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Posted: 5/25/2002 7:21:04 AM EST
[size=4]A Ring[/size=4]
[b]A Memorial Day tale about a few very good men.[/b]

Yesterday, our rural mail carrier delivered to our farm a ring in a small box — of worn metal, its band cut in half, with a strange signet inset of a Roman legionary. The story of its arrival is eerie, but also informative about a generation now all but gone — and so perhaps worth sharing on these Memorial Day holidays in our current struggle against enemies once again so adamant to destroy our freedom.  

For the past year or so I have been writing a book, Ripples of Battle, about the literary, cultural, philosophical, and artistic consequences that for decades or even centuries can unexpectedly follow from battles. I had completed the first two sections devoted to Delium (424 B.C.), and Shiloh (1862), and this spring was just finishing the third and last battle — the nightmare that was Okinawa from April 1 to July 2, 1945. The sources for that engagement — both written histories and oral remembrances of suicide bombing, mass charges, and fighting in caves — only make the brutal statistics more horrifying: over 12,000 American dead, 35,000 more wounded, and over 300 ships damaged. Thirty-five percent of all American combatants who fought in and around Okinawa were casualties of some sort. The Japanese lost 100,000 killed and perhaps another 150,000 civilian Okinawans were casualties — mostly as a result of hand-to-hand fighting to take an island miniscule in comparison with the far better defended and as yet unconquered Japanese mainland.

My namesake, Victor Hanson — my father's first cousin who was raised as his brother when Victor's mother died in childbirth — was shot and killed as his company beat back the last charges of suicidal Japanese to recapture Sugar Loaf Hill on the evening of May 18, hours before those who were left of his 29th Marines were finally relieved and evacuated from the battle. The official history of American operations on Okinawa reads of the action in his immediate vicinity, "A platoon of Company F also tried to advance along the ridge toward the west, but the leader was killed and the platoon withdrew under heavy mortar fire." The authors then summarize the sacrifice, "On the next day, 19 May, the 4th Marines relieved the exhausted 29th Marines. During the 10-day period up to and including the capture of Sugar Loaf the 6th Marine Division had lost 2,662 killed or wounded; there were also 1,289 cases of combat fatigue. In the 22nd and 29th Marines three battalion commanders and eleven company commanders had been killed or wounded."

To read accounts of those savage uphill assaults — immortalized in classic memoirs like William Manchester's Goodbye Darkness and E. B. Sledge's With the Old Breed — against entrenched Japanese is to wonder not why Victor was killed on May 18, but how in God's name had he lived that long. After all, in just a few days, 3,000 Marines were killed or gravely wounded in and around Sugar Loaf Hill, about the same number as on Tarawa. His 29th Regiment suffered 82 percent casualties on Okinawa and for all practical purposes had ceased to exist.

Read the rest of this amazing story of a 23 year old Marine at Okinawa at:[url]http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson052402.asp[/url]

[b]There [u]were[/u] giants in the earth in those days![/b]

Eric The(Genesis6:4)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 2:36:47 PM EST
Jeepers, you guys, it's [b]Memorial Day[/b] Weekend and this fine story gets read by 10 folks?

Actually, by 9 folks, since I read it once to proofread it!

Eric The(Astounded!)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 3:16:38 PM EST
Thanks bro my pop survived many "Island Campaigns" including that one.
As a landing craft operator...and was there from start to finish. The kamakazi attacks were devastating and my pop was wounded ..but kept on going. He lost a lot of his friends..I think this battle bothered him most of all...
Then he went on to fight in korea...and I in Vietnam...
Thanks for the rememberance
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 3:33:29 PM EST
Thank you and your father for your service to our country!

Eric The(Patriotic)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 3:37:14 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 3:52:45 PM EST

I didn't have much better luck: [url]http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?id=119398[/url]

Great article, though.
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 6:06:36 PM EST
I must be tenth.
Thank you and God bless all those that have served. Are serving and those that are yet to serve.
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 6:13:04 PM EST
Hey , I understand . My grandfather is a first wave survivor of Omaha Beach and he was in Kansas City on his way to the Pacific to take part in Operation Olympic . So in a way I'm a a-bomb baby , if they weren't dropped most likely I wouldn't be here .
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 6:35:13 PM EST
My father was a Marine at Okinawa.  He died in '94 of leukemia.  On the times I'd ask him about what he did in war, he would never say very much.  He was a 50 cal machine gunner is all I know.  Thanks for your post, Eric.
Link Posted: 5/25/2002 9:29:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/26/2002 6:40:31 AM EST
When I was stationed on Okinawa, I toured Shuri Castle and the Sugar Loaf Hill area.

I was walking in the footsteps of giants.
Link Posted: 5/26/2002 11:01:43 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/26/2002 11:32:47 AM EST

Thank you.

I'm reading a book now by LT.COL.JOHN B.GEORGE entitled "SHOTS FIRED IN ANGER". He was involved in the fighting on Guadalcanal. It is hard to imagine what our boys went through.

My father dug up a book he had "OKINAWA 1945 GATEWAY TO JAPAN" and gave it to me for the author's name is IAN GOW...My 12yr old son's name. I'll be reading it when I'm finishied with above stated book.

Great Job...Mr.Hun...Victor Hanson
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