R A L P H L I B E R A T O ' S
I have been asked to write a story of the U.S. Marine Raiders in action, about their feelings, and what they talk about when they are up in the bush. The purpose of this story is not to show or tell the public how tough a Raider is or how many Japs he has killed. No! This is not why. The reason is to show people who do not know about war and their horrors. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, when an island is taken. Also, that the men who have fought and died for the possession of the northern islands were not savages but men like you and I who were happy and content with the life in our good old U. S. of America.
To begin our story we will take the calendar back a few months. The month of June, 1943. It was this particular month that the Raiders struck at the New Georgia group. The men cheered from one end of the camp to the other. At last the day has come; now we can show those little yellow Tojos what it means to play in our backyard. Yes, the morale was high and the men were hungry, not for blood but for action to see what it was like.
The operation was simple according to the Major’s plan. It would be over in 10 minutes of fighting – 10 minutes of quick slaughter. But what if something went wrong? Well, we don’t give a damn was the answer most of the men gave. As fate would have it, something did go wrong and it cost the lives of a few comrades. The plans of the operation were good on paper, but you can’t fight a war on paper. Out of a battalion of 1100 men, 150 to 200 were killed in action.
The battalion was separated in two before the main fighting was under way. There was a little job of cleaning up two small islands. One was Viru Harbor; the other was Vangunu. The Raiders who went to