Liberation: Marines in the Recapture of Guam

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9781515046561: Liberation: Marines in the Recapture of Guam
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With the instantaneous opening of a two-hour, ever-increasing bombardment by six battleships, nine cruisers, a host of destroyers and rocket ships, laying their wrath on the wrinkled black hills, rice paddies, cliffs, and caves that faced the attacking fleet on the west side of the island, Liberation Day for Guam began at 0530, 21 July 1944. Fourteen-inch guns belching fire and thunder set spectacular blossoms of flame sprouting on the fields and hillsides inland. It was all very plain to see in the glow of star shells which illuminated the shore, the ships, and the troops who lined the rails of the transports and LSTs (Landing Ships, Tank) which brought the U.S. Marines and soldiers there. The barrages, which at daylight would be enlarged by the strafing and bombing of carrier fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes, were the grand climax of 13 days (since 8 July) of unceasing prelanding softening-up. Indeed, carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 had been blasting Guam airfields since 11 June, while the first bombardment of the B-24s and B-25s of the Fifth, Seventh, and Thirteenth Air Forces fell as early as 6 May. Up at 0230 to a by-now traditional Marine prelanding breakfast of steak and eggs, the assault troops, laden with fighting gear, sheathed bayonets protruding from their packs, hurried and waited, while the loudspeakers shouted “Now hear this.... Now hear this.” Unit commanders on board the LSTs visited each of their men, checking gear, straightening packs, rendering an encouraging pat on a shoulder, and squaring away the queues going below to the well decks before boarding the LVTs (Landing Vehicles, Tracked). Troops on the APAs (attack transports) went over the rail and down cargo nets to which they—weighed down with 40-pound packs as well as weapons—held on for dear life, and into LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel). These troops would transfer from the landing craft to LVTs at the reef’s edge, if all went as planned. Aircraft went roaring in over mast tops and naval guns produced a continuous booming background noise. Climaxing it all was the voice of Major General Roy S. Geiger, commanding general of III Amphibious Corps, rasping from a bulkhead speaker: You have been honored. The eyes of the nation watch you as you go into battle to liberate this former American bastion from the enemy. The honor which has been bestowed on you is a signal one. May the glorious traditions of the Marine Corps’ esprit de corps spur you to victory. You have been honored.FULLY ILLUSTRATED

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Cyril J. O’Brien served in a line company with the 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, on Bougainville, and then as a Combat Correspondent in the battles for Guam and Iwo Jima. Following World War II, he covered Capitol Hill as a Washington correspondent, then joined the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he was a science writer and supervisor of media relations. He attended St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and the American University, Washington, D.C. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781494478216: Liberation: Marines in the Recapture of Guam (Marines in World War II Commemorative Series)

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ISBN 10:  1494478218 ISBN 13:  9781494478216
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishi..., 2013

9781482070606: Liberation: Marines in the Recapture of Guam (Marines in World War II Commemorative Series)

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Cyril J. O'Brien
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2015)
ISBN 10: 1515046567 ISBN 13: 9781515046561
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