8:04 | Ed Harrell describes in detail the sinking of the USS Indianapolis from Japanese torpedoes, which left nearly 900 Sailors and Marines in shark-infested Pacific waters. Part 1 of 4.
Ed Harrell remembers his first impression of the USS Indianapolis and his first experience being at sea headed into combat during World War II.
Ed Harrell recalls the bombardment and successive invasion of Saipan during World War II.
Stationed aboard the USS Indianapolis, Ed Harrell remembers his ship being hit by a kamikaze aircraft near Okinawa.
Ed Harrell describes the events leading up to the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the threat that kamikaze aircraft posed to U.S. ships during that battle.
Ed Harrell makes the case that invading the island of Peleliu was a costly mistake on the Pacific front.
Ed Harrell recalls the bombardment of the island of Okinawa prior to the landing-force invasion.
Ed Harrell recollects the mystery surrounding a very important and dangerous package the USS Indianapolis was tasked with delivering to the Pacific front - the first atomic bomb.
After his ship was sunk by Japanese torpedoes, Ed Harrell continues his story of survival, fighting off hallucinations and sharks, while adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Part 2 of 4.
Ed Harrell continues his story of survival into the third day adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Part 3 of 4.
After being adrift in the Pacific for four days, Ed Harrell concludes his story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, which only a quarter of the crew ultimately survived. Part 4 of 4.
Ed Harrell describes the injuries he suffered after surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and floating in the Pacific Ocean for four days, for which he received a Purple Heart.
Ed Harrell shares the efforts he and other former crewmembers went through to clear Rear Admiral Charles McVay's name after the admiral was court-martialed for his accused role in the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughn and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
While aboard the USS New Jersey during World War II, Ed Bean remarks about how each naval ship had a camera crew tasked with documenting battles and other important events. One of the cameramen was Eddie Albert, who would later star in the television show Green Acres.
While stationed on Bougainville Island, Bill Jackson remembers a night when 72 Japanese troops attempted to infiltrate his camp. He grabbed the first thing he could, his bayonet, and chased after one Japanese soldier. He also describes how some U.S. service members would act as natives on the island to gather information against the Japanese.
While anchored in Ulithi Atoll, Ed Bean remembers his ship being hit by an unexploded shell. The shell penetrated the main deck and went several decks down, narrowly missing one Sailor and striking one of Bean's friends, Robert Clowers, who survived the encounter. Bean recalls catching up with Clowers later in life.
Bill Jackson remembers a flight from Bougainville Island to the Philippines where his unarmed Douglas C-47 transport aircraft became a "sitting duck" for a Japanese fighter. Through a clever flight maneuver, however, the transport aircraft managed to escape.
When the harbor at Leyte was loaded with ships, Japanese kamikaze pilots started flying in. The enemy pilots were near impossible to hit, so there was no way to stop them. Levin even witnessed an Australian transport ship fall victim to the kamikazes.
Besides making supply runs to nearby islands, Bill Jackson describes how his unit was involved in gaining intelligence while stationed on Bougainville Island, specifically regarding the invasion of the Philippines.
After 3-4 months on the Admiralty Islands, Levin and a massive convoy of ships bombarded the beaches of Leyte. The sky was ablaze with explosions, and Levin and his men did their best to secure the beaches and bring in the LST’s and LCI’s.
After witnessing the Pearl Harbor attack, Bill Braddock volunteered for the Marine paratroopers and spent time untangling himself from the Wait-A-Minute vines of Bougainville. But he soon found himself back in San Diego, training for a new assault force and handling a new machine gun.
Bill Jackson recalls how they were helped by locals while stationed on the island of Bougainville, including a plantation owner who would call in Japanese-related intelligence on his radio, and other locals who would keep U.S. troops fed in between supply deliveries.
The night before leaving for the bombardment of Tarakan, Levin’s beach master Danny Meyers had a bit too much to drink. Meyers came into the barracks claiming that their troop had invaded Halmahera. Levin thought nothing of it and told Meyers to go to bed. The next morning, Meyers had a meeting with the Commanding Officer of the beach.
Barry Malac, a Czech living in Vienna, came of age just as his country was "sold down the river" by its French and English allies. His schooling became almost non-existent, but he and a friend did manage to make a little musical mischief with the German national anthem.
He was among the last of his unit lined up to board the SS Leopoldville for the Channel crossing when the officer manning the gangplank stopped Andy Staruch and all the men behind him. The ship was full and that proved to be most fortunate for them.
Arnold Mathias didn't like basic training at all. He didn't like being told when to go to bed, when to get up, how to cut his hair, what to eat and when. But then he realized that discipline is what makes the military work.
He was a truck driver behind the lines, but Ash Rothlein and the others in his unit experienced the joy of liberating a French town. On a street filled with boistrous residents, he felt it was a great moment of unity for mankind.
Don Worrell remarks about how, during World War II, his men were under threat from V-1 buzz bombs created by the German engineer Wernher von Braun. After the war, incidentally, both Worrell and von Braun worked for NASA, where Worrell ended up writing speeches for the engineer.
Tom Pendergrast's LCT had been loaded and ready to go on June 5th with all the others, but the miserable weather delayed the fateful invasion for a day. After a cramped day and night aboard the craft, just waiting, they received the word to go and through the night they went, silent and without lights, with only the ship ahead as guidance.