“December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy,” were words uttered by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt after Japan’s unprovoked attack of Pearl Harbor.
America was finally dragged, kicking and screaming, into World War Two. Japanese Naval Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto made a true prediction when he said that Japan had awakened a sleeping giant. Indeed, a furious sleeping giant had been rudely awakened, and now was out for blood from Japan and its Axis Allies.
“Hey Rico, if our battleship fleet keeps bombing that plug of useless wasteland, there won't be anything left except some sea-shells and coconut fragments.” Rico studied Billy-Ray Finley with a most serious look, and then burst out in laughter loud enough to wake the ship’s napping captain.
“Billy-Ray, besides our tin-can battleship; The most famous US Nashville, I think there are 19 other battleships and 1 aircraft carrier, all trying to see who can once and for all sink that miserable spec of land called Tarawa.”
Billy-Ray Finely nodded his head in agreement, in order to hush his loud-mouth Marine buddy, Rico Cortez.
It was November 20, 1943, and America had been slowly turning the tide in the Pacific Theater one island at a time. Each conquered island from Japan came in human losses of Marines and Navy Sailors.
Japanese soldiers and airplane pilots were trained to fight to the death, and to never surrender to their foes under any circumstance.
Billy-Ray Finley and Rico Cortez met during their basic training at Paris Island Marine Base in South Carolina. Billy-Ray Finley was a mountain man as he liked to be called, and was from Cedar Gap, North Carolina, his birthplace.
Rico Cortez was from Pitch-Fork, Montana. Rico was a 3rd generation Montana rancher’s son. Each Marine had just turned 22 years old and had been together since boot camp in the winter of 1942. Tarawa was the first invasion that their company participated in.
Each young man had accepted Christ during their 4th week of basic training, and had become dedicated Christian young men who were respected and admired by most of their fellow Marines.
“Men, please assemble immediately in the conference bay, assemble in the conference bay immediately.” Marine Captain Thomas Steele was a no-nonsense Marine that demanded unquestionable allegiance from his men. The captain reciprocated respect to every marine in his company.
“I am sure you have a lot of questions about the mission we are about to undertake. As you have heard, our convoy of 20 battleships has been shelling the Tarawa Atoll for the past 3 days. We have shelled this tiny island that is 2 miles long and 800 yards wide, with enough explosives to destroy New York City.”
Captain Steele then asked anyone if they had any questions.
“Corporal Finley, I see that you are the first Marine with a question; Fire away Marine.”
“Sir, with all of the shelling we have done to the small island, there could be no soldier alive. Why do we even bother to have an invasion?”
“Corporal Finley, you have raised the most important question to date. I know all of you good men would have asked the same question, if I had called on any of you in this room.
As a Christian first and your leader second, we are dealing with an enemy who only has one thing on his mind, and that is to kill each and every Marine or US Serviceman that sets one foot on the soil of this tiny spec of land. You cannot show mercy in that none will be shown to you.
Do not expect any surrender from your enemy. To do so would bring dishonor to his Emperor and family. You see men, his Emperor is his God.”
At that point, the room went silent. “Corporal Cortez, please ask your question.”
“His Emperor is his God?”
“Yes that is correct Corporal Cortez.”
“Sir, the men in this room know that God is the God of the Bible and our savior, Jesus Christ.”
“That is correct Corporal, that is correct,” answered the captain.
The next day, the shelling stopped, and the Marines advanced on shore. As predicted by the captain, approximately 3,000 Japanese soldiers that were hidden in underground dugout caverns impervious to the shelling attacked the Marines with a vengeance.
When the island had been cleared of Japanese soldiers, well over a 1,000 Marines lost their lives, and over 2,000 were injured.
The true God of mankind prevailed.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.