Into the Island of Hell
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Report to your amphibious vehicle!”
“Hey, has anyone seen my stuff?!” The entire interior of the assault ship is lined with LVTs and Marines, reeking with cigars and fumes. I find my LVT, which is second in line, and walk on board.
“Marines! When he hit the beach, move up as much as possible!” cries out Second Lieutenant Crimson. Everyone inside the LVT responds, “Aye sir!” I lean my backpack on the side of the armored boat, when the bell starts wailing. The ramp on the LVT closes shut. Everyone looks up at the twisting red light as the large door ahead creaks open. All engines roar to life, and spew out more fumes inside the dark room. I hear a Marine shouting in the background very dimly, “Here we go, boys!” I poke my head over the front end of the vehicle, watching the bright sunlight enter the ship. The LVT in front moves first, then disappearing into the ocean.
“Okay boys! This is it!” cries Lieutenant Crimson. Our LVT moves next. Two Marines standing above us in the front holding .50 caliber machine gun turrets stumble a little as our vehicle jumps. I turn next to a Marine, holding his M1 Garand tightly in his red hands. I can tell he’s scared. We’re all scared. This is our first time fighting against Japs. I raise my head over the front end as we slowly roll closer to the ramp. Suddenly, we drop incredibly fast down a short ramp and into water. We rock back and forth violently, making us seasick. Water splashes over the metal barrier and on top of my helmet. It’s not as cold as I would expect.
“There they go!” Everyone looks up, and spots F4U fighters flying overhead. Just downrange is an island filled with smoke and fire.
“Navy’s bombed the shit outta’ them Japs for three days straight!” Sergeant Riley shouted. “We’ll be able to secure the island within three days!” I turn my head over to the right, and spot an entire wave of LVTs moving along with us. Behind are rows of battleships constantly firing their guns over at the island.
“First Marine Division already hit shore and countered some resistance!” cries the Lieutenant. “Earlen, if we hit heavy fire, you provide as much cover with your B-A-R!” I nod my head. “Aye sir!”
“Incoming!!” The water suddenly takes hits from mortars. The LVT rocks even more violently. I try to hold in the food in my stomach. Then, one of the Marines throws up.
“Keep you sea legs!” shouts the Lieutenant. “We’re almost at shore!” I poke my head over the edge again, watching the mortars strike the water. An LVT right next to us takes a critical hit. Bodies fly out with parts torn off. Fire erupts inside the torn LVT, before sinking below the waves. I quickly duck back under and yell, “LVT is hit!”
“Keep you head down!” Lieutenant Crimson calls. One of the gunners up front turns around, “One minute! God be with you!”
“Holy shit! Look at the ridge!” screams Sergeant Riley. Everyone lifts up their heads to a set of mountains around the island. “Corsair inbound!” A fighter suddenly appears through the thick smoke just a few meters above the sea. It swoops down and knocks off two LVTs right in front of us like a train wreck.
“What the hell?!” cried Riley. “Was that one of ours?!” Lieutenant Crimson replies back, “Shit! We got anti-aircraft fire! Up on the ridge! Try and stay on it!”
“Aye sir!” yelled all of us.
“Twenty seconds!” calls the driver. I poke my head over the front edge between the two turret gunners. I can see US Marines the size of ants lying on shore covering the entire beach while hidden Japanese guns pin them down.
“Earlen, keep your head down!” Crimson pushes me down. One turret gunner calls, “Ten seconds! Get ready!” The two gunners cock up the .50 caliber machine guns, and open fire. In a split second, bullets start flying everywhere above our heads. We quickly duck our heads below the barrier. One bullet scrapes the edge just inches from my helmet.
“Jesus, how many Japs are there?!”
“Quite a lot, soldier!” The LVT runs ground. I can feel the rough corral scraping beneath my feet as the vehicle moves up on the beach. We roll up on the beach while bullets fly in all directions. Then, we stop. Lieutenant Crimson calls out, “Let’s do it!” Everyone starts climbing over the edge. I watch Sergeant Riley jump over, but a bullet strikes him on in the head. His helmet flies off along with blood and other parts, and falls on the beach.
“Oh shit!” cries a Marine. Lieutenant Crimson grabs me by my gear, and throws me over the edge. “Get off the vehicle! On the beach!” I drop hard on the beach with my BAR on my chest. Mortars bombard the ground like an earthquake, and shred Marines into pieces. One Marine charges ahead, but a mortar comes down and sends him flying in the air with his legs torn off. I try to move up as fast as possible, but my body can’t move. I’m too scared. I’m in hell along with other people I don’t know.
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