The Eighth Marines – Tarawa

The carnage… So many young men and still younger boys…

The fear must have been unimaginable. The heart of the Marine Corps as they say rests with their brothers in arms standing – or laying down – by you. The carnage was something one could not part from, either there on that godforsaken atoll or in the surviving souls for the rest of their lives. Yet, among all that carnage and fear, God must have tapped a young Marine on the shoulder and whispered, “You are a US Marine…”

God bless them all, Sir.

Fix Bayonets!

EGA 012Preface

In order to establish forward air bases that were capable of supporting land operations across the Pacific to the Philippines and Japan itself, it was necessary that the United States seize the Mariana Islands, which were heavily defended by the Japanese.  To achieve this, war planners in Hawaii determined that they would require land-based aircraft to help weaken Japanese defenses and protect the naval invasion forces.  The nearest islands suitable for land-based aircraft were in the Marshall Islands, which were also held by the Japanese.  Standing in the way was one island in particular.  They called it Betio, on the western side of an atoll named Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  In order to seize the Marianas, Marines would first have to snatch Tarawa away from the Japanese.

After Guadalcanal, the 2nd Marine Division was withdrawn to New Zealand for rest and refit.

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