6:41 | 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.
Keywords : Lawrence Snowden Roi-Namur Japanese camouflage rifle company Saipan Tinian Iwo Jima twill uniform tank lagoon camaraderie amphibious
Lawrence Snowden’s family dentist would regale him with tales of his Marine Corps service and invariably finish by telling him that it would be too tough for him. The young Snowden took this as a challenge.
After a stop at Camp Lejeune, newly commissioned Lieutenant Lawrence Snowden was sent to Camp Pendleton to help put together the new 4th Marine Division. His was the first unit to train at Pendleton.
On Saipan and Tinian, Lawrence Snowden discovered huge green flies and poor use of artillery. He also had a profoundly moving experience when he heard soft crying coming from a pile of bodies.
Marine Captain Lawrence Snowden learned two things made Iwo Jima a valuable prize for the Allies: its position halfway between B-29 bases in Saipan and Tokyo, and the fact that it was, legally, a part of the Japanese mainland.
During the difficult landing at Iwo Jima, company commander Lawrence Snowden dove into a bomb crater for shelter and found Sgt. Leonard Ash there with a gruesome wound.
Lawrence Snowden was told that the campaign for Iwo Jima would take maybe 5 days. Instead it was 36 long, bloody days and when the flag was raised, no one in his unit stood up and cheered. That Marine would have been a dead Marine.
Iwo Jima was a unique battle in that the victors suffered more casualties than the defeated. Marine Captain Lawrence Snowden says that you came to feel that like it wouldn't happen to you, and that spirit enabled the men to reach their objective.
Lawrence Snowden knew that the machine guns on the wings of the Zero could not be aimed at him, so he stood up in the bomb crater he was using for cover and waved to the pilot of the low flying plane.
Lawrence Snowden was wounded on Iwo Jima and discovered that the policy was to not return any wounded troops to the battle. He wanted to return to his men and persevered because he knew there was always someone around who could change policy.
Aboard a troop ship, Lawrence Snowden found out what it means to be a union chef when he had to finish cooking his own eggs. Then he reveals the reason he loves sardines.
Captain Lawrence Snowden was transferred to the 3rd Marine Division on Guam, where he readied for the expected invasion of Japan. The commander was Maj. Gen. Graves B. Erskine, who had a reputation as a “tough cookie.”
Lawrence Snowden points out that the lasting effects of WWII go far beyond the fighting. The makeup of America’s labor force was forever changed, as women stepped up, and provincial attitudes were swept away.
Lawrence Snowden was one of only 95,000 active Marines when war broke out in Korea, drawn down from a force of over 500,000. His superiors wanted him to stay in his planning role, but he pushed for a transfer to the action.
During the Korean War, Lawrence Snowden visited postwar Japan for the first time. During a train ride from Kyoto to Tokyo, he became aware of an essential truth regarding wartime enemies.
In Vietnam, Regimental Commander Lawrence Snowden saw the dirty part of the war operating down in the Delta. Later, working at HQ making bombing assessments, he began to realize the aerial assault on the North was not working.
Lawrence Snowden had a long and varied career as a Marine officer, but the most important lesson on leadership, he learned as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant at Camp Lejeune. His men were not there to serve him. He was there to serve them.
The armored unit had to hold up for a while so Freeman Barber's crew dug a pit for protection from artillery and frigid temperatures. After nearly doing themselves in with candles, they crossed the Rhine on a pontoon bridge, which can be an adventure in a thirty ton Sherman tank.
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.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
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.
It was 1943 and Hugh Morgan was just out of high school when he was drafted and sent to train as a truck driver for the Quartermaster Corps. During basic training, he sneaked out of town on a weekend pass for a very special reason.
They went in the recruiting station just to "bug them a little bit." Val Archer and his friend were only sixteen but they sailed right on through. It was 1944 and, after a little work on their birth certificates, they were off to basic training, where they faced the indignities of segregation. Off base, it was even worse.
Hugh Morgan's Quartermaster unit was making its way by ship to India when it stopped in Tasmania. He made fast friends among the locals and a lady who had lost her son in the war, told him, "When you get where you're going, give 'em hell for me!" His destination? The edge of the Himalayas near the Burma border.
Hubert Aaron was drafted in 1943 and after a short stop in North Africa, his unit joined the push into Southern Italy. Soon he was celebrating his twentieth birthday in combat. He recalls diving into the mud in a cabbage patch as the bullets punctured the vegetables all around.
Val Archer was in an Aviation Engineer battalion when he got orders to report to Lockbourne Army Air Field in Columbus, Ohio. He was now assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen, as ground crew. The famed unit was preparing to go to the Pacific when the war abruptly ended.
After capturing an entire German Panzer division, Hubert Aaron's outfit was moving up the Rhone River Valley when he was wounded in an ambush. Evacuated to Naples, he found out how great was his sacrifice.
Hugh Morgan's Quartermasters unit was a non-combat outfit, but they loaded their guns and readied to fight the Japanese during a scare at his base in India. The mosquitoes were a bigger problem and he contracted malaria almost as soon as he arrived, not to mention the earthquake during their first night there.
On his last combat flight, B-29 radar navigator Dick Almand's target was 300 miles past the main Japanese Islands. At the time, it was the longest bombing mission ever attempted. They used the Norden bombsight but, since all their missions were at night, the bombardier didn't actually look through the sight. That's when the radar navigator came into play.
After breaking out at Anzio. Hubert Aaron's unit marched into Rome, the only American unit to capture an enemy capitol during World War Two. He received a Silver Star for actions during that operation. When he went into St. Tropez, with dry feet for a change, he ignored his platoon leader's order to move out through an open field. Then he let his Thompson submachine gun do some talking.
In India, Hugh Morgan's unit was responsible for moving and loading ammunition and bombs heading to allies in China. He recalls two accidents, a deadly explosion and a fire that consumed a fuel dump. He was scheduled to make the long journey himself over the Burma Road when the war ended.
Sterling Baker had to wait several days to get all his cargo unloaded at Iwo Jima because of the slow advance inland. This was his last action and he was transferred to Alameda Naval Air Station where he manned a converted PT boat used for rescue operations. He reflects on his scout training that he never got to use.
Hubert Aaron says, "I know I'm going to heaven because I spent three months in hell at Anzio." During this battle, he directed some artillery fire that was highly accurate, but then he was on the receiving end as an incoming enemy round put him in the hospital with a concussion. After being pinned down for three months and nearly being pushed back into the sea, the Americans finally prevailed.
At the edge of the Himalayas, Hugh Morgan was responsible for trucking supplies to the air field where brave pilots made the dangerous journey "over the hump" for delivery to Chinese forces fighting the Japanese. The flights were considered impossible with the aircraft of the time but the operation was highly successful.
Dick Almand recalls dodging rats and watching movies in the rain at the air field in Guam in between bombing missions. The unexpected use of the atomic bomb ended the war and his biggest problem became flight time. Everyone in his squadron needed the scarce hours to maintain their flight pay.
Ashore at Guam during a lull in the fighting, the sailors of the USS Almaack started eating coconuts and drinking coconut milk. This caused quite a commotion in the toilet facilities later aboard ship. Sterling Baker relates what one old Chief did to get the line moving, and how someone got revenge.
Hugh Morgan's return home from India was a long voyage across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal and on to England. Finally headed across the Atlantic, a terrific storm caused the Captain to ask for a vote. Should they continue? When they did reach the Statue of Liberty, a wonderful sight greeted them.
After a rough Atlantic crossing, Freeman Barber's armored unit waited in England for deployment to the front. While there, he managed to visit a friend's home for Christmas and drive a tank past Stonehenge. Once underway in France, the record-breaking cold proved was a challenge.
In the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, Roy Reid's B-17 crew flew patrols for several days to ward off further attacks. Eventually, they were sent down to Australia and New Guinea, where they flew mostly photo reconnaissance missions. On the way to Australia, he spotted a Japanese submarine and he still can't believe the pilot's reaction.
On his first combat mission, B-29 radar navigator Dick Almand recalls a vicious crosswind that caused the bombs to miss the target. The squadron commander was on board to observe and he didn't get vexed at that, but what the ground crew discovered when they returned caused some ruckus.
As he crossed first the Moselle River and then the Rhine, Phil Pollock encountered white sheets hanging in the windows of every village. The war was going to come to an end. Before that happened, he got news of a special leave granted to every rifleman by General George Patton. Soon he was on a brand new troop ship eating real eggs.
He was a cannoneer on a Sherman tank crew, in charge of the ammunition and because he was an obstinate survivor, Freeman Barber was also the unofficial forager. Before his unit deployed, he had filled the tank with canned goods from the kitchen. This caused some commotion later.
Charles Commins was already on his way to the ship that would take him home when the news came, Germany had surrendered. Back in the States, he was driving a jeep at an air base when he was told to prepare to leave for India and the Pacific Theater. This called for some serious beer drinking, but the next morning, he discovered the best hangover cure.
The first night in France, the rest of the men were lucky to have Freeman Barber along because the Yankee Boy Scout made a lean-to with a tarp that kept them off the snow. The armored unit was shuffled around in support of different outfits, including the British under Montgomery. As they pushed into Germany, they learned to not ignore the haystacks.