Captain Dye's Blog
These are all the Blogs posted in September, 2007.
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Saturday, 29
Week 7: The Time Machine Takes Charge
The 1st MarDiv has left Pavuvu and you won't hear much bitching about that. We'll return to the Russell Islands and tropical Pavuvu one more time between the finish of the Peleliu campaign and the start of the assault on Okinawa but for now we are in the hands of the Movie Magic Time Machine and heading back to the Solomons and New Britain areas of the Pacific Theater. The pressure is on us here in Australia as it was on our heroes back in the bloody days of World War II, so we are now going to run two -- count 'em two -- separate and simultaneous shooting units to explore the last half of the Division's epic campaign on Guadalcanal as well as the grueling rain, mud and blood soaked battle of Cape Gloucester. I'll handle the sequences dealing with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines' defense of Henderson Field in late October 1942 to the relief of the Division by elements of the U.S. Army's 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division while Warriors XO Mike Stokey will break out his rain gear and go with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines to Cape Gloucester in late 1943. He's got the short-handled shovel on this one. We fully intend to show how the weather and inhospitable terrain on Cape Gloucester quickly became as much of an enemy as the Japanese who held that island and it's vital airbase. Mike and his 2/1 Marines including PFC Robert Leckie will be up to their eyeballs in rain and up to their elbows in mud for the entire campaign during which the Division fought under control of the 6th Army in efforts to isolate the main Japanese bastion at Rabaul in the Solomons. Meanwhile, I'll be back on Guadalcanal with Chesty Puller's 1/7 stretched dangerously thin across the high ground south of Henderson Field and facing the Japanese Sendai Division committed to kicking us out of the Solomons. During these sequences we'll see a lot of Chesty and spend most of the combat time with Manila John Basilone and his gunners so it's back to M1917 water-cooled machineguns and M1903 rifles for my Marines. We'll see the action on the night of 23 October 1942 that resulted in the Medal of Honor for Platoon Sergeant Basilone and stay with the Division until it leaves Guadalcanal for Melbourne, a fondly remembered respite that will be covered in Episode 3 of the series. We continue the attack. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 6:25 PM / Category:The Pacific War
Saturday, 22
Week 6: The vacation paradise of Pavuvu
In some of the most spectacular and stirring sequences I have ever seen put on film, we landed on the Orange and White Beaches of Peleliu last week. Much of what I saw on those bitterly opposed landing operations looked just like the still and motion picture images that we have seen from Peleliu back in 1944. It was as vivid and deadly as the stuff we see in the old Movietone newsreels. The next step is to follow our Marines as they begin the brutal slugging matches involved in digging the fanatical Japanese defenders out of their holes and caves in the Umurbrogol massif, but that won't happen just yet. We are saving that for a separate episode of the series and moving on to Pavuvu in the Russell Islands where the 1st MarDiv was sent to rest and re-train after the Cape Gloucester/New Britain campaign. Pavuvu - as any veteran who was plopped down there during World War II will tell you - was hardly a vacation paradise. The place was infested with bothersome insects, land crabs and rats and it reeked of rotting coconuts. The entire Division spent months on that cruddy island where there was barely room enough to exercise and accommodate a regiment. We'll present a portrait of what conditions on Pavuvu must have been like and spend some time dealing with the life and times of veterans like PFC Robert Leckie as well as fresh replacements joining the Division such as PFC Eugene Sledge. The intent is to show how the vets coped after their experiences on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester and the new men adjusted with the Division on alert for the next combat operation in the Palaus. Once we've done that, our movie magic time machine will take us back two years to Guadalcanal where we'll fight alongside Platoon Sergeant Manila John Basilone and his machinegunners in the battle for Bloody Ridge. Monitor this space for more soonest. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 10:43 PM / Category:The Pacific War
Monday, 17
Week 5: Orange Beach 3 in sight! Land the Landing Force
We have all re-rigged our 782 gear, added brown-side-out camouflage helmet covers and blanket rolls to become 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines for the Peleliu invasion which took place in September 1944, 63 years ago almost to the day. Late last week, we loaded up PFC Eugene Sledge and the other members of his 60mm mortar squad into an LVT-4, putting them to sea for our cameras to catch the pre-invasion jitters just before they hit the beach on the main allied target in the Palau Islands. On Monday we put the first wave of Marines ashore and will bring Sledge and the rest of the second wave onto the bloody sands later in the week. We will spend the whole time on the beach under the blazing guns of the Japanese defenders manning coral and rock bastions in our version of the Umurbrogol Hills. We'll stay with 3/5 for most of the time in the landing sequences but PFC Leckie and his fellow Marines from 2/1 will also be seen landing on White Beach to the north of the 5th Marines' sector in some scenes. And Leckie has been reassigned. He's now out of machineguns and serving as a scout with B-2 (Battalion Intelligence Section) where he will serve out the remainder of his combat tour in the Pacific. These Peleliu episodes will be particularly involving and emotional for me. I've spent a lot of time on Peleliu and crawled all over those hills and caves, so I know what those Marines must have gone through in trying to wrest them away from determined and fanatical Japanese defenders. Major General Rupertus, CG 1st MarDiv on Peleliu, predicted a bloody but brief fight in the Palaus. He was right about the first element and dead wrong about the other. It was one of the Division's most extended and grueling island campaigns during World War II. We fully intend to show the unmerciful, unrelenting nature of that combat campaign with very few punches pulled. Monitor this frequency for more from the embattled beaches. Semper Fidelis!
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 4:23 AM / Category:The Pacific War
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