tv [untitled] November 22, 2010 9:30pm-10:00pm EST
the largest american of all time offensives in the pacific they battle of terror out. in the fall of one nine hundred forty 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. the 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 ensign 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 and navy veteran of the towers. and a film crew left los angeles on a journey that took sixty five years. to. be. on. while doing research for my recent book the war in the pacific of retrospect. i happened across a not so she had to press a 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. or a witness to all of the killings that took place i felt especially. in the need to do something about this. i was in a home in my parents' apartment building in chicago i remember soul well. that dramatic announcement. really shook me up as was practically all of america including all the big shots in washington i magine a tiny country like japan. attacking. our pacific fleet and pearl harbor but and indeed for all intents and purposes of making america the giant a people mention. of the world all.
night. oh. but. still. and the only. am i trying to live my brother and know of my brother said blame he was trying to decide whether to order me to get out of the country it's. hard to find a safer occupation than being in a and m. country so all i had 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 peace about it so i volunteered for it. within ninety days civilian leon cooper would become navy instantly on group and begin training as an in phoebe's boat command. tarot was
a series of coral reef atolls in the gilbert island group strategically located halfway between the quien islands in the philippines. the covert 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 base governing island that told tara and proclaim that for the emperor. both sides understood the incessant need 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 tell you for a spotless record anything and hockey decided the best time for selection
for the dive stakes are set up a series calling him all his shit and hosting a polling station odds are hispanic my mother must accept that looking for something specific to family and that that madness 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 cracked 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 of 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 tara wall 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
different and 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 show 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 over. 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. the three days of savage are
a. top of the japanese how to kill more americans. and taught us. how to build more stupid thing. what the hell is that me. leone's first official meeting with american authorities would be with deputy assistant to the us ambassador in cuba ted may. first of all we're here to meet with the ambassador and his staff ambassador. especially wanted to have. us meet with him before we want to travel he promised he would do his best to join us and taro and introduce us to. a president of. a country that includes taro i say i leave my grammar's license but maybe get that i know there's no guarantee of. a sanctuary ambassador in
a 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 of 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 terror. 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 they were supposed to cease fire and they were supposed to be an aviation detachment of a bomber aircraft and fighter aircraft to 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 in. the japanese a kind of defense strategy that covered every inch of the island from hundreds of
marines were killed by the accurate mortar and heavy gunfire at the reefs edge 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 grow it is meant 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 adversaries. i'm i'm from the united states. for all bets are. off i will share sixty five years ago. i was a member of the votes that are taxed as a japanese who are here defending the dialer. and we were not very finally starting to gather. we were angry toward each other and a lot of people got killed including over four thousand of your of your your people are you live here and want to honor your country man what died in the battle of carolina. they also said and i see things happening. and i feel like. i'm not really fair at all. the first item of business was for leon and ted to meet
with the assistant to the president of cuba bought in the hopes that they could access the president of the police releasing the first in the. short list of titles. but if you unable to live with the person with the least two percent to 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. who 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 i wanted to be somewhere
else. i know that's pretty short but there are three i recognize her from here drove to the beach that haunted for many years and we know we came in from where we came and from here. i know damn well we could. 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 somewhere. they were shooting at me from every angle there was you see they had this whole thing inflated and designed so that all the approaching boats came in under murderous crossfire so there wasn't any wood getting them out of the line of fire they were shooting at from here from there and from there every goddam 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 sherman tank. gone. we got stuck in the early am i were the only guys on my boat i think i remember saying i was going 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 heavy packs did this happen i don't know i think i did i think i had no say in the boat they were trying to climb out of the boat by ledge after shooting out of. starboard and we found that access through the reef and that's when i landed these guys on the beach happened i don't know i don't know i think i did i think right.
now over despite the heavy casualties a further disaster was averted a coordinated japanese counterattack might have overrun the exhaust arena but there was no communication from the japanese command and the japanese have known charge a ship a saki and 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 in a five inch 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 amount to counterattack in the night which potentially could have driven the marines right off of the island. i've had my moment of the song. let's go take a look at those eight inch. the legacy of the battle is still scattered across the sands of base. 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 tidal flat and in doing so they were basically wading through waist deep water
all along this area from red beach three to and 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 wounded marines from the water while several enemy machine gunners tried to knock him out. that young lieutenant j.g. was a yogurt and he was a rising hollywood actor before in this thing in the vein he had stored in several movies and with major headline television shows including the popular series green acres i was sitting on 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 it's an easel and maybe a guy of some kind and that guy's been up there for the last fifteen twenty minutes in 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 wonderbra one hundred marines going back to the transport ship for medical treatment with these guys. and 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 a 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 as thing is 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 ologist 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 by how many others died you can only guess what were these guys able to deal with trauma with war warne's 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 marine and singlehandedly launched a major assault on a large bunker filled with over one hundred fifty japanese defended. 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. i'm pointing to what seems to me a very symbol of every 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 and a symbol of everything that's wrong with our goddamn government allowing not only garbage but to accumulate where so many guys died. bringing you the latest in science and technology from the realms. of the future covered.
sweet and clean. salty and very useful. radioactive and dangerous. and even dead and desolate. they all keep their unique secrets of their bottoms unique lakes on our team. if. russia would be soon which brightened if you want to bounce someone from phones to freshen is. nice for instance on t.v. don't come.
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