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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.

On L (Love) Day, the only dead man I saw on the beach was a Navy frogman. My outfit, C Company, First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division, lost our first tank while crossing the coral reef when the tank unexpectedly drove into an unseen naval shell hole, trapping and drowning the drive.

Liteutenant General Ushijima, commanding the Japanese Thirty-Second Army, had chosen to make the defense of Okinawa a long, costly, drawn out one, in contrast to the invasions of Taraw, Guam, Saipan, Peleliu, and other island battles. Because Japan's overall supplies were short and little was left of their naval forces, he counted on a war of attrition. The general hoped that the Kamikaze (Divine Wind) Force would destroy our invasion fleet by suicide attacks, cutting off supplies, thus isolating the invading expeditionary force………………………..

 

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