This picture was taken on the island of Guam.
The men you see make up two machine gun squads. Every man in this picture was either killed or wounded before World Two ended, except for the small muscular man on the left. He was the squad leader. He was my father.
Each squad was made up of seven men. There are thirteen men in the picture. The fourteenth man was taking the picture. He was also the squad leader of six of these men. These two squads worked closely together on Guam. That is evident in their body posture.
The night before they set an ambush at an advantageous spot on Harmon Road. The Japanese that had not yet been killed, captured, or surrendered, were completely surrounded and out numbered. The Marines knew some of them would try to break through during the upcoming night. That’s what they would have done.
At one thirty a.m. the squads were in place on ridges over looking Harmon road. One squad on one side and one squad on the other side. Harmon Road made a big turn just below them and then began up hill. The Japanese faced a blind spot at the bend and the Marines waited until they were close enough, and the bazooka knocked the tank off it’s tracks.
The Americans didn’t really have a hand held weapon that would destroy a tank. That’s why they had to wait until they were perilously close to begin the attack.
Once the bazooka was fired, the two machine guns opened up. My father fired one, and the other squad leader fired the other. Since the bazooka didn’t kill everyone in the tanks, soldiers began to climb out and flee. The machines guns killed everyone of them and the dozen or two foot soldiers who accompanied them.
If you read my last post you can at least try, to begin to imagine and understand, how young men from all walks of life morphed from boys to Warrior Men. They saved our Country.
These guys ran, from water craft under fire, and took this Island from the Japanese. This was no small feat, since the Japanese were formidable adversaries and well prepared. It was one of the last times they would try to defend against the American forces and their Allies head on. After this they would move inland to defend their territory, and build tunnels and bunkers and even remodel tombs to force their enemy pay a terrible price for victory.
You thought the Vietnamese invented that, didn’t you.
I don’t know for sure, but I believe this picture was taken the day after they took total control of Guam.
This story is not fiction. My father never talked about it, but I interviewed survivors, and the story is mentioned in at least two books I have. I even met the bazooka man at a Marine Raider reunion in Nashville Tennessee.
I was looking at a table of Raider souvenirs, when this great big Sioux Indian from Kentucky pulled out a picture of a heavily damaged Tank that he shot on Guam. He was telling everyone, about how once he shot the tank, the Japs, [ that’s how they talked, and I’m not going to try to be politically correct. I’d rather be factual}, began to jump out of the tank and run for their lives and the machine guns began to mow them down.
I interrupted him at that point and confirmed that he did this on Harmon Road. I then told him that my father was one of the machine gunners doing the shooting. He remembered my father well, as did a lot of the men at those reunions. He filled in a lot of gaps for me, and since dad was gone by then, it was moving to talk to men who knew him and fought beside him.
I learned a lot that day.