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U.S. Army
This week Wednesday Hero is honoring eight Men who were awarded the Medal Of Honor during the Battle of Peleliu, a bloody fight that took place between September – November of 1944 in which nearly 2,000 Marines and Soldiers were killed and another 8,000+ were wounded or went missing.

“…The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September–November 1944 on the island of Peleliu, present-day Palau. U.S. Marines of the First Marine Division and later soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 81st Infantry Division, fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island. This battle was part of a larger offensive campaign known as Operation Forager which ran from June 1944 to November 1944 in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Major General William Rupertus, USMC—commander of 1st Marine Division—predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan’s well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. In the United States, it was a controversial battle because of the island’s questionable strategic value and the high casualty rate, which was the highest for U.S. military personnel of any battle in the Pacific War…”

The eight MOH recipients were:

Corporal Lewis K. Bausell, 1st Battalion 5th Marines
Private First Class Arthur J. Jackson, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines
Private First Class Richard E. Kraus, 8th Amphibian Tractor Battalion
Private First Class John D. New, 2nd Battalion 7th Marines
Private First Class Wesley Phelps, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines
Captain Everett P. Pope, USMC, 1st Battalion 1st Marines
Private First Class Charles H. Roan, 2nd Battalion 7th Marines
First Lieutenant Carlton R. Rouh, 1st Battalion 5th Marines

“…The reduction of the Japanese pocket around Umurbrogol mountain is considered to be the most difficult fight that the U.S. military encountered in the entire Second World War. The 1st Marine Division was severely mauled and it remained out of action until the invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945. In total, the 1st Marine Division suffered over 6,500 casualties during their month on Peleliu, over ⅓ of their entire division. The 81st Infantry Division suffered nearly 3,300 casualties during their tenure on the island.

The battle was controversial due to the island’s lack of strategic value. The airfield captured on Peleliu was of little use for the attack on the Philippines. The island was never used for a staging operation in subsequent invasions; the Ulithi Atoll, in the Caroline Islands north of the Palaus, was used as a staging base for the invasion of Okinawa. In addition, few news reports were made on the battle. Due to Rupertus’ “3 days” prediction, only six reporters bothered coming ashore. The battle was overshadowed by MacArthur’s return to the Philippines and the Allies’ push towards Germany in Europe.

The battles for Angaur and Peleliu showed Americans the pattern of future Japanese island defense which would be seen again at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Naval bombardment prior to amphibious assault at Iwo Jima was only slightly more effective than at Peleliu, but at Okinawa the preliminary shelling was superb.Frogmen performing underwater demolition at Iwo Jima confused the enemy by sweeping both coasts, but later alerted Japanese defenders to the exact assault beaches at Okinawa. American ground forces at Peleliu gained experience in assaulting heavily fortified positions such as they would find again at Okinawa.

On the recommendation of Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., the planned occupation of Yap Island in the Caroline islands was canceled. Halsey actually recommended that the landings on Peleliu and Angaur be canceled, too, and their Marines and soldiers be thrown into Leyte Island instead, but was overruled by Nimitz….”

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Michael

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

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5 Comments

  • jose maria says:

    A very inspiring post! My oldest brother, who was in the Navy, participated in the battles in the Marshalls and the Carolines. He served as a coxswain, who brought the marines to shore. He was engaged in quite a few initial landings. In 1944 he served aboard the USS Neshoba and participated in the initial landing at the Battle of Okinawa. He and many others joined forces to participate in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. As young as I was at the time these events took place, I realized that there was something special about these men and that there would never be anyone like them again. I hope their names and deed will never die.

  • SJ Reidhead says:

    My father was in the Merchant Marines, in that area. He has some wild stories.

    SJR

  • jose maria says:

    Write them down if you can. Do not let them be forgotten.

  • SJ Reidhead says:

    I have his old letters, letters to his misc. girlfriends, and there were quite a few, all the old photos, letters home, and letters to him. I’ve wanted to put them into a book, but have never managed to get around to it. He’s told us so many stories! I’m still finding his old letters, one of the reasons I’ve not started the book.

    SJR

  • jose maria says:

    The Merchant Marines have been the forgotten heroes of World War II.


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