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Okinawa...

 Little factoid most people don't know about Okinawa, in large part because the Army sucked at PR (and still does):

" In all, the Army had over 102,000 Army (of these 38,000+ were non-divisional artillery, combat support and HQ troops, with another 9,000 service troops),[13] over 88,000 Marines and 18,000 Navy personnel (mostly Seabees and medical personnel).At the start of Battle of Okinawa 10th Army had 182,821 men under its command."

Ask most people, and it was just the Marines.

However: Battle deaths were 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel.

okinawa1.jpg

12 Comments

Wasn't a Marine General in command of the ground operation? ISTR that was the case and the reason why the Marines, as usual, get honor and praise while that "worthless" Army just handed the jarheads the shovel. The Navy suffered quite a bit supporting the landing. It's been a longtime since I saw the casualty figures but was mildly surprised the Navy had more deaths than the Army.
 
General Geiger of the USMC took command of 10th Army after General Buckner got killed by artillery fire.  The Navy suffered heavily from Kamikaze attacks.

And most of us better educated Marines will give credit to the Army for its operations, particularly the 77th Infantry Division.  Those Marines who operated with the 77th Division thought very highly of them. 

We didn't really concern ourselves with public relations.  We were busy fighting in that war. 
 
 Steve - you might not have.  But you had busy little Majors and Colonels who were *very* busy concerning themselves with public relations.  And doing very well at it, as many of them were drafted in from media and advertising firms.
 

 I have a buddy who has been following the war on the pages of the NYT.  Here's the entry for Eniwetok, with his commentary:

On 19 Feb 1944, the New York Times announced the invasion of Eniwetok. The Headline states, Americans Land on Eniwetok. The article says Army, Navy, and Marine forces. The commander is Rear Admiral Richmond Turner. At the end of the article, the troops are identified as the 22d Marine Regiment and “elements” of the 106th Army Infantry. Another great victory for our brave Marines. Here’s what really happened.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: The U.S. Army’s 106th Infantry Regiment, backed by a Marine battalion and supported by naval bombardment, land on two beaches of Eniwetok Island in Eniwetok Atoll at 0907 hours local. The landing is under Brigadier General Thomas E. Watson, USMC, and the overall operation is under Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN. The Japanese garrison of about 800 troops is finally overcome at 1630 hours on 21 February. U.S. casualties are light, 37 KIA and 94 WIA; 23 Japanese are captured.
 

 
The entire of the 22nd Marines (Rein), under John T. "Johnny" Walker, fought in the Eniwetok Atoll.  The Regiment was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation, and Walker a Navy Cross, for their actions on Engebi, Eniwetok, and Parry Islands. 

It was the 106th Infantry that had "elements" present for FLINTLOCK, as its 2nd Bn was still on Majuro.  

The operation was a tremendous lesson in how to use the sea as operational maneuver space, as the landings on the three islands were in rapid succession, which required re-embarkation with combat loaded equipment for transit to follow-on objectives. 
 
It all depends on which history you read. If you only read the official Marines Corps history, then this is quite correct. However, other historical accounts, including the Army Green Book series tell a moe balanced story. While Eniwetok was not a famous fight, that was in part due to the success of all forces involved in executing amphibious operations.

Interestingly, the New York Times in its edition of 20 Feb 1944 completely loses track of the 106th Infantry Regiment and is left to speculate on what they might be up to. Apparently the Navy communique failed to mention them. The actions of the Marines at Engebi were well reported. All info that was of great use to the Chowder Society later on.
 
For those interested, the Green Books are available on line now and can be downloaded. XBradTC has the link up on his blog.
 
Perhaps it came to be of use when Truman and the Army tried to assassinate the Marine Corps to eliminate the competition.

In point of fact the 22nd Marine REGIMENT was fully employed, along with most of the 106th Infantry regiment.  Other historical sources besides the Marine Corps historical division confirm this.  I don't know where John of Argghhh got his snippet but it ain't correct.
 
 My snippet came from the New York Times, Steve.  Simply making the point about PR.
 
 My dad was a medic with the 382 battalion , 96th division on Leyte and Okinawa . He not so fondly remembers Okinawa as being two months of bitter fighting before being pulled from the front for a break while the Marines moved up and finished the job in two weeks and got all the glory.
 
In retrospect, why did everyone start posting about Okinawa at this point in time.  The invasion of Okinawa was on 4/1/45.
 
In retrospect, why did everyone start posting about Okinawa at this point in time.  The invasion of Okinawa was on 4/1/45.

And James's dad may remember it that way, but that sure as hell was not the way it went down.