The picture above was taken at the end of WWII. The three marines (combined service) fought in every island campaign in the Pacific. The one on the jeep is my Dad, Sergeant Esler Faulkner.
These are members of the Old Breed . . Marines that joined up long before WWII started. They were trained in the toughest boot camp known to man in the 1930's. They learned to shoot with a simple 30/03 bolt action rifle, they learned to fight hand to hand and with a knife. They learned stealth, concealment and how to take pain without crying out.
Their DI's hit 'em, cursed em' and abused 'em beyond anything the military would accept today. They were broken down and then re-formed, reformed into group of men that knew from the get-go, they would always be the "First to Fight" .
When the events of December 7, 1941 played out, my father was locked up in a Mexican jail for fighting the night before. They let him and the other men out to hop on the Liberty truck the next morning as WWII was 'ON'.
Soon to follow...Guadalcanal, Guam, Bougainville,Tarawa, Saipan, Munda, Kwajelin...the list went on. These 3 fought together on some islands and fought separately on others. The Pacific Command was always taking the survivors from one island and re-grouping them in another unit ( Division) for the next assault.
War stories were in short order at my house. Esler seldom went into any details. It took me 30 years plus to even piece a semblance of what he went through. No Hollywood movie, no matter how good the computer graphics and stunt people were, could ever match what this small framed man told me. . . . . . I still never got the full story. . . . I didn't want to hear it . . . . just the tid bits he talked about were enough to realize that no human being should ever have to go through what he and others did.
He's long since been called to Guard Duty at St. Peter's Gate. I sent him on his way with a cold Falstaff beer and a "church key".
At the end of his small, private church service, I had the organist play The Marine Hymn.
Semper Fi , Paw . . . The Old Breed are all gone now, but not forgotten.
" . . . . and when the Army and the Navy ever gaze on Heavenly scenes, they will find the streets well guarded by the United States Marines . . . "
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