June 15, 1944
We were in charge of placing the Marines safely on the beach.
We were to place over 8000 men in a horrible position in front of an enemy that knows we are coming. How do these guys do it? I can maneuver the Higgins straight up to the beach, out fox the mortar rounds, all the while deep in my hole…mostly safe from harm. These guys can jump out of this vessel in the face of oncoming fire, see men die in front of them, and still push through to continue fighting. I thought I was tough, but these men. When we landed, I fight back bile that desires release, but only to maintain some respect from the Marines. Men walk over men fallen from mortar shrapnel. Men hold their wounds while they fight on.
The Japs had us zeroed in. Neighboring boats and tanks were taken out with direct hits…barbed wire slowed our advance. It looked like we led these Marines to slaughter. But 20 minutes in a Higgins with these boys assured me of one thing…this island will be ours in a matter of days.
Ensign Thomas Cathe