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#3400437 - 09/29/11 11:58 PM Peleliu (Pt 4)  
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BBall Offline
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Last installment (thanks for hanging with me this long)...

==========



After leaving Bloody Nose Ridge, we drove to a trail that was as moving as it was disturbing. As you can see by the sign, this part of the jungle has only been cleared ON THE PATH THAT'S MARKED. The guide told us that of the 600 or so residents of Peleliu, every few months someone is injured from ordnance still on the island.

==========



You can clearly see the markers for the path. White means "you probably won't lose a foot", red means "good luck...we're all counting on you!"

==========



Occasionally you would see colored sticks off of the trail. The guide said that the colored sticks are where live ordnance has been detected but not dug up...we came over a rise and saw this.

==========



Many times along the trail, you would see something like this. This is a magazine from a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle....my Dad carried one in Korea) with the rounds still in the mag! At one point, one of my companions looked down by my feet (we were squarely ON the trail) and said, "Bill, what's that?" I reached down and picked up an unknown object and began to clean the mud off of it. She asked, "Is it part of a Jeep or something?" I said "no...hang on...", then it hit me like ton of bricks. I was holding the top part of a "pineapple" hand grenade (where the spoon and pin are attached)! It was merely the top (with some sort of object protruding down from it....the detonator?), but I got rid of it post haste!

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The top to a pick axe.

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The remains of a canteen cup and a helmet.

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The F/O reached down and found this on the trail. It looks to me like a bayonet scabbard. We laid it on a rock and kept walking...

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The remains of a helmet, some motor rounds (60mm it looks to me), and a canteen cup. These were placed just off of the trail, and I'm guessing it was done by the locales.

==========



At the end of the trail, we came upon this Japanese gun emplacement (20mm?). It was a "interesting" walk through the jungle....alternately harrowing and fascinating all at the same time.

==========



Riding back to Babelthuap Island with us was this gentleman. Tsuchida Kitokaze...one of the VERY few Japanese POWs from the battle. He's 94 years young, and when I shook his hand, the first thing he did was whip off his USMC cap and show it to me. It was signed by many Marines (most of which he's outlived I would guess), and he seemed genuinely very proud of it. I bowed to him as a sign of respect and asked the young lady to ask him if he would allow me to take his picture. He obviously consented. He was there as it was the 67th anniversary of the invasion (there was no fan-fare at all that I could see), and he seemed to have a general sense of profound sadness to him....

==========



No words are necessary.

==========

And finally...


As we rode north on the boat in the on-again, off-again rain, I tried to reflect on what I had just done. It was almost overwhelming, and would take more than a few days to sink in.

I found myself tired in a way that I had not been in a very long time...and I snapped this pic hoping the sun peeking through the clouds would somehow help it all make sense...







It failed.

==========



Thanks for sharing this journey with me.


Have a great day,

BBall

Last edited by BBall; 09/30/11 12:02 AM.
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#3400451 - 09/30/11 12:24 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Very impressive. Peleliu is a bit of a forgotten battle of WWII, despite the cost in lives. I had never heard of it until I saw The Pacific. I never imagined there would be so much left on the surface.

Thanks for sharing.

Jaz


Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself - Confucius
#3400575 - 09/30/11 04:55 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Amazing pictures BBall. Thanks for sharing them.


Wheels


Cheers wave
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#3400577 - 09/30/11 05:11 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Thanks so much for posting these, a great read and very interesting photographs.

I've just finished reading "With the Old Breed".

Cheers, Spinner



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#3400668 - 09/30/11 10:44 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Great set of pics. Thanks for sharing them with us.

#3400674 - 09/30/11 11:08 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Great pictures and story.

#3400758 - 09/30/11 02:08 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Thanks guys for the kind words.

AFA Wheel's comment about all the paraphernalia still littering these battlefields, let me just say that this is the only place I've seen this. Again, I've toured Saipan high and low, and it's all been sterilized in terms of that. The only other place I've seen with warning signs was on Tinian. As I rode my scooter up the eastern road headed toward the old "North Field" B-29 base (btw, I once read that in the summer of 1945, the airbase on Tinian was the BUSIEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD!....amazing), I noticed a chain link fence walling off the beach. It read "Warning Unexploded Ordnance...Do Not Cross".

Side note. When I was a 10 year old "Army brat", living in Munich in 1966, I remember a wooded area behind our housing complex. There were large fences around these woods and we were told to stay out of them due to the fact that they had not been totally cleared since the war. This, of course, was the same as challenging my brother and myself to jump said fence and go exploring. We did, and I remember finding some broken dinner china (in a ruined farmhouse) that had the Nazi eagle and swastika stamped on the bottom. That's all we found, but we didn't make many sorties over that fence.

Again, thanks for the kind words. After (re)reading "Helmet For My Pillow", and "With The Old Breed" (both incredible), and watching the HBO series "The Pacific", this opportunity was not to be missed. Also knowing that history paints this battle with a controversial brush (Halsey said to by-pass the island and let it "die on the vine", but MacArthur and Nimitz wanted it taken to protect the right flank of the Philippine invasion force), meant that this "island of death" was probably even more of a waste of young lives than normal in war time. Almost 30,000 casualties. Young men whose lives either ended here, or were forever changed by those days...

Hallowed ground to be sure.

Thanks again for coming with me.

BBall

Last edited by BBall; 09/30/11 02:12 PM.
#3400844 - 09/30/11 04:38 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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amazing photos, thanks for sharing.


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#3400867 - 09/30/11 05:20 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Thank you, BBall, for taking us on that interesting tour.

#3400908 - 09/30/11 06:13 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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great series BBall, thanks for taking the time to post it all.

#3400948 - 09/30/11 07:06 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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An excellent set of pictures and notes BBall.
I am always fascinated by the 'then and now' pictures.

It looks a very harrowing place to have had to fight (and die).
So sad. sigh


"Facts don't care about your feelings".
#3401008 - 09/30/11 07:58 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Thank you for sharing this excellent series of pictures. Peleliu was indeed a battle forgotten by many. I did not know about the bloody conflict on this island until I saw "The Pacfic" miniseries.

thumbsup

#3401068 - 09/30/11 10:04 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Iwo Jima still has a lot of artifacts in caves and such if the "going back" series on the Military channel is correct. Someone else went to one of the island battlefields ( Guadalcanal ? ) recently and they were still finding ordnance on that island. There was also a F4F that had been abandoned and was being kept outside at the local museum.

Thanks again for sharing your experience with us BBall. Since my odds of going to these locations is nil I really do appreciate the pictures.


Wheels


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Wheelsup_cavu

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#3401173 - 10/01/11 01:41 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: wheelsup_cavu]  
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BBall Offline
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Originally Posted By: wheelsup_cavu
Iwo Jima still has a lot of artifacts in caves and such if the "going back" series on the Military channel is correct. Someone else went to one of the island battlefields ( Guadalcanal ? ) recently and they were still finding ordnance on that island. There was also a F4F that had been abandoned and was being kept outside at the local museum.

Thanks again for sharing your experience with us BBall. Since my odds of going to these locations is nil I really do appreciate the pictures.


Wheels


Speaking of Iwo....(forgot I had these)...

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3401168/Pics_of_Iwo_Jima.html#Post3401168

biggrin

BBall

#3402244 - 10/03/11 02:20 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: JAMF]  
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Originally Posted By: JAMF
Thank you, BBall, for taking us on that interesting tour.


thumbsup Thanks indeed BBall.


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#3402390 - 10/03/11 11:29 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Wow. Just wow. What a time capsule that island is. Apart from all the rust it's almost as if the battle ended yesterday.

Thanks, BBall, and good to see you around here! How's the 757 flying? smile


In all my years I've never seen the like. It has to be more than a hundred sea miles and he brings us up on his tail. That's seamanship, Mr. Pullings. My God, that's seamanship!
#3402685 - 10/03/11 07:11 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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I commented early on, but amazing photos BBall, thanks for posting. It's like the whole island is a museum and a memorial to those who fought and died there.


Ken Cartwright

No single drop of rain feels it is responsible for the flood.

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#3402822 - 10/03/11 09:49 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Very cool, thanks for the report and photos.

#3403579 - 10/04/11 10:36 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: semmern]  
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BBall Offline
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Originally Posted By: semmern

Thanks, BBall, and good to see you around here! How's the 757 flying? smile


Hey my brother!

Yeah, I "lurk" here most days....lol.

The flying is great. Since the merger with Delta a few years ago, we do a fair amount of 767-300ER flying over here too (in addition to the 757). Lovely machine, reminds me a bit of the DC-10. I'm still mainly flying the 11 to 13 day trips over here in the Orient (my home away from home).

How are things with you?

Have a great day all, and thanks for the kind words regarding my pics.

BBall

#3403698 - 10/05/11 02:23 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Much appreciated biggrin


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#3405580 - 10/07/11 03:36 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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thanks


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#3406530 - 10/09/11 05:46 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Very interesting read/photos. History is fascinating. Even moreso when you can put your hands on it, smell it, feel it, and walk in the steps of those before you. What a great journey..



#3406893 - 10/09/11 11:00 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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BBall Offline
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Originally Posted By: BeachAV8R
Very interesting read/photos. History is fascinating. Even moreso when you can put your hands on it, smell it, feel it, and walk in the steps of those before you. What a great journey..



Thanks Chris,

Yeah, I was introduced to the "world of history" as a youngster growing up on ARMY bases all over the world. My Dad made a huge point of getting us off of the bases (little bastions of America), and taking us to see the local sights....mostly historical areas. This sparked something in me that has lasted a lifetime (strangely enough, I've attempted to do the same with my children...must've taken hold...my paratrooper son was a "History Major" in college).

BTW, I just zoomed by Iwo Jima yesterday heading to Tokyo from Saipan. We were deviating around some TRWs, and went almost directly over the island. I snapped a ton of pics and will post some up in the "Iwo Jima pics" thread later...

Have a great day all,

BBall

#3406939 - 10/10/11 12:39 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Those will be cool to see. Looking forward to seeing them. thumbsup


Wheels


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#3431342 - 11/11/11 12:54 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Really appreciated going on your tour. Great Subject. Thanks for posting.

#3431822 - 11/11/11 05:43 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Fascinating. Thank you very much BBall.

There are some things your presentation reminded me of. First, like you, I was a military dependent over in Germany only a decade or so later in the late 70's and recall the rich history that was so accessible, not only regarding the world wars but also from the medieval and renaissance periods. (The beer isn't so bad either) In particular, one of the most striking, was touring the Verdun Battlefield - where I believe they still have off limit locations because of live ordinance or unstable structures. I read an account from the 50's where a US service man was killed in an accident by falling through one of the fort's floors and into an old cistern. They didn't find him for days. The other place I recall was a tour of East Berlin that took us into Pltzensee where several of the Operation Valkyrie conspirators (among others) were hung on meat hooks. (They were referred to by the guide as heroes of the war). In the western parts near the French border it was quite commonplace to see Siegfried Line dragon teeth structures strewn about as well. (Probably our European friends aren't so fascinated by this..)

Now back to the Pacific... this especially hits close to home because my great uncle Pvt. George Phillips received the Medal of Honor posthumously for smothering a grenade on Iwo Jima. He was a reserve with the 2nd Battalion 28th Regiment of the 5th Marines Division sent in on a subsequent wave I imagine. He was initially buried on the island but was disinterred and returned to the states in 1946 and re-interred in Labadie, MO. My folks had the honor of attending an annual ceremony the local Marine unit puts on for him every year last summer. They were very impressed by the gracious treatment by the Marine hosts. It's now on my to do list.

Unfortunately, most of these memories survive only in my noggin or on slides or traditional 3x5 photographs stuck in boxes in my folks attic. Someday, I'll have to see about salvaging them.


It's a Game. smile
#3466568 - 12/02/11 04:29 PM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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BBall Offline
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Thanks for sharing BP.

I had a chance to visit Normandy once on a work trip (100 hr layover in Paris), but it didn't happen. It is (of course) on my bucket list. Dont wait too long on digging up those pics in your folks attic. Treasures like that are just waiting to be discovered and shared.

Have a great day all.

BBall

#3467549 - 12/04/11 05:49 AM Re: Peleliu (Pt 4) [Re: BBall]  
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Thanks much BBall, I never would have expected that there were so many artifacts from the battle still there.


l'Audace, toujours l'audace

I dont have pet peeves; I have major, psychotic hatreds. - George Carlin

Even if you have a crown and sit at a throne
In the end you will have nothing
Even if you are destined for great riches
In the end you will return to the dust
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