clean, blue Navy dungarees, appeared to be a member of the ship's crew. He made his way through the crowded bunks of wounded Marines and sailors, came up to me with an engaging smile, stuck out his hand and said: "My name's so & so– good to meet you. What's your name and where are you from?"

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Twenty-Five-Night Ambush: Confessions of a Vietnam Vet by Sgt Robert Boardman

Twenty-FiveNight Ambush: Confessions of a Vietnam Vet

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5.17

A letter from a Vietnam veteran to a WWII Marine. As surely as Spring follows a bitter Winter, hope can emerge from the pain, tragedy and suffering of war and its aftermath.

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What Will This Day Bring Forth?

What Will This Day Bring Forth?

"And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country,
and laid on him the cross to carry it behind Jesus."

-Luke 23:26

We never know what will happen in any given day. That is never more true than in warfare. But the soldier or Marine has geared his mind for a vast array of unexpected experiences and casualties. Seldom do we think we will be WIA or KIA. We don't say we won't be hit, but subconsciously feel it will be someone else…unless there is a clear premonition, which does happen in a few singular cases.

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The Password

The Password

Communications dominate war; broadly considered,
they are the most important single element in strategy, political or military.

Rear Adm. Alfred Mahan, 1900

During combat in WWII in the Pacific, the enemy was often a skilled infiltrator and night fighter. Because of this, Marine units found it necessary to adopt a different password for identification every night. In the First Marine Division, before nightfall, the password was sent out verbally through the regiments, battalions, companies and on down to platoons, squads, weapons-served units and tank crews. Every man knew that, usually simple, but vital one word. Sometimes a double word was used like Harley-Davidson.

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