Textbooks, documentaries, and even Hollywood productions have proven to be accurate as to the details of this theater of war. Nothing, however, can substitute for a first-person narrative presented by an enlisted man who fought on the front lines; the best of which is E. It took him more than three decades for him to muster the ability to relate his experience to the public. In , Eugene Sledge was a nineteen year old boy who romanticized war.
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Military career[ edit ] Sledge was enrolled in the Marion Military Institute , but instead chose to volunteer for the U. Marine Corps in December He was placed in the V officer training program and was sent to Georgia Tech , where he and half of his detachment "flunked out" so they would be allowed to serve their time as enlistees and not "miss the war". When fighting grew too close for effective use of the mortar, he served in other duties such as stretcher bearer  and as a rifleman.
When the war ended, he compiled these notes into the memoir With the Old Breed. After being posted to Beijing after the war,  he was discharged from the Marine Corps in February with the rank of corporal. People rushed around in a hurry about seemingly insignificant things. Few seemed to realize how blessed they were to be free and untouched by the horrors of war. To them, a veteran was a veteran—all were the same, whether one man had survived the deadliest combat or another had pounded a typewriter while in uniform.
He found that he could not endure the thought of wounding a bird and said that killing a deer felt like shooting a cow in a pasture. His father found him weeping after a dove hunt where Sledge had to kill a wounded dove, and in the ensuing conversations he told his father he could no longer tolerate seeing any suffering.
A key turning point in his life and career followed when his father advised him that he could substitute bird watching as a hobby. Sledge started to assist the conservation department in its banding study efforts,  the origin of his well-known passion for the science of ornithology. Sledge replied: Lady, there was a killing war. The Marine Corps taught me how to kill Japs and try to survive.
But some of us had to do the killing—and most of my buddies got killed or wounded. Close, constant study of nature prevented him from going mad; however, the war stayed with him, and finally at the urging of his wife, he began to put his thoughts on paper, at last allowing him to put his horrors behind him.
He published numerous papers on helminthology and in joined the Helminthological Society of Washington. In , he became a professor, a position he held until his retirement in He taught zoology , ornithology , comparative vertebrate anatomy , and other courses during his long tenure there. Sledge was popular with his students, and organized field trips and collections around town. In , he received an honorary degree and rank of colonel from Marion Military Institute.
With the Old Breed
Military career[ edit ] Sledge was enrolled in the Marion Military Institute , but instead chose to volunteer for the U. Marine Corps in December He was placed in the V officer training program and was sent to Georgia Tech , where he and half of his detachment "flunked out" so they would be allowed to serve their time as enlistees and not "miss the war". When fighting grew too close for effective use of the mortar, he served in other duties such as stretcher bearer  and as a rifleman. When the war ended, he compiled these notes into the memoir With the Old Breed.
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
Kazrakasa Then there is a stench, and then wity discovers he is literally digging through a Japanese corpse. This is a fabulous book. Author Sledge, Sledgehammer, takes you from civilian life to the last days of the war in the Pacific. It hides nothing about the inhumanity of the Pacific conflict that Sledge was part of but in the end his prose shows a retention of his own humanity. Sledge Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Sledge brings us to the brutal reality of the grime of war that no one speaks of.
Sledge recalls his service with the U. Marines during World War II. In December , at the age of nineteen, Sledge, a young man from Mobile, Alabama, decides to enroll in the Marine Corps. Proud of his country and anxious to defend it as best he can, Sledge feels that he must take part in the war, which the U. However, when he realizes that such training involves taking classes on a peaceful university campus for two years, Sledge decides to enlist immediately as an infantryman, in order to participate directly in the war. Sledge initially hates Doherty and the other officers for the harassment they subject recruits to. Reflecting back on his training experience, Sledge thus concludes that boot camp and scrupulous training play a crucial role in preparing Marines for combat—where they will always be more likely to survive if they learn to follow the rules.