The Pacific-Part Four-New Britain

Wow, that was a tough one last night. The Marines went through an excrutiatingly hard time at Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island. They were trying to capture a couple of airfields from the Japs, and there were torrential rains. One of the real life Marines said there was more rain than he's ever seen in his life. He said he saw a bulldozer literally go down under the mud. There was an intense battle with some Japanese fighters in the driving rain. The Marines lost a couple of men, but killed a lot of Japs. There were some tough times for Bob Leckie, one of the main characters. He and one of his friends were in a Japanese tent in an abandoned Jap camp and saw Gibson actually strangle a wounded Jap. Gibson looked up and smiled. He looked a little off. Leckie got a disease where he went the bathroom on himself uncontrollably and was sent to a hospital where they were treating mentally exhausted soldiers. He was mentally spent. New Britain was so tough that Leckie told a fellow Marine that even the Japs  got off the "God-forsaken island."

Leckie went through some mental recuperation at the hospital and saw Gibson in there in a cell. He was spent. Leckie told the doctor that he was ready to go back to be with his friends and fight. He got out. Before he left he talked to Gibson. Gibson told him that he hoped Leckie would take a bullet and die quickly and not have to go through much more pain. Gibson was going back to the States. He had goen in the hospital because he had tried to get in a plane and take off from the island, and right as the guards were getting to him, he had tried to kill himself. Then he had gone in the hospital. He was done with combat; he was a worn-out exhausted soldier.

Leckie had called out his commanding officer for taking a knife from him that he had recovered from a Japanese cabin. The lieutenant sent him to KP duty. Leckie was washing dishes and saw one of the other men shoot himself through the mouth. It was a brutal scene.

Next week Leckie goes back to his Division. Meanwhile, John Sledge, who is from Mobile, is training in California and will join up with the men next week as they move on to the island of Peleliu for some more intensive combat. These men deserve all the honor and praise they can get, both posthumously and those who are still alive.  It was amazing some of them kept their sanity through this nightmare in the jungle. Some didn't. It was a brutal war. This was just as tough as the European theater if not tougher. Soldiers have always said that war is hell and it sure looks like it in The Pacific.