tv [untitled] November 22, 2010 9:30am-10:00am EST
this comes as belgrade is that today for questions from the e.u. commission over its readiness to join the union. up next i was special report takes us to the pacific island of tara law which is still taping with the legacy of want to wildwood scenes spots. in the fall of one thousand nine hundred three america began a major campaign against the japanese defenses in the central pacific over thirty five thousand u.s. marines and naval forces were assembled for an invasion. on nov twentieth america launched an unfair be assault against one of the most heavily fortified japanese islands in the world. tyrone. on board
a higgins landing craft in sin leon cooper who was responsible for the lives of hundreds of men. for the thousands of marines riding to the shores that morning no one could imagine the ferocity of the battle to come or the death and destruction that would soon face. in february of two thousand and eight the young cooper a navy veteran of the tower of babel and a film crew left los angeles on a journey that took sixty five years. to life. it's going to be like an art. but while doing research for my recent book the war in the pacific retrospect. i
happened across an associated press report that said in effect. where hundreds of marines died there are now millions of plastic bags crumpled paper boxes and when i saw that of course. since i had been a party to or a witness to all of the killings that took place i felt especially. the need to do something about this. i was in the home in my parents' apartment building in chicago i remember so well. that the manic announcement. really shook me up as well as practically all of america including all the big shots in washington imagine a tiny country like japan. attacking our pacific fleet then pearl higher bad blood and indeed for all intents and purposes making america the giant
a people mention. the world's most. totally. biased. oh so. nice thought i was. oh law. just to give. you an idea of state. and the only one. was trying it with my brother and no my brother said blame he was trying to decide whether to order me to get out of the country. or are still finding a safer occupation than being in a n.m. country joy it was his thought that i should become an officer rather than i don't face. and of course i had all of the time i bought a good ole pay me officer training program called the seven so i volunteered for
it. within ninety days civilian leon cooper would become navy instantly on cooper and begin training as an interview spot command. tara was a series of coral reef atolls in the go bird island group strategically located halfway between the hawaiian islands in the philippines. the coburg islands had been under the jurisdiction of the british government to december ninth one nine hundred forty one two days after the attack on pearl harbor japanese soldiers came ashore at the governing island that told of tower one and proclaimed it for the emperor. both sides understood incessantly to control islands across the sea. the american commands tactical approach dated back to teddy roosevelt's assessment of world sea diplomacy devised for the late nineteenth century. roosevelt always believed that if the u.s. was to contain japanese expansion they would need to command strategic island bases
across the pacific. the basic strategy first of all i can see for scotland is consider getting an odd he decided the best time for selection for the five states to set up a series calling him a ship to another state a polling station odds are hispanic my mother must accept that looking for something specific to family in fact that it matters for her that. the japanese conscripted over forty one hundred korean slave laborers to build up a show's defenses as well as a small airstrip. they sent in over twenty six hundred crack japanese imperial marines to defender. massive fortifications were built including giant pill boxes some over seven hundred feet in height ten large eight inch gun emplacements field artillery and anti-aircraft guns.
the war in the pacific was commanded by two key figures general douglas macarthur and admiral nimitz. after the japanese lost the battle for guadalcanal in the south pacific macarthur and his troops focused on recapturing new guinea nimitz handled the central pacific region and plans were drawn up to send forces against the japanese strongholds in the gilbert and marshall islands groups mark no one is a u.p.s. pilot in the world war two military historian he heads the nonprofit organization history flights they're working to locate the over seventy eight thousand missing in action from the second world war right way saying here is a good deed to intelligence maps that the u.s. marine corps put together for what they called helen island which was the code name for a base you know a toll in tar island region and they built this very complex map with all of
the different information that they gleaned from a number of overflights from b. twenty four craft taking photographs of the island and it has pictures of all the different machine gun positions and the different types of large caliber weapons that would be used to shoot landing craft that has pictures of the tank traps the roads the airstrip. in june of one nine hundred forty three american recognizance flights discover that base you know had been transformed into a heavily defended outpost that now included a four thousand foot airstrip capable of supporting japanese bombers this dramatically extended their pacific sphere of office. after hearing this news nimitz in the pacific fleet command decided to invade tower. upon his arrival at fiji leone was interviewed by reporters for a fiji sun article on his visit to the nation of care my job was to bring assault
troops in and by boat. during many trips into the red beach. so. a three days of savage or a. top the japanese how to kill more americans. and taught us. how to build more stupid thing. what the hell does that mean. leon's first official meeting with american authorities would be with deputy assistant to the u.s. ambassador in cuba ted me. first of all we're here to meet with the ambassador and his staff ambassador. especially wanted to have. a speak with him before we want to throw up the promise that he would do his best to join us and taro and introduce us to. a president of. the
country that includes taro i say i need my driver's license back maybe to get that i know there's no guarantee and. thanks to ambassador new staff again i feel very confident it will be on the road to achieving something even minimal objectives at least we'll get an action program going underway. with ted man a company leon boarded a jet for the highlight of his journey a return to tower. as the fortifications of base year were told the tower will continue the japanese commander the saki boasted to his troops that one million americans could not take the island in one hundred years. however american naval and marine forces would soon test that place on november twentieth one thousand nine hundred three the united states launched
a major and furious offensive against our. a massive naval bombardment the place starting at dawn. by nine am this wave after wave of marines were launched from the ships the logistics of the battle took a bad turn. the tide is not as deep as what they had projected a project there would be about six to seven feet above the fringing reefs that they would land and there was a lot of confusion between the naval bombardment and they were supposed to cease fire and they were supposed to play near the end aviation detachment of a bomber aircraft and fire craft and bomb the island and there was some confusion and they actually had a cease fire there was about thirty minutes when there was no firing at all and it enabled the japanese to take a lot of their soldiers from the south side of the heavily defended part and move them up to the north side of the aisle. and in doing so they were able to to bring
considerable devastating fire on the marines as they entered the league and. the japanese a kind of defense strategy that covered every inch of the island for him hundreds of marines were killed by the accurate mortar and heavy gunfire at the reefs age many had to disembark offshore and slog through withering machine gun fire dangerous mines and deep bomb craters and hope to make it to shore. among the first waves of many heroes save the day one was a young lieutenant alexander bonnie who rallied his men to push him and be on the pier to the sea wall. after sixty five years leon cooper finally returned to that fateful stretch of sand that had shaped his destiny.
ironically his first encounter at the airport would be descendants of his former odds. i'm i'm from the united states. teleport all bets are. off i was here sixty five years ago. i was a member of the vote that i taxed as a japanese who are here defending this island. and we were not very finally starting to gather. we were wrangling toward each other and a lot of people got killed including over four thousand of your of your your people are you here and i want to honor your country my whole what died in the battle of carolina. they all of a sudden i see things happening. and i feel like. i'm not
really fair and on. the first item of business was for leon and ted to meet with the assistant to the president of cuba but in the hopes that they could access the president of the police releasing the first in the. short list of titles. but if you will to live with this it will please two percent of the ministers despite the fact that because of what happened sixty five years guy had no desire whatsoever to return but after giving a great deal of thought to the matter i felt i could do something that would be of benefit both to the citizens of your country as well as to honor the memory of all those guys. died and a war in a battle that really was the beginning point of the defeat of japan. i had
a small part to play in that victory. and i'm glad i had the opportunity all that time i didn't think very much of my participation and i wanted to be somewhere else. i know that's pretty sure but there are three i recognized from here we all drove to the beach that haunted for many years and we know we came at it from where we came and from here. i know damn well we. i smell the stench of all those bodies running in the sun sills comes back to me. all that stink of guys decomposing. and i came ashore about here. and i know why the bed the beach master as i remember coat motioned to me come on the shore and i was to go to the pier you see
what sticking up there is the remains of the pier i came ashore about here between here and the pier and i crouched behind the sea well. and the chaps were shooting at me from up there some water. they were shooting at me from every angle there was you see they had this whole thing enfiladed and designed sort of that all the approaching boats came in under murderous crossfire so there wasn't any way of getting the call out of the line of fire they were shooting out from here from there and from there every goddamn angle was covered and we own will and stumble right into all this. slaughter. by the end of the day the marine second battalion was holding on to a seventy to three hundred foot stretch of sand and fifteen hundred of the five thousand american to be cheered with the dead who. i'm just.
i can't stand it. look at the look at this sand here i couldn't get anywhere near the sand i was going up on the reef. there was a tank right about here half in the showroom of. gone. we got stuck on the earliest and i went all the guys on my boat i think i remember saying let's go i left both and i said no because i knew these guys would have grown because we were over a hundred yards from sand and they would have gone with their have a packs not that this happened i don't know i think i did i think i had knowledge say in the boat they were trying to climb out of the boat while the japs were shooting i. had style and we found that access through the reef and that's when
i landed these guys on the piece happened i don't know i don't know i think i did i think i. however despite the heavy casualties for the disaster was averted a coordinated japanese counterattack might have overrun the exhaust reads but there was no communication from the japanese command bunker the japanese admiral in charge of shivah saki decided to move his headquarters from this area to the south part of the island and when they were doing that they went outside of their bunker and a five and shell exploded right near them and killed them all and in doing that in losing their tactical commander on the first day of the battle the japanese did not mount as counterattack in the night which potentially could have driven the marines right off the island. i've had my moment of.
let's go take a look at those eight inch. the legacy of the battle is still scattered across the sands of base yo to this day the island is covered with the rusting remains of several of the big guns including the eight inch emplacements. tanks heavily fortified pill boxes and the command post. the second day of the invasion was a precarious one for the american whose although they had secured two small beaches the marines still had to fight inch by inch toward the airfield that bisected the island. after waiting nearly twenty hours in their boats the first battalion eighth marines attempted to land ashore almost half of them never made it to the beach a large number of the all the kids were knocked out of action in the first day and after that they had to use primarily hagan's beds in the higgins boats were
dropping the marines off at the fringing reef because they couldn't make it all after the island and the marines had to go about seven hundred yards across a title flat and in doing so they were basically wading through waist deep water all along this area from red beach three to in one into the face of tremendous japanese fire. the battle had many own some heroes in the midst of the landings a young naval officer was on board a higgins boat in the horrible calmly rescuing routed marines from the water while several enemy machine gunners tried to knock him out. that young lieutenant j.g. was a you know brute and he was a rising hollywood actor before in this thing in the navy he had stored in several movies and with major headline television shows including the popular series green acres i was sitting out there with a bunch of brains and one of them then who the fuck is that somebody asked me and i said i don't know what's legal and maybe guy of some kind and that guy's been up
there for the last fifteen twenty minutes and the japs are shooting at him and he's hauling guys out of the water i said this guy is either brave or stupid or both and but he kept doing it tony made several trips back each time with a boat load of went wonder one hundred marines going back to the transport ship for medical treatment with these guys. that he saved the lives of nearly seventy marines that day. and i got to know a number of the medical doctors we had eight as there are member aboard. and the senior medical officer of an old guy in a chance conversation i want to know what his specialty was he said that my gynecologist and not seeing the may to be about as absurd a thing as i could imagine i said you know just possibly any one of us might be pregnant he says i'll take care of you. but there was another guy among the eight he also and a chance higher chance conversation i want to know what his specialty was he's
a path just by training and i said you're a natural for this you can be sure and take care of all of us so the medical doctors on my ship as well as on the number of other transports there took care of these guys i remodeled remember distinctly on my many trips carrying the wounded back to my ship for medical treatment one of them died but how many others died you can only guess what were these guys able to deal with trauma with war won't i doubt it. despite the initial casualties at the beach heavy naval bombardments helped to turn the tide. who tended alexander bottom and rallied his marines and singlehandedly launched a major assault on a large bunker filled with over one hundred fifty japanese defenders during the course of the skirmish he was mortally wounded. the marines finally worked their
way inland and began to push the japanese defenders back to the airfield. just behind the rusting giant eight inch guns that protected the shore leon was shocked by what he saw. al i'm pointing to what seems to me the very symbol of every word thing that represents the need and they reason for my trip they say we are surrounded by garbage everywhere but also there are. on this beach which of course is the most appropriate signification a symbol of everything that's wrong with our goddamn government allowing not only garbage but to accumulate where so many guys died. shows that so much of the same you're going to make it to
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