An excerpt from “Kurofune: The Black Ships.” Click on the link above for more information about this story. You can get it through Amazon or through Munro Books in Victoria, BC.
An excerpt from my book Kurofune: The Black Ships. You can get it on Amazon or from Munro’s Books in Victoria:
It was a long way from Bremerton, Ted thought, while transiting the channel into the outer reaches of Tarawa Lagoon in the Higgin’s Boat toward the departure and marshaling area. Looking at the other Marines, Ted couldn’t help but be amazed at how far he and the others had come in just a few months. How their worlds had changed. From the relative peaceful backwater of the Puget Sound, to the Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, San Diego, for Boot Camp; followed by Corp training at Camp Pendleton, additional amphibious Operational training in Hawaii, then reassignment to the 2nd Division. Finally, embarkation in USS President Jackson, a Troop Transport, and subsequent arrival in Wellington New Zealand to prepare for future operations with the 2nd Marine Division. Ted remained a regular infantryman of the 1st Battalion, 2nd regiment; Lou specialized in communications as a TBY radio operator and Jonathon qualified as a marksman / sniper. Jonathon had his own tailored Browning automatic that he held and coddled like a baby. The rest of them had the standard issue M1 8 round Automatic Rifle, a Marine’s best friend.
“Who is the King of glory? Why now Jeremiah is, of course” Jonathon would taunt, rubbing the stock of his carbine as gently as if it was a baby’s bottom!
“The LORD is strong and mighty! With Jeremiah? Of course he is!” He continued.
And as a last thought:
“The LORD will be mighty in battle, Lord Praise Jeremiah” Jonathon would mutter as he cleaned his “Jeremiah,” as he affectionately called his carbine.
“Whoa,” was about all Lou could say, shaking his head. “Heaven help us”
The swells and the sea were playing havoc on the Marine’s sense and sensibilities throwing them around the boat like loose corks left in the water during a storm. Just about everyone was retching now, except the Reverend. The noise form the bombardment was ear shattering. The earth seemed to open up disemboweling hell’s wrath onto the small landing craft. As they got closer and closer to the departure point the concussions from the shells of the big guns became more and more pronounced and intense. Small bursts of small arms fire could now be heard in between the thud, thud, thump impacts of the 14 inch shells on the island. Some of the men in the boat began crying, calling on their own God, or reaching out for their mothers who were never there. The Squad Leader did his best to address their fears. Fears yes but they had yet to come into the maximum effective rage and death envelope of the island’s defenders.
“You’re Marines men, steady. Steady. Remember your training. We’ll get through this”
Ted was silent. He just stood there observing what was going on. He felt a nervous twitch and strong pull deep down in his gut but for the most part he was not as afraid as he thought he’d be. For a brief moment the Squad Commander and Ted’s eyes met and locked. Ted could see the anxiety and concern on his superior’s face but at the same time acknowledged his calmness and forth righteousness among the chaos and the men around him. Cool under pressure. Ted wondered how he was going to react. His thoughts came back to that last discussion with Father Doherty as he looked around the interior of his Higgins Boat at the other Marines.
“I can’t answer that Ted. I can only say that He has some sort of plan for all of us. What that is I can’t really say. Some will die, yes, a given, a fact of war, while others will come through all of this unscathed, for some other purpose perhaps, for another day. You just have to trust in God that he knows what is best for you – be it death in defending your country, saving a fellow marine, defending your homeland, freedom, or life for some other purpose that may or may not be so clear to any of us until left in the wake of this war.”
Can I do this? He thought. He quickly put those thoughts to rest. Ted gave his Squad leader a short two finger salute as an acknowledgement that he respected him and that he had his back if need be.
All at once the small arms fire got a bit louder and more intense. At the same time the shore bombardment ceased. It was 0900. There was stillness in the air that was surreal given the intensity of the chaos of the last three hours. All that could be heard is the odd short rat a tat tat sound of light machine gun fire coming from the area of the beach. The odd ricochet or whizzing, whirling sound of stray or random bullets could also be heard.
The Few, The Proud
Have a great day.