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March, 1944...

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After four months of fierce
jungle combat,


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The marines of the 1st division

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Were withdrawn from
cape gloucester.


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Veteran #1: We were absolutely certain
we were going to go back


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To Melbourne to rest again.

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But no, we ended up on
an island called pavuvu.

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Pavuvu, part of the
Solomon island chain,


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Is just north of guadalcanal.

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Once a thriving coconut
plantation,


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It was abandoned when the
war broke out.


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The guy that picked that out,
he sure didn't know what he was doing.

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It was the nastiest,
dirtiest looking place under the sun.

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All kinds of things
just grew in profusion,

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Especially the rat population.

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The land crabs would
come out at night

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And you could hear them
clackity-clacking and clicking around.

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And they would get
into your shoes.

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Veteran #5: A lot of
training started.


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And it seemed to get
heavier and heavier,


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So you knew we were gonna go
somewhere into combat.


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In late August, 1944,

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The 1st division shipped
out again


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Headed for a small coral island between
Guam and the Philippines...


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Peleliu.

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Only six miles long and
two miles wide,


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Peleliu held an airstrip

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That was close to the
philippine islands.


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General Douglas macarthur decided

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That the capture of that airstrip

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Was critical to retaking
the Philippines


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As a stepping stone
to the invasion


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Of the Japanese mainland.

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The Navy bombarded peleliu
for three days


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And the marines followed.

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The men were told that the fighting
would last only a few days.


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But the combat on peleliu

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Would last more than two months

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And would become as deadly

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As any island invasion
of world war ii.


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Veteran #4: I don't think you could
train for anything like that.



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