PELELIU

Tribute stone on Peleliu

Welcome!

This page is a memorial to those who, like my father, fought the amphibious invasion of the island of Peleliu. I have tried to attribute the information I’ve used, but I have not obtained formal permissions. If I have tread on someone’s copyrights I sincerely apologize and belatedly ask said permissions.

I have received many emails over the years from Peleliu veterans or relatives of veterans asking for assistance in locating information about their service. While I appreciate hearing from all who are interested in Peleliu, I regret that I have no information other than that which is presented here or can be found by following the links from this site. Also please include Peleliu or WWII or Marines or something similar in the subject line of your email. Since this is an open email address on a web page, I receive a huge amount of spam mail and I do not want to overlook your message in the clutter.

Thank you,

Mike Kier – kier@sprynet.com

Contents

Map of Palau


Overview

Marine Corps Seal

Its code name was Operation Stalemate.

The Palaus are an archipelago of coral islands southeast of the Phillipines. In 1944 they had lost all strategic significance both to the U.S. and to the Japanese. Admiral Chester Nimitz made the decision not to bypass the scheduled invasion over senior staff recommendations, reputedly rather than pass control of the 1st Marine Division back to Army General Douglas MacArthur for the Philippine campaign in light of the difficulty in gaining them back from the General after the Cape Gloucester, New Brittain campaign. Denying the Japanese the use of the tiny airfield so that they could not threaten the Phillipine invasion has also been offered as a reason.

Virgil “Whitey” Kier

My father and my mother’s brother survived the battle for Peleliu. A former co-worker’s uncle died on the reef. My dad, Virgil “Whitey” Kier was a Corporal originally firing an M1917 .30 Browning Light Machine Gun in D/1/1/1. During Stalemate he was detached from this unit and was a rifleman in Captain Pope’s C Company in Ray Davis’ 1st Battalion of Col. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller’s 1st Regiment. My uncle and dad’s best buddy, Donald Stiles, was an artillery spotter in a mortar platoon also in D/1/1/1. Dad is alive and well today, but Don passed on in October of 2002, if these names trigger any memories for anyone.

Dad served in a unit with an outstanding chain of command:

These men were in the first wave at Guadalcanal (Operation Watchtower) in August 1942 and didn’t leave for 123 days. They lost 650 killed in action and another 31 permanantly missing (the total for the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions and the U.S. Army on Guadalcanal was 1,242 killed or missing, 2,655 wounded, and 5,601 medically disabled by malaria and other tropical diseases – A big thank you to Green Hell: The Battle for Guadalcanal author William J. Owens for emailing the corrected figures to me).

After a sojourn in Brisbane, Australia and assimilating new draftees they then, beginning on Christmas Day, 1943, fought 131 days in the Cape Gloucester, New Britain (Operation Cartwheel) campaign. Casualties were 311 killed or missing, 1,036 wounded and “several thousand” disabled by tropical disease.

Neither of these campaigns prepared them for Peleliu.

Whitey Kier and Don Stiles

Ray Davis’ 1st Regiment, 1st Battalion landed nearly 400 infantry men on Peleliu. Only seventy four were still standing nine days later. Dad walked away with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Frankly, after reading Bill Ross’ book several times, I think anyone who set foot on that island within the first two weeks and lived to tell it should get the Bronze, and anyone who was in direct infantry combat during that period should have the Silver. Then the acts that were extraordinary even by Peleliu’s hellish standards should be recognized by the highest honors. But that’s not how things were done in that time and that place within the Old Breed, as the 1st Marine Division were then called.

The information presented here is from the book Peleliu: Tragic Triumph: The Untold Story of the Pacific War’s Forgotten Battle ©1991, by Bill D. Ross author of Iwo Jima: Legacy of Valor, and published by Random House, ISBN 0-394-56588-6.

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There’s a famous painting titled The Thousand-Yard Stare painted by Thomas Lea, a war correspondent. Its subject was a Peleliu Marine. Here are Thomas’ notes on the subject:

Postage stamp of ‘The Thousand Yard Stare’

“Last evening he came down from the hills. Told to get some sleep, he found a shell hole and slumped into it. He’s awake now. First light has given his gray face eerie color. He left the States thirty-one months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. There is no food or water in the hills except what you carry. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded but he is still standing. So he will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?”

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Timeline of the Battle for Peleliu

D −3, D −2 — September 12th & 13th, 1944

The battleships Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Idaho and the heavy cruisers Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Minneapolis, and Portland, and the light cruisers Cleveland, Denver and Honolulu and three large carriers and five light carriers conduct the pre-assault “softening up” of Peleliu.

The Navy, in total, fired 519 rounds of 16-inch shells, 1,845 rounds of 14-inch shells, 1,793 500-pound bombs and 73,412 .50 caliber machine-gun bullets.

D −1 — September 14th, 1944

Aerial Battleground Photo

Admiral Oldendorph declares that he had “run out of targets” and aborted the bombardment schedule a day early. Most of the Navy ships depart to support the Philippines operation. The troop transports, under radio silence and not yet arrived, are unaware of this. Several preplanned targets, in particular The Point, were never targeted by naval gunfire.

D-Day — September 15th, 1944

5:50 a.m. shelling begins for approximately 15 minutes followed by planes bombing & strafing.

Japanese Tank Photo

7:50 a.m. LCM rocket launchers approach the reef and fire. Amtracs approach the reef, twenty six take direct hits in first 10 minutes, sixty are damaged or destroyed in first hour and forty minutes.

8:00 a.m. Another few minutes of shelling. The first Marines hit the beach at 8:32 a.m. 6,000 Marines are ashore by 11:30 a.m. – the highest D-day casualties except for Tarawa.

Noon temperature is between 110 and 120 degrees.

The Japanese tank strength is wiped out when they unwisely attack the 5th Regiment’s 1st and 2nd Battalions which were supported by Sherman tanks. Between 13 and 19 Japanese light tanks are destroyed (it was impossible to reconstruct the number from the debris) and only two damaged tanks escaped. At least 450 Japanese bodies were recovered.

Japanese Tank Photo

1st Regiment’s K Company is reduced to 34 effectives in taking The Point and is isolated from the remainder of the regiment for the next 30 hours. When relieved, only seventy-eight of 235 Marines remained alive.

Including K Company, Chesty Puller’s 1st Regiment lost nearly 500 killed or wounded on D-Day, over one-sixth of the regiment. The 5th and 7th Regiments combined lost around 250 men. Day One had cost 1,298 Marines – 1,148 wounded, 92 killed, 58 missing.

D +1 — September 16th

10:00 a.m. temperature is 100 degrees and rising.

Hundreds of Marines are incapacitated by petroleum-contaminated water shipped in fuel drums that were not scrubbed.

Black Marines from the 16th Field Depot volunteer and are accepted for combat duty.

5th Regiment takes the airfield.

1st Regiment, 2nd Battalion takes Hill 200 with a loss of 200 Marines, denying the enemy direct observation of the beachhead.

1st Regiment, 1st Battalion take the east ridge at a cost of 250 Marines. The 1st Regiment is now down to 2/3rds strength with over 1,000 casualties in 48 hours.

Patrol Photo

D +2 — September 17th

The Army 81st Infantry Division, the designated reserve force for the 1st Marine Division, attacks Angaur Island. In four days the island is secured by the green troops at a cost of 260 KIA, 1,354 wounded and 940 “temporarily disabled” for unspecified reasons. 59 Japanese prisoners were taken of the 1,500 defenders.

Seabees from the 33rd and 73rd Naval Construction Battalions begin repairing the airfield on Peleliu.

5th Marine, 2nd Battalion takes Ngardololok Island with 34 casualties, mostly from friendly fire (strafed by six Dauntless bombers before crossing the causeway, strafed again by a flight of Hellcats while crossing, and hit by Marine mortar and artillery fire after crossing).

The 7th Regiment loses 200 Marines taking Ngarmoked Island.

Russ Honsowetz’s 1st Regiment, 2nd Battalion begins its 3rd day of assault on Hill 210 with 473 Marines remaining from the original 954.

Follow this link to the Hill 100 Monographs – Pope’s Hill, Walt Ridge

Ray Davis’ 1st Regiment, 1st Battalion attacks what was thought at the time to be Hill 100. Due to the poor maps and battle conditions it turns out to be an unnamed ridge under fire from heights close by. C Company has at this time only a couple of dozen effectives remaining from 242; by the next morning when C Company withdrew from the ridge only eight remained. My dad was one of those eight men. The Japanese reclaimed the ridge within minutes and held it for several more weeks.

The 1st Regiment has at least 1,236 confirmed casualties in three days; six less than the entire Division’s casualties during the 123 days on Guadalcanal and only eleven fewer than the entire Division’s toll of dead and wounded in 131 days of combat at Cape Gloucester.

“Whitey” Kier with captured sword - probably Guadalcanal

D +3 — September 18th

Puller’s 1st Regiment loses another 100 Marines on Bloody Nose Ridge.

The 5th Regiment pushed forward 300 yards.

The 7th Regiment finished the mop-up of Ngarmoked Island and cleared the adjacent mangrove swamp.

D +4 — September 19th

Navy UDT frogmen blow several passageways through the reef. Re-supply operations accelerate.

Small observation planes fondly called “Piperschmitts” and “Messercubs” were delivered in crates to the airfield.

D +6 — September 21st

Battle Map

Chesty Puller’s 1st Regiment has, in less than 200 hours, lost a total of 1,672 Marines – the heaviest losses ever suffered by a regiment in Marine Corps history.

Ray Davis’ 1st Battalion has 71% casualties (only 74 men, my dad among them, were left in its nine rifle platoons and every lieutenant platoon leader in the battalion had been killed or wounded), Russ Honsowetz’s 2nd Battalion has 56% casualties and Steve Sabol’s 3rd Battalion has 55% casualties.

Gen. Geiger orders a vehemently reluctant Gen. Rupertus to evacuate the 1st Regiment to Pavuvu and replace them with the Army’s 321st Regimental Combat Team from Angaur. Pavuvu is an island just north of Guadalcanal in the Russell Islands that was used by the 1st Division to train and stage the Peleliu invasion.

In accomplishing its mission to this point, the 1st Regiment had killed an estimated 3,942 Japanese, nearly a third of the island’s garrison, and reduced the following major enemy positions and installations: The Point, ten defended coral ridges, three large blockhouses, twenty two pillboxes, thirteen antitank guns, and 144 defended caves.

Total 1st Division casualties in the first week of fighting (170 hours) were 3,946 Marines killed or wounded – one man every two and a half minutes day and night.

D +7 — September 22nd

The Army’s 321st RCT arrives to replace the Marine 1st Regiment.

Chesty Puller informs the 1st Regiment that they will return to combat in three days. The order is countermanded by 1st Division staff officer. Debarkation does not occur until October 2nd.

D +8 — September 23rd

General Inoue attempts to supply reinforcements to the Japanese garrison from Babelthaup (a large island in the Palau archipelago). The approach was intercepted by the destroyer H. L. Edwards. A force of an estimated ten to fifteen barges was sighted. Naval and Marine gunners claimed the destruction of seven.

D +9 — September 24th

F-4U Photo

Another attempt at reinforcing the garrison was made. It was also intercepted. U.S. and Japanese survivors claim the entire convoy of thirteen barges and a motor sampan were destroyed. Col. Nakagawa’s records indicate that nine of fifteen barges arrived safely. Total estimated fresh troops estimated at 300 to 600.

The Army’s RCT 321st, 1st Battalion’s troops, unused to coral island fighting, abandon a ridge along their route to travel the easier lowlands. The Marine 7th Regiment, 3rd Battalion loses 27 Marines retaking the ridge to defend the 321st’s flank.

Tech Sgt. Joseph A. Miller of the 321st, while exposed to enemy fire, covered the withdrawal of his company from an overrun ridge position, then carried down a wounded soldier. He later assaulted the same ridge single-handedly and held it for twenty hours, killing twenty Japanese soldiers. He was awarded a spot commission to Second Lieutenant.

Eight F6F-3N Grumman Hellcat radar-equipped night-fighters arrive at the airfield.

D +11 — September 26th

Marine Airbase (MAB) Peleliu declared operational. Twenty-four F4U fighter bombers arrive from carrier Lexington.

The first 1,000 pound bombs are dropped on a Japanese emplacement less than 1,000 yards north of the airfield. Fragments from the bombs land on the airfield. The Corsairs are over target less than fifteen seconds after takeoff; insufficient time to raise the landing gear.

D +12 — September 27th

Battleships Mississippi and Maryland, cruisers Denver and Columbus, six destroyer escorts, and several submarines protect the re-supply lanes.

Forty 155mm Long Tom and 130 75mm and 105mm artillery pieces are emplaced in the US-held southern portion of the island. In all, Marine artillerymen fired 133,000 rounds during the 35 days their guns were in action: 12,000 from the 155mms, 65,000 from the 75mms, and 55,000 from the 105mms – about one round every 23 seconds for over a month.

D +13 — September 28th

Twenty-four F6F Hellcats arrive from the carrier Wasp.

Carriers Lexington and Wasp depart to support MacArthur’s Philippine operations.

8:00 a.m. Battleship Mississippi and cruisers Denver and Columbus shell Ngesebus Island for forty minutes. Dive bombing followed for next 25 minutes.

9:05 a.m. 5th Regiment, 3rd Battalion begins assault on Ngesebus. The island is overrun by sundown and declared secure by 5:00 p.m. the following day. Marine losses were 15 killed, 33 wounded. Japanese losses were 440 killed and 23 captured after the landing – the number killed during the bombardment is unknown.

D +14 — September 29th

Army’s 321st RCT, 2nd Battalion relieves the Marines to mop-up Ngesebus Island.

D +15 — September 30th

Fifty 1,000 pound bombs and 24 un-fused Napalm bombs, ignited by ground troops with phosphorus grenades and flame-throwers, are dropped on the Japanese emplacement north of the airfield. On April 21, 1947, more than twenty months after VJ day, Lieutenant Tadamichi Yamaguchi and 26 of his troops finally come out of this same emplacement to surrender.

Gen. Rupertus declares “organized resistance has ended on Ngesebus and all of northern Peleliu has been secured.” This is more than surprising to the Marines and to the Army’s 321st RCT, 2nd Battalion (who will be mopping up for three more days).

D +17 — October 2nd

The 500 remaining Marines in 5th Regiment, 1st Battalion under Lt. Col., Robert A. Boyd attack Radar Hill (in “secured” northern Peleliu).

5th Regiment, 2nd Battalion is engaged in a firefight throughout the day with 200 dug-in enemy troops in the same area.

D +18 — October 3rd

A 155mm Long Tom is brought up to pound the areas of Radar Hill, the phosphate plant, and the overlooking caves. The area is secured by noon.

D +19 — October 4th

5th Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions retire to the Ngardololok rest area, rejoining the previously retired 3rd Battalion. In four and a half days the 5th and supporting elements had killed 1,572 Japanese, taken seventy two prisoners, and seized or destroyed upward of 300 fortified positions sustaining 87 killed and 217 wounded.

Nineteen Curtiss Commando hospital planes begin regular air evacuation of the badly wounded. Over the next five days, 247 men were flown to Guam for treatment unavailable on Peleliu.

D +20 — October 5th

In three weeks of constant assault, the 1st Division had lost 5,044 men – 843 killed, 3,845 wounded and 356 missing. Estimated Japanese casualties were 9,076 dead and 140 prisoners – mostly Korean and Okinawan civilian laborers rather than combat troops.

A three-day typhoon strikes the island causing the temperatures to plunge to a balmy 80 degrees, but disrupting re-supply operations. Food and ammo is rationed.

The U.S. holds all but a mountainous area 900x400 yards – less than half of New York’s Yankee Stadium and parking lot. In this area are an estimated 1,500 dug-in Japanese troops. This area became known as simply The Pocket.

Denuded Ridge Photo

“There were just two routes to approach The Pocket. Both were well guarded and extremely hazardous.

“One was a narrow rubble-strewn road from the southeast that crossed an open causeway into Horseshoe Valley. It could be used with difficulty by infantry-supporting tanks and LVTs mounting 75mm cannon and twin .50 cal machine guns.

“The other route was over a chain of sheer cliffs and steep ridges that formed the northern barrier that could only be overcome by men on foot with weapons they could carry.

“The east wall was a knavish combination of two connected, almost perpendicular coral heights. Marines called them Walt Ridge and Boyd Ridge for Lt. Cols. Lew Walt and Bob Boyd who had led earlier futile and costly attempts by the 5th Marine battalions to overrun them.

“The parallel buttress, some 1,200 feet to the west was dominated in the center by the China Wall. The 200 yard long, 200 foot tall cliff was flanked at each end by the foreboding Five Sisters and Five Brothers, barren, grotesque stalagmites that were battered but suffered little real damage from hundreds of rounds of naval and artillery shells and countless bombing and strafing attacks from the Corsairs.

Baldy Ridge was The Pocket’s northern bastion, not a solitary strongpoint but the hub of dozens of steep, heavily armed hills and deep fortified crevices. While the approach across the causeway from the south was unobstructed by perilously close high ground, it was within easy range of artillery and mortars.

“Months after the battle, a joint Army-Navy team of intelligence officers from CinCPac HQ conducted a survey of the area. They found that nearly a third of all the fortified caves on Peleliu were concentrated in The Pocket, a killing ground that was approximately six or seven city blocks long and three or four wide.”

Col. Hanneken’s 7th Regiment is tapped to spearhead the assault on The Pocket. The remnants of the 5th Regiment on Ngardololok and the Army’s RCT 321 are the designated reserves. For unknown reasons, Gen. Rupertus orders the 12 remaining Sherman tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion back to Pavuvu. The only remaining armored support is the Army’s 710th Tank Battalion, veterans of only two days on flat Angaur Island.

At 8:40 a.m. The Pocket is shelled by 155mm Long Toms and strafed and bombed by the Corsairs.

At 9:00 a.m. Major E. Hunter Hurst’s 3rd Battalion, at slightly less than half strength, begins the assault on Baldy Ridge. K Company quickly takes the first three hills with little resistance and move on to Knob Three. Forty six men make it to the top after fierce but manageable resistance to discover it had been a clever trap. The men are pinned down by fire from higher ground and are picked off a few at a time. L Company and the remaining men from K Company on the first three hills aid as best they can, taking casualties. By 5:00 p.m. only 11 of 48 men who had assaulted Baldy Ridge remained. At twilight, K and L Companies are now down to less than 400 officers and men. The Japanese stage an assault-in-force during the night, killing eleven more Marines at a cost of 52 Japanese killed.

D +21 — October 6th

The 7th Regiment is relieved, its Peleliu casualties standing at 1,486 killed or wounded of 3,217 officers and men.

Major Gordon Gayle’s 5th Regiment, 2nd Battalion resumes the assault supported, in the 5th Regiment’s normal style, with very heavy artillery fire. The 2nd is able to take Baldy Ridge over the next 72 hours losing only 24 killed or wounded.

The 5th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, under Major Gus Gustafson, cleared Horseshoe Valley. Following this K Company began the assault on the Five Brothers while L Company assaulted the China Wall. They can get no closer than 100 yards and pull back.

The 5th Regiment, 1st Battalion, under Lt. Col. Robert Boyd, began the assault on Walt’s Ridge and Boyd’s Ridge. This will take three days of heavy fighting

D +22 — October 7th

The 5th Regiment begins its final drive against The Pocket. Small progress is made, but it is clear the 5th is about out of steam. Gen. Rupertus continues to refuse to relieve the 5th for the Army’s 81st Wildcat Division in the face of Gen. Gieger’s repeated suggestions, although Geiger never orders Rupertus to do so, nor relieves him of his command.

D +23 — October 8th

Since the storm drove many re-supply ships days away, Gen. Geiger requests an airlift from Guam. Seventy-five Marine Curtiss Commandos and Navy Douglas Skytrains make several trips.

The 1st Battalion attains the crests of Walt’s Ridge and Boyd’s Ridge and now control the east wall of The Pocket.

D +25 — October 10th

By this point fighting in The Pocket has degenerated to essentially guerilla warfare. Most Japanese units are now operating autonomously under suicide orders to make the contest as costly as possible for the Americans.

D +27 — October 12th

At noon, CinCPac declares the “Assault Phase” over, directing the 81st Army Division to relieve the 1st Marine Division and assigning Admiral Fort as CinC of the mop-up and occupation operation.

D +29 — October 14th

The Army’s 321st RCT, under Col. Dark, begins taking over the Marine 5th Regiment positions on Baldy Ridge, the China Wall and Five Brothers and Five Sisters. It will take five more weeks to silence the last isolated Japanese hold-out positions. The Army will lose 110 more soldiers killed during this phase of the operation. The Army suffered 2,433 casualties – 370 killed, 2,041 wounded and 22 missing – on Angaur, Ngesebus, and Peleliu.

The Marine 5th Regiment has lost 1,309 killed and wounded of the 3,117 present at H-hour. The 2nd Battalion sustained 60% casualties of its officers and 40% of its troops of the 953 men on D-day.

Army’s 322nd RCT is ordered from Angaur to garrison Ngarmoked Island and southern Peleliu’s flat ground.

D +35 — October 30th

At noon, Gen. Geiger passed Marine Corps command of Peleliu and the conquered islands of the Palaus to Army Gen. Mueller and his 81st Wildcat Division.

D +72 — November 25th

Colonel Nakagawa radios Gen. Inoue on Babelthaup: “All is over on Peleliu.” Nothing was left of the 13,000-plus garrison but 50 unwounded and seventy wounded troops with a few hand grenades and twenty rounds of ammunition per man. Nakagawa burned the ceremonial colors of his 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Kwantung Army, then he and his aide Maj. Gen. Murai committed ritual suicide.

Fewer than 300 of Peleliu’s garrison survived the campaign.

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Aftermath

1stMarDiv Cemetery on Peleliu

Purple Heart Medal

Total 1st Division Marine casualties are 1,121 killed, 5,142 wounded, 73 missing.

Silver Star Medal

Total American casualties were 8,769 killed, wounded or missing.

Bronze Star Medal

In all, 358 company captains and lieutenants were killed during the Palaus campaign.

Dayton Daily News clipping of Wednesday, December 6, 1944

During the battle and afterward on Pavuvu, the 1st received 4,493 enlisted men and 57 officers, a few hundred were veterans recovered from wounds in the Guadalcanal or Cape Gloucester or other 1st Division campaigns, but most were teenaged draftees. Next stop – Okinawa, in April 1945.

Gen. Rupertus and Cols. Puller, Harris, and Hanneken were relieved of their commands and returned stateside for long-overdue leave. Before the Cols. received their next command, the Atom Bomb had been dropped and Japan had surrendered. Rupertus was relieved of command of the 1st Division and given the command of the Marine Corps School and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal – the former was considered a “tombstone bullet” to his Marine career, the latter was considered a sop to keep him quiet although it was sorely resented by the ranks of Marines who had been at Peleliu. Gen. Rupertus died of a heart attack at Washington’s Naval yard on March 24, 1945.

Nearly 2,000 Marines, mostly aviators, and Seabees stayed on Peleliu for the next year, providing air support to the Army’s 81st Division. Eighteen Marines were shot down.

The “bean counters” in CinCPac determined that, on average, 1,589.5 rounds of heavy and light ammunition were used to kill one Japanese soldier on Peleliu. These were tough fighters, true in the end to their code of Bushido. On a per-soldier basis it took:

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Supplemental

Dick Arnold, Quartermaster of the LCI USS Plunger has provided some of his memories of Peleliu at this link – it is a great read!

PFC Lewis M. Pancoast wrote to inform me:

“You did not mention the 11th Marine Regiment which was an artillery outfit.

“We landed late on the afternoon of September 15th and set up our 75mm guns at the south end of the airfield. We could cover the entire island. Just for the record our B Battery broke the record of 21 rounds per minute in combat conditions – at that hour we fired 22 rounds per minute. I was the loader on #2 gun and we fired that gun 24 hours per day for the first five days.

“We were there from September 15th through September 30th and then we were returned to Pavuvu.”

Sergeant Augusto Madarang Olkeriil, USMC, wrote to inform me:

“My nationality is Palauan. I was born in 1967 and raised in Guam after my parents left Palau in the early 60’s. My mother is originally from the island of Peleliu. I ran into your website after researching on a presentation I have to give on Asian Pacific Islander heritage month for my unit here in Camp Lejeune, NC. I was so impressed because I started reading and watching videos that you had given as other information.

“I was really shocked to hear that the U.S. really didn’t have a need to go and liberate Palau. It was a waste of men and equipment. Well that may be true to a lot of people but speaking from a fellow Palauan who owes his life to your father and the rest of the Marines, Sailors, and soldiers who gave their lives, I salute and honor the son of the hero. Without men like your father, I would not be here and my kids would not be here also. I joined that Marine Corps not for the dress blues or any other recruiting tactic known to all but I joined because it was my way of paying back the United States for giving my Father, Mother, older brothers and sisters FREEDOM. I am a Christian, taxpayer, Marine, father, son, husband and a free American today because of your father. So if anyone gives you any crap about your work you tell them I have a United States Marine on Active Duty of Palauan descent that is testimony to your dad’s sacrifice.”

Wendell Storey wrote to inform me:

“There was another battalion in the First Marine Division that you may want to read about, that also landed on Peleliu. The Third Armored Amphibious Battalion was formed specifically for Peleliu and Okinawa. They preceeded the first wave of troops in their armored Amtracs in what was known as the ‘zero wave’.

“You can probably obtain a copy of Before The First Wave by Larry Woodard (Sunflower Univ. Press) from your local bookstore or from Barnes and Noble online.”

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Additional Reading

1st Marine Division Guadalcanal Patch

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Videos

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Other Peleliu Links

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Decorations and Commendations

Medal of HonorMedal of Honor
(bold type indicates posthumous award)

Presidential Unit Citation Presidential Unit Citation

Navy Unit Commendation Navy Unit Commendation

Navy Cross Navy Cross

69 Navy Crosses were awarded for the Peleliu campaign

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Attributions

Most of the photographs on this page came from the Discovery Online (http://www.discovery.com) special ”Beast of Eden.“

The Peleliu memorial photo at the beginning of this page came from Chris Hays 1993(see Other Peleliu Links).

The Peleliu Battle Map came from Bear’s Peleliu Island Photos Page (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/xBEAR/Peleliu.htm) as did the photo of the Japanese tank and the photo of Hill 100 (Pope’s Hill) on the Hill 100 link.

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Military Historical Tours 2011 67th Anniversary Peleliu Tour