tv [untitled] November 23, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
weeks to find out whether the country's soldiers listeners in iraq after being denied any information by nato and the u.s. . that visits to the tiny yet largely forgotten pacific island of tora wa is the ricin resting place for hundreds of u.s. marines who is wartime sacrifice is slipping from people's memory. 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 november twentieth america launched in the salt against one of the most heavily fortified japanese
islands in the world. tyrone. on board a higgins landing craft instantly on cooper 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 it 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. still might. be looked. on. while doing research for my recent book
the war in the pacific of retrospective i happened across a 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 have been a party to. our witness to all of the killings that took place i felt a special way. and i need to do something about this. i was. in my parents' apartment building in chicago remember soul well. that the manic announcement. really shook me up as was practically all. america including all the big shots in washington imagine a tiny country like japan. attracting our pacific fleet confirm her
but indeed roland tresham purpose is making america the giants a people major. world. but i just. also live. life fully was. a lot. close to the united states. the phone rang it was my brother and my brother said. he was trying to decide whether to order me to get out of the country. or to find a safer occupation than being him an infantry man showing it was his thought that i could become an officer around and i don't face and of course i had known of the time i bought
a. navy officers training program called b seven so either volunteered for it. within ninety days civilian leon cooper would become navy ensign the odd cooper and begin training as an infamous boat commander. tarot was a series of coral reef atolls in the gold island group strategically located halfway between the hawaiian islands in the philippines. the goldberg 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 bay sheo the governing island atoll of towers and proclaimed it for the emperor. both sides understood the necessity to control islands across the pacific . the american commands tactical approach dated back to teddy roosevelt's assessment of world sea diplomacy devised for the late one thousand 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 and worst of all i can tell you for a spotless record if. i decided to mess up our selection for the five states are set up here to call a. partnership and holiday a polling station odds are mosque no mindless separate plan put the stumbling block to family in fact that a manuscript for 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 pillboxes 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 atoll and the 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 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 the 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 us all troops in and by boat. during many trips into the red beach. so. a three days of savage or a. top of the japanese how to kill more americans. and taught us. how to kill more stupid thing. what the hell is that me. leone's first official meeting with american authorities would be with deputy assistant to the u.s. ambassador in cuba ted may. first of all we're here to meet with the ambassador and 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. the president of. the country that includes taro i say i leave my driver's license but maybe get that i know there's no guarantee of. a sanctuary in bass or in a staff again i feel very confident it will be on the road to achieving something even the minimal objectives at least we'll get an action program going under way. 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 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 reef 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 fire craft 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 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. 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 saved the day one was a young lieutenant alexander bonnie who really does 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 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 group 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 live here and want to honor your country manhole 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 at all. 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 in 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 a 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 short but there are three i recognized from here and drove to the beach that haunted for many years and we know we came in from here we came and from here. i know damn well we. 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's 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 cheated 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 sharman. gone. we got stuck in the relief and i went all the guys on my boat i think i remember they left and i left both and i said no because i knew these guys would have drowned because we were over a hundred yards from the sand and they would have gone with their have a packs not that this happened i don't know i think i said i think i said knowledge say in the boat they were trying to climb out of the boat while the japs were
shooting i. had diver 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 and i think i did. however despite the heavy casualties of the disaster was. a coordinated japanese counterattack might have overrun the exhaust reeds 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 mess around 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 bases 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 tow boxes and the command post. the second day of the invasion was a precarious one for the american news although they had secured two small beaches the marines still had to fight inch by inch to 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 hagans boats were dropping the marines off at the fringing reef because they couldn't make it although 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 and one in the face of tremendous japanese fire. the battle had many unsung 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 eddie 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 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 have a look so he's a little a navy guy of some kind and that guy's been out 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 a thing as i could imagine i said you know just possibly any one of us might be prayed and 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 a 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 diag you can only guess but were these guys able to deal with trauma with war warnes i doubt it. despite the initial casualties at the beach heavy naval bombardments helped to turn the tide. who tended alexander bonamy 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 this 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 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 and a symbol of everything that's wrong with our goddamn government allowing not only garbage but to accumulate where so many guys died.
culture is that so much of the divinity there is a huge reason to share that knowledge and mine are right on the mark when the plane the blame game and where to go from here he was led tried to find a final peace settlement among the palestinians and israelis. sweet and clean. salty and very useful. the radioactive and dangerous. and even the dead and desolate. they all keep their unique secrets and their bottoms unique
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