Say Sayonara to Tarawa
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Thread: Say Sayonara to Tarawa

  1. #1
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    Default Say Sayonara to Tarawa

    A few years ago..about 6, I got on Google earth and looked at Tarawa and the air strip was there but it was getting populated. I then saw a few yrs ago, a video of some WWII vet who went back and he was irate that Red Beach is covered in garbage. Then last month I was on Google earth again looking at some of the Pacific lesser known islands like Angaur to see how they looked and went over to look at Tarawa and was amazed the air strip is gone and entire island is full of huts.

    Then this weekend I tripped over a few You Tube videos of Kiribati (the new nation name of Tarawa) and they have over population, garbage all over the place with no place to take it and since the highest point is 9 feet above sea level, the projection is the entire atoll will be under water by 2050. They are losing big time coast line every year to tides.

    Nature and the Pacific are reclaiming Tarawa. There is a hard fact ...Tarawa is a sand bar, its not a volcanic island like Iwo which is going no where. Tarawa...we bled so bad for it and its soon to be no longer.

    Its just a bloody shame this sandbar did not go under water in 1940, it would have saved us so many lives and misery. So we fight and bleed for a sand bar and soon its gone....how dreadful and ironic is that.

    Nothing permanent achieved but defeat of Japanese (that is huge I admit) but one would hope the places we fought for, remain on the planet !!!

    One big storm and Tarawa is gone. The other outrageous crap is all this talk on videos of global warming and climate change being the reasons Tarawa is at peril. What hog wash, sand bars come and go in the Pacific. The only responsibility for Tarawa being a disaster to live on is humans trashing the atoll. You crap in your mess kit and at some point, you live with it.

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    I appreciate the sentiment Mike. That was a horrible battle and that ground is sacred.

    What makes these sand bars "come and go" if it isn't rising sea level tied to a change in climate? They're sinking the island with garbage? Regardless, 100,000 people need bugout bags; the handwriting is on the wall. I can't imagine the peril of living just a couple feet above sea level.

    (I believe these are coral atolls, not sand bars. Part of the problem is increased temperatures kill the algae that live symbiotically on the coral (the algae gives coral the brilliant colors. Increased temp bleaches the algae white - coral bleaching is a widespread phenomena) and when the algae dies so does the coral. So it's not building the reef up as the sea level is rising.)
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    It is sacred ground, and its trashed and will be lost. Sad ending but from my fox hole view, Tarawa is a sad place and nothing has changed since WWII.

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    There is a bulletin board called "Tarawa on the Web" where a few postings are made each week.
    For about 10 years there were occasional posts by veterans of the battle but I think most are deceased now.

    The last one that I can remember posting was Ed Bale http://www.tanksontarawa.com/1st-lt-...l-bale-jr.html

    Another USMC veteran poster (8th regiment I think) recalled when he landed and took refuge in a shell crater. Within a few minutes another Marine who had been in the hole earlier came back and kicked him out claiming that he had occupied the crater first. The poster said he moved about 30 yards to another hole. In the middle of the night a Betty dropped a stick of bombs down the length of the island with the last one landing in the shell crater that the poster had been kicked out of. He looked for the Marine in the original hole the next morning but the guy had been completely obliterated by the bomb. He remembered the name of the Marine and said that no trace of him was found. Within about 2 weeks one of the MIA search foundations posted on Tarawa on the Web asking for contact with the veteran about the Marine who was killed. It turned out that the Marine in the shell hole was still listed as MIA and the foundation wanted to verify the details of the death so they can close the file on that Marine and cross his name off the list of the missing that might possibly be found.

    My motivation for reading "Tarawa on the Web" was to find someone that might have known my dad. He was in C/1/6 and landed on Beach Green in one of the rubber boats at age 18.
    My dad fought on Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan. He spoke less about Tarawa than the others. Since the battle was so short I asked what he did after it was over. He said he helped round up the dead Marines. He did not stay there very long. Betio is only about 380 acres and you can imagine what it would be like with a division of Marines in need of latrines.

    The last that I read there were over 30,000 people packed into that island making it one of the densest populated places on earth. The last I read it was covered with trash and sewage.

    The talk forum http://disc.yourwebapps.com/Indices/149620.html

    The poster Clay Bonnyman Evans is a grandson of Alexander Bonnyman (CMOH) whose remains were recovered a few years ago.
    Last edited by ireload2; 05-16-2017 at 11:14 PM.

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    I had an uncle at Tarawa. He got wounded there and finally killed on Iwo Jima, legend has it.. he noticed he has lost his Cowboys Turtle Association pin, pretty special deal in Bronc Riding/ Rodeo, He was World Champion Madison Square Garden two years running before the war and he went back up the beach on Iwo Jima to find it when he got shot .. He was pretty famous in his day https://www.pressreader.com/usa/amer...82432758329911 and they made a movie about him http://spintowinrodeo.com/people/fritz-truan-31345 I think you will be a little amazed at some of the tie-ins with History my Uncle was involved in.. He Trained a pure White horse before the war that sold for an amazing price to an incredibly wealthy foreign buyer. The Horse's name was Silver Tip.. might not be a household name today.. but in WW2 most folks knew about that horse, the buyer changed the name to Shirayuki and Admiral Bull Halsey promised he was going to ride Shirayuki , the Emperor's all white Horse, down main street in Tokyo. The Movie they made was called the Sands of Iwo Jima and John Wayne based his character on my Uncle who was a close friend and helped a lot of the Hollywood Cowboys with their riding and stunts. see the links..

    I think folks get a little tangled up about Climate Change/ Global warming... it's gone political ( and more importantly economic and government regulations) so confusion is understandable. The argument isn't so much about if it is happening.. but rather, is it is man made or some natural cycle and if all this CO2 reduction regulation efforts or increase from burning coal and oil has anything to do with it. So it's actually okay to admit it is happening .. you just have to politically correct based on your political party about why it is happening.

    the family legend is my Grandmother heard some horrible loud horse cries coming from the barn one night and she went out to investigate and Uncle Fritz's favorite roping horse was dead in it's stall .about a week later she got the telegram .. my uncle and the horse died within 10 minutes of each other.. family legend all my aunts swear it is true.. the article says he had 10 sisters .. that might be true, but I had my mom and 10 aunts for a total of 11 ..I think Evelyn, the youngest, was adopted after he died. His Brother, Bill, got killed in a hunting accident when I was real young.. toddler really.

    Another of his roping ponies led the Victory parade after VJ day thru the Punch Bowl... can't find a link for that .. call it another family legend .. but I am pretty sure it's true He was a really big deal in Hawaii .. they talk about it in the first link.
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 05-17-2017 at 02:10 AM.
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    Dangedest thing.. found mention of Fritz's pony at the Punch Bowl little past halfway down the page .. but the whole article is well worth reading.. Tarawa is the first section http://irawrites.com/Extended%20Poli...IMAOKINAWA.htm
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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    My dad had a twin brother in the USMC 5th Marine division. His unit was Fox/2/26. He suffered a near fatal head wound on Feb 26, 1945 on Iwo Jima.

    So what are the odds that twin brothers were on the same islands. One Tarawa and the other on Iwo Jima?

    A few years ago I worked with a technician that was quite a bit younger than me. He had a faded newspaper clipping about his dad going to a 4th Marine division reunion. That was an interesting coincidence because my dad also fought and was wounded on Saipan. My dad was in the Second Marine Div. So Joe's dad fought on the same island with my dad. That was June 1944.

    Fast forward and Joe's dad gets the crappy end of the stick again and his 4th Marine Div lands on Iwo Jima. His dad is probably less than 1/2 mile from my uncle when my uncle is wounded.

    My dad did not consider the islands that he fought on anything more than hell holes to get away from.

    When I was much younger I asked him if he would go back to the islands with me and show me where he fought. He said he would NEVER go back to those islands.

    That Tarawa would be submerged forever would not cause him to blink.
    Last edited by ireload2; 05-17-2017 at 05:15 AM.

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    Dad's twin was a Marine, while Dad joined the Navy. Uncle bus was with III Phib and made several of its actions in '43, '44, and '45. His last action was Okinawa, where Dad was sent. And mom's brother (also USN). So there is one set of twins on the same island. All three came home without drama. I once (in HS, young and stupid, what can I say?) Uncle Bus what he'd done. He said "I was just a truck driver, Dock, just a truck driver).
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Ammo, that is quite the family history!
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    Climates change. Continents drift. Islands rise. And fall. What was it Kipling said? Ahh yes:

    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Quote Originally Posted by North Bender View Post
    Ammo, that is quite the family history!
    Yeah hip hip hooray for the internet.. about once a year or so I do a search to find relatives and see if I can validate some of the family legends. Tarawa come up.. I have gotten the farthest with Fritz .. added the white horse story this time, which I never heard before.. Family has always had a real hard hate for anything Japanese.. and the roping pony leading the procession in Hawaii... notice it isn't at the Punch Bowl.. but not the first exaggeration I have stumbled across .. Can't see, all thing considered, why any exaggeration is needed .. but that kind of thing creeps in after a couple hundred tellings.

    Another big gap has finding any mention of the names of his sisters/ my aunts up to this search everything was about his wife and I was beginning to think the famly adopted a hero out of whole cloth.. this time I found mention of Dorothy Cheeley as his sister .. that is a bonified genuine Aunt of mine.. just 10 more to go..

    Another family legend, so far completely unconfirmed, Is the family was supposed to have some role in the California water wars in the 30's which may or my not be connected with Uncle Bill's death in 1938 .. alternately shot and killed by a hunting partner, a gangster , and an Indian.

    Our Families connection with the Mob and Las Vegas is pretty well documented https://lasvegassun.com/news/2012/fe...hief-obituary/ Ray Sheffer's first wife was my aunt Joan .. that's a very sanitized version .. it starts getting hinky about the time he gets fired and immediately hired on as Casino Security, Joan testified against him and moved back California and lived with us for a while .. had two palookas show up in black limo looking for her... she wasn't home. They never came back.. several of the books on Las Vegas in the early day written by Gangsters mention uncle Ray, a little more corrupted version .
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 05-17-2017 at 05:31 PM.
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    Interesting correction to my earlier posts.. due to a really big help from a very generous forum member it turns out Uncle Bill died more than a decade before I was born.. and he was killed by an Indian .. But growing up and almost 2 decades after the fact, when I was old enough to finally get a handle on some of the family legends .. the whole family talked about Uncle Bill dying like it happened recently .. and it always came up AFTER everybody was through talking about Fritz so I always assumed Fritz died first.

    Another problem I am having in tracking things down.. is I don't think anybody used last names, it was always Aunt so 'n'so's husband/ son / daughter .. I am kind of vague on most of my aunt's last married names.. The family saying was you may have "only" 10 Aunts, but you got 40 uncles .. a lot of marrying and divorcing going on .. Perhaps the most conservative aunt I had was Dolores she was married 4 times.. but only had 2 husbands .. she divorced and married / remarried each one twice alternating between the alcoholic and the gambler. She worked the high tables in Vegas, basically a waitress, but it wasn't unusual for her to get a couple $100 tips a day, and $20 tips were the common tip.. that's in the 50's and 60's .. after a year of being divorced, she had saved up enough money that it would take her now remarried husband, didn't matter which one .. a couple years to spend it all and then they got divorced again... Lot of family talk of kidnapping her and locking her up in cabin up in Big Bear until she came to her senses .. they never did of course..

    Also looks like Fritz was also wounded at Midway. Well, I have some leads, doubt I will find anything else that connects to Tarawa .. Shame the Marines and Seabees can't reinvade Tarawa, clean it up, build some sea walls ... .. I mean, look what the Chinese are doing with coral reefs
    "It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on."
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    Vote John Galt for President

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSgt View Post
    Interesting correction to my earlier posts.. due to a really big help from a very generous forum member it turns out Uncle Bill died more than a decade before I was born.. and he was killed by an Indian .. But growing up and almost 2 decades after the fact, when I was old enough to finally get a handle on some of the family legends .. the whole family talked about Uncle Bill dying like it happened recently .. and it always came up AFTER everybody was through talking about Fritz so I always assumed Fritz died first.

    Another problem I am having in tracking things down.. is I don't think anybody used last names, it was always Aunt so 'n'so's husband/ son / daughter .. I am kind of vague on most of my aunt's last married names.. The family saying was you may have "only" 10 Aunts, but you got 40 uncles .. a lot of marrying and divorcing going on .. Perhaps the most conservative aunt I had was Dolores she was married 4 times.. but only had 2 husbands .. she divorced and married / remarried each one twice alternating between the alcoholic and the gambler. She worked the high tables in Vegas, basically a waitress, but it wasn't unusual for her to get a couple $100 tips a day, and $20 tips were the common tip.. that's in the 50's and 60's .. after a year of being divorced, she had saved up enough money that it would take her now remarried husband, didn't matter which one .. a couple years to spend it all and then they got divorced again... Lot of family talk of kidnapping her and locking her up in cabin up in Big Bear until she came to her senses .. they never did of course..

    Also looks like Fritz was also wounded at Midway. Well, I have some leads, doubt I will find anything else that connects to Tarawa .. Shame the Marines and Seabees can't reinvade Tarawa, clean it up, build some sea walls ... .. I mean, look what the Chinese are doing with coral reefs
    Nothing much to stop the USMC?USN from doing that Ma'am. Except they don't see any reason to spend the money and effort. Nobody needs the Gilberts anymore...

    Climate average temps go up and down and sea levels go up and down and have for at least hundreds of thousands of years. Prolly more like hundreds of millions. And not caused by humans, eh what?
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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