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Good evening I'm all over north and I'm at the national museum of the Pacific war here in Fredericksburg Texas.
Welcome to war stories.
They called it bloody towel to Gibraltar of the Pacific.
A legendary battle during World War II -- the cost the lives of nearly 6000.
Combatants in this -- 76 hours.
How could so much blood be shed over -- the size of yours on -- -- Japanese commander -- she was sake.
Bragged that -- weapons like this artillery piece and that tank he could hold our war against the million Americans for a hundred years.
But we proved them wrong.
-- survivors said that every participant became a bureau in spite of themselves.
Good gruesome images of death from this tiny -- stunned our nation and forever change the way Americans look at the realities of war.
This is the story of 121000.
Courageous Marines and sailors who wouldn't accept defeat and capturing this -- From a determinant.
Was not an option.
American was waging war.
For -- -- and allies were battling the way towards us the first stop.
You can't bring your.
In the Pacific.
America was -- -- Questioned -- of Japanese.
The decisive victory the battle of midway in -- of 42.
But the Japanese permanently on the defense.
Eight months later US forces won the hard fought battle of -- It was another triumph leading to the wars Lewis -- The central Pacific.
Under the direction of admiral Chester Nimitz -- first steppingstone to this blue island up in strategy with a features of sorrow in the Gilbert Iowa.
Proved what ferocious tenacious enemy we were damaged in fact.
It wasn't until tomorrow although we did and it battles today.
America realize it's gonna take more.
What we fall.
Think this and this is colonel John Ridley is the director of the marine history and museum's division and the holder of the navy cross why -- these counsel for.
It became the winning strategy war goes directly toward Japan established -- places from which eventually we -- Take the -- very major way.
The air war to Japan for the Japanese.
But there were -- represented there furthest outposts.
Military historian and retired marine colonel Joseph Alexander wrote utmost -- the three days it tomorrow.
-- balance for the possessions of the British have been for fifty years before the war started Japanese came in on Tuesday after Pearl Harbor swept throughout the Covert.
Cherries weigh into your residual forces from recession.
That gave them.
An -- field.
Gilbert islands are made up of sixteen Apple's the most important was -- Whose main island was -- -- it was barely two miles long and more than 3000 miles from Tokyo.
It was small flat.
Small sand dunes.
A number of palm trees no hills or mountains OK -- of the water table was very high you good -- dig into it.
-- it was a code name.
Carol was -- to.
Ratio was small island within our war at all.
Our objective -- field site.
The task of trying to -- about a Japanese -- would fall to the second marine division.
-- just come off six months of brutal jungle fighting at Guadalcanal.
Many of us had malaria.
And some still had problem homeless that would call -- first volley.
They did you glance what.
So many had to recover in the in hospitals in in in music.
-- -- was only 22 but already -- combat veteran of Guadalcanal by the time he reached Wellington New Zealand.
Hailing from Spokane Washington -- was a former high school right -- He signed up for the marine reserves right after graduation.
The division was taken back from Guadalcanal through New Zealand Wellington -- -- -- To train.
It was great we didn't get into it in this training heavy until he wanted to give us give -- chance to rest one.
But we then did a lot of climbing steep -- -- I volunteered to go on to the assault engineers.
Training alongside -- the -- was carrying the half of Portland Oregon.
Meanwhile was only seventeen when he convinced his parents to let him join the Marine Corps reserves the 1941.
Me -- was called to duty to set up a marine camp at Pearl Harbor.
He'd only been there a month for the Japanese attack.
My primary job was demolition -- -- also a little bit on the flame -- diesel fuel listening.
And then you have this.
-- just like a cigarette lighter and when you first let me finish at all.
Says the company commander I was they were.
-- -- Do a lot of training out there.
Michael Ryan grew up an orphanage in leavenworth Kansas after being pulled up with some news service -- also found himself a -- now.
Nicknamed the old me.
Ryan was when he set the time he reached New Zealand and commander of company now.
Jobs who trains to -- plus Marines -- get -- to -- -- you don't even know which one.
-- right but this point in time how many of those tournaments and you guys persons from here between.
Well I would say about.
Over do so then we we voted for him.
We lost people.
World health -- thing they have to be replaced.
-- -- -- was one of those replacements.
I was very very I just turned 22.
I've never -- away from all my life.
Fresh out of the University of South Dakota little bridge finished college in three years.
-- was quickly recruited by the Marines to attend their officers training school at Quantico Virginia.
I was the youngest officer and a battalion.
Bob I have them in my -- a lot younger than.
We trained like -- in the New Zealand.
On November 1 194323000.
Men in the second marine division boarded ships including the shirt the -- and the silent.
The man has no idea where they were going for how long they'd -- -- they only knew they were going to rehearse for a large and.
Previous assault somewhere in the Pacific.
Amphibious operations so complicated -- it's almost impossible to do when successfully without -- rehearsal full scale rehearsal maybe a problem we were out of food that.
The body world.
Quick landing maneuver.
Because they had never have always should go to war plan.
We knew that we were going to hit next whatever.
-- and it turned.
I had never heard of -- before.
They broke out pretty adamant -- good.
And now -- speech this is the name of that place code named Helen each day we -- had schooling.
Well we were to do we were going to decide you -- jobs were what the timetable.
Word was just after the naval bombardment from the island.
There will probably be nothing left and we -- just be walking across Landon walker across -- I don't think we'd be lucky if we fired shots.
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