Monday, April 28, 2008

John McCain: Wright's Oafish Slur of 3rd Marines & Calvary at Guam - for real.

But Mr. McCain took a different approach at a news conference here when he criticized Mr. Wright for, as the senator paraphrased him, “comparing the United States Marine Corps with Roman legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior, I mean being involved in that” and for “saying that Al Qaeda and the American flag were the same flags.” …
Mr. McCain said that he did not believe that Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, shared those views and that he was still against the advertisement in North Carolina. But he suggested that Mr. Obama had made the subject fair play by declaring in an interview shown over the weekend on “Fox News Sunday” that questions about Mr. Wright were “a legitimate political issue.”

McCain and other Americans should be concerned about Wright's words - here's the real context: 3rd Marines at Guam reported by Cyril O'Brien, later White House Correspondent for the Baltimore Sun and a combat correspondent with the 3rd Marines:

The Taking of Chonito Ridge*
The following is a dispatch written by Marine Combat Correspondent Private First Class Cyril J. O'Brien in the field after the combat action he describes in his story. It was released for publication in the United States sometime after the event (always after families were notified of the wounding or death of the Marines mentioned.) This story is reprinted from the carbon copy of the file which he retained of the stories he filed from the Pacific.

Guam July 24 (Delayed)—The first frontal attack on steep Chonito Ridge was made one hour after the Marine landing.

An infantry squad, led by Second Lieutenant James A. Gallo, 24, 172 Broadway, Haverstraw, NY., approached to within ten yards of the tip. The crest bloomed with machine gun fire. In the face of it the Marine company tried its first assault. The company was thrown back before it had advanced forty yards.

For fifty hours the company remained on the naked slope, trying again and again to storm the Jap entrenchments hardly one hundred yards away. Battered almost to annihilation, the tenacious Marines finally saw another company take the ridge from the rear.

Failing in the first rush the company had formed a flimsy defense line not fifty yards from the enemy. Cover was scant. Some Marines had only tufts of grass to shield them. The Japs were rolling grenades down the crest, and blasting the Marines with knee mortars from over the summit.

Under the cover of dusk the company commander led a second attack. As the Marines rose machine gun fire swept into them. The commander, and three Marines reached the crest. The last fifty feet were almost vertical. The attackers grasped roots and dug their feet into the soft earth to keep from falling down the incline.

The commander went over the ridge. He never came back. The remaining three Marines were ripped by cross fire. One saved himself by jumping into an enemy fox hole.

Beaten again, the company retired to a small ravine, and remained there all night. One Marine, shot through both legs, was asking for morphine. Another's thigh was ripped by shell fragments. A PFC, his dry tongue swollen, tried to whisper the range of an enemy sniper.

At eleven in the morning of the 22d, with little more a third of their original number, the company rushed hillside again.

Lieutenant Gallo led an assault on the left flank of the hill, but was thrown back. Sergeant Charles V. Bomar, 33, 4002 Gulf St., Houston, Tex., with nine Marines attempted to take the right ground of the slope. Five were killed as they left the ravine. The sergeant and three others reached the top of the slope.

The Japs again rolled grenades down the incline. One exploded under the chest of a Marine nearby, blowing off his head. Another grenade bounced off the helmet of the sergeant. It was a dud.

The Marines charged into the Jap entrenchment. The sergeant killed a Jap machine gunner with the butt of his carbine. The assistant gunner exploded a grenade against his body. The blast threw the Marines out of the hole. They jumped into vacated enemy foxholes. A lieutenant who had come to join them was shot between the eyes by a sniper. The sergeant killed the sniper with his carbine.

Unable to hold their positions, the sergeant and his companies returned to the shelter of the ravine. With the shattered remnants of the company they waited for nearly another 24 hours, until darting Marines on the top of the ridge showed Chonito had been taken from the rear.

Field commanders soon came to appreciate the effect these so-called "Joe Blow" stories had on the morale of their men. The stories were printed in hometown newspapers and were clipped and sent to the troops in the Pacific who could then see that their efforts were being publicized and appreciated at home.

* 'Chonito' was misnamed on dated American Naval Maps in 1944 - The Chamorros of Guam called it Chorito Cliff

For more context- click my post title

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