Captain Dye's Blog
These are all the Blogs posted in August, 2007.
Saturday, 25
Week 2: Ashore on The Canal and Hunting
It's hot and muggy here in tropical North Queensland just as it was on Guadalcanal back in August 1942. We've managed to sweat our way through a second week of filming on this epic and are just about to begin night shoots. That's grueling on everyone, but a glance up at the night sky to see the Southern Cross hanging over us just as it did over the men who fought on the awful island during World War II is an inspiration. So far we have been running unopposed patrols out of the beachhead perimeter established to defend against a Japanese counter-landing. In a couple of story-days, General Vandegrift will realize the real threat to Henderson Field will come from the jungle at his rear and re-orient the Division perimeter. At that point we will stage the infamous Alligator Creek fight along the Tenaru River and see the devastation that can be wrought by heavy machineguns with inter-locking fields of fire backed by good mortar crews and 37mm anti-tank cannons firing canister rounds. The 900-man Ichiki Force is out there in our jungle somewhere and they plan to hit the 1st Marines sector along Alligator Creek. We've read about it, we've studied it, we've rehearsed it and this week we are going to re-fight it. Our production and set designers have done a masterful job re-creating the area up to and including the shot out LVT-1 AmTrac that was nosed into the creek on the night that the fight happened. The sand bar where most of the attacking Japanese died and piled up likes stalks of chopped wheat is also there. Sitting behind the sights of an M-1917A1 water-cooled machinegun or looking over the splatter shield of a 37mm cannon, it's not hard to believe you are actually on Guadalcanal at that moment in time. And at night, under flare-light, it's even spookier. More from the battlefront next week. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 12:16 AM / Category:The Pacific War
Saturday, 18
Week 1: Done and Dusted
With the help of a solid team of enthusiastic, professional filmmakers, we've managed to complete the first week of filming on the Guadalcanal phase of our Pacific War mission for HBO. Our Warriors Inc. Cadre is still snapping the unit into proper shape but our company of young actors and volunteers is over the post-Boot Camp slump and into the battle with spirit and swagger. In this episode we are primarily focused on PFC Robert Leckie (H-2-1 on Guadalcanal and author of Helmet for My Pillow) and actor James Badge Dale is bringing him to life with respect and gusto. I think Leckie would be proud and pleased if he were still alive to see this. I had a few General A.A. Vandegrift moments this week when we brought five period LCVPs ashore in an assault line and watched the bow ramps splash down to disgorge about 200 World War Leathernecks. What a rush something like that is for an old Marine warhorse! We now have plans to send periodic status and progress reports to the current CG of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton to let him know the history and heritage of his division is being brought to life with care and with as much attention to detail as possible. That seems an appropriate thing to do, as we want the Corps in general and the 1st MarDiv in particular to be proud of the finished product. Next week we begin filming the infamous fight at Alligator Creek along Guadalcanal's Tenaru River. Stand by for more from the battlefront. Semper Fidelis!.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 1:50 AM / Category:The Pacific War
Friday, 10
Our two-week period of intense field training - commonly but inaccurately called Boot Camp - is over and we have managed to field a unit of performers and volunteers who have the exciting look, feel and spirit of World War II era U.S. Marines. We worked day and night in a heavy jungle environment near Daintree in Tropical North Queensland managing to survive and thrive on an average of only three (mostly uninterrupted) hours of sleep among the snakes, spiders, stinging plants and bunker rats that populate the area. Providing nighttime interruptions and stiff resistance to all of our field excursions was a platoon of local Japanese volunteers under the leadership of Warriors Inc. Lt. Brad Hartsell (a WW II IJA expert) with Sgts. Izumihara and Nagashima who turned our honorable enemy into serious Imperial Japanese Army soldiers. During training phase we organized and operated as a Marine Heavy Weapons Company as most of our main characters (Basilone, Leckie and Sledge) were 1st MarDiv heavy weapons Marines. We mastered employment of such weapons as the M2 37mm infantry AT cannon, M1917A1 water-cooled machineguns and 81mm and 60mm mortars as well as all the individual weapons of the period. The field phase of our training culminated with an attack on a Japanese fortified position on a jungle mountaintop and an opposed beach landing from the Coral Sea via LVT-4s and LCVPs (Higgins Boats). We survived and thrived with only one man lost to light duty and another who required medical evacuation from the field. Now we are into the attack phase of the mission and beginning to get the early history of the Division on film as we start our saga with Guadalcanal in August 1942. It's genuine magic for those of us who served with the 1st Marine Division in later periods to gaze up at the star-studded Australian night sky and spot the Southern Cross that is featured so prominently on our division insignia. Stand by for more from the battle front. Semper Fidelis!
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 11:29 PM / Category:The Pacific War
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