Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 3rd marines. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 3rd marines. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2007

August 10, 1944 - From My Novel The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel of Guam in Time of War



August 10th marks the day in 1944, when American Territory Guam was declared 'secure' after more than two years of Japanese Occupation. My historical novel, The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel of Guam in Time of War tells the story of a teenager from Chicago, Tim Cullen, who maintains his vow to an officer he respects. Cullen's platoon commander, John A. Buck of Giddings Texas, asks Cullen to return an antique Colt Revolver to his family, in the event of his death. Lt. Buck trusts the young combat veteran to hold on to an return the Colt, knowing that their battalion commander desires the gun.

Book One of my novel is a fictional treatment of the events covering the time from April 1944 when the 3rd Marine Division trained for the Guam Campaign on Guadalcanal to the day, August 10, 1944, when Corps Commander General Roy Geiger declared Guam 'secure.' The irony is that more than 10,000 Japanese continued to fight the Chamorros of Guam, the U.S. Army and especially the men of the 3rd Marines (regt.) ofthe 3rd Marine Division. Here is the conclusion of Book One - from The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel of Guam in Time of War:

Col. Stuart’s 3rd Marines with the Doggies of the 307th
on their right were gaining about four miles of Guam a day.
Now shifted to the Division’s left flank with elements of the 1st
Provisional Marine Brigade taking the east coast roads north
shattered the Japanese at Finegayan and finally liberated a town
– huts, pigs a chapel and gas station and plenty of desperate Japs.
Guys from the 21st Marines discovered about 30 Chamorros
mostly teenagers and old men, beheaded with their arms tied
behind their backs. Everywhere the Marines found abused and
terrified people – real boon dock dwellers and as unfamiliar
with English as they were with Japanese. The Marines and
G.I.s showered the people with boxes of rations and in turn the
liberators were kissed and housemaided! Many people tried to
follow the Marines up to the combat and needed to be gently but
sternly kept back. At night Marines heard howling through the
jungle and thought that some small animals were signaling their
final stages of starvation.

Lt. Ames - over Sgt. Mike Joyce’s strident ‘Are you fuckin’
nuts? Table of Organization, Sir! ‘- demanded to take point two
miles past Finegayan and was decorated with a sniper round
that made a clean hole through his forehead – he walked three
paces before he fell over. Pat Collins killed the sniper.
Stanley Paul and little Onarga Roberts were killed at the
road block defended by twenty Japanese soldiers and a light
tank. Henry Clay killed the crew of the tank when he noticed
that one of the hatches was opened slightly; tossed a white
phosphorous grenade down into the turret. Henry was still
talking to himself and his act of valor might have been an
attempted suicide, but he was awarded the Bronze Star (V) and
picked up a Purple Heart to boot because he had not closed
the hatch and a white hot smoking fragment went into his left
cheekbone. Never uttered a squeak. Maybe he was nuts.

Tim Cullen made great use of the Browning in this fire
fight and damaged the barrel so badly that he needed to have
the weapon surveyed with Sgt. Masterson and drew a new
Browning when they were pulled off the line.

On August 10th, the 3rd Marines reached the northern shore
of Guam and the 4th Marines of the 1st Brigade made Ritidian
Point. General Bruce’s 77th (MARINE) Division had conquered
Mount Santa Rosa and Yiga in the northwest of the island and
organized Japanese Operations ceased.
General Roy Geiger declared Guam secured. That was
nice, true and all, but more than 10,000 armed Japanese needed
to be flushed from the jungles of America’s most important
forward Base of Operations in the Pacific. A Company of 1st
Battalion, 3rd Marines was relieved of duties and marched back
to Agana. Chorito Cliff had been worth the sacrifice and now
Tim Cullen could honor his debt. He needed to stay as public
as possible. Though he genuinely liked Pat Collins now, Tim
Cullen would use his nearness; not so much for companionship
but to have some witness to whatever Major Opley planned in
the way of getting the Chorito Hog Leg. Tim could not wait
to have Regiment clerks prepare shipping manifests and Col.
Stuart’s signature and get rid of this fucking Colt!

He marched south carrying the Browning now out of action and
LieutenantJohn A. Buck’s Colt Revolver buttoned up under his
utilities.

The long line of the A Company men passed their two brother
Companies and the Headquarters Company of 1st Battalion and
Major Lucas Opley. The Major caught Pfc. Cullen’s stare and
returned it in kind and but snapped a twitch when the BAR
man patted the covered shoulder holster and Colt in an open
act of defiance. 1st Battalion had work to do in the north and
would be back in Agana and Third Division Camp in a day or
two. This contest was far from over. Guam was secured but
Lieutenant Buck’s Colt was still on Guam. Opley would have it.
Cullen would return it to Buck’s family. Guam was secured, but
10,000 Japanese disagreed and would until 1972. That is war.



http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~44494.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Chorito-Hog-Leg-Book-Novel/dp/1434302024/ref=sr_1_1/002-2385967-3823240?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179924455&sr=8-1

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781434302021&itm=1

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Dad's Pacific Part 2 and His Final Fight

Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Bronze Stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 4 Bronze Stars
Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Streamer w/1 Silver Star
World War II Victory Streamer


On Thursday, my brother called and told me that my sister had taken my Dad to Palos Hospital ER.

That morning, my Dad told my brother that he had 'kind of a stomach ache.' My Mom was in a rehabilitation facility in Palos Park, following a knee replacement. Mom swims and walks and her muscle tone is great. Dad has been without his girl for about a week and we thought maybe his stomach issues were concern.

Like most of the Irish and especially men of his generation, Dad believes that if one avoids doctors, one is well.

Not the case. Dad had a blocked colon and it had ruptured - probably days before. Dr. Kanashira, a beautiful Japanese American woman and his doctor, questioned Dad, 'How could you stand the agony?' With his usual understatement he replied, " I'm a Marine."

He is that. I learned from Dick Prendergast ( Leo '43) about ten years ago, just how much of a Marine this man is - They went into the Corps together at 17 years of age. My daughter Clare has a picture of my Dad, Dick Prendergast and the late Dick Burke, a Chicago Fire Captain as young tough Marines on Guadalcanal before Guam. They are skinny and hard looking eighteen year olds. Dad had just come back from Bougainville.

Dad was court-martial ed for being AWOL after Boot Camp. He went home on liberty, but his train back to San Diego was side-barred. He was late getting back; court-martial ed and offered the choice of Navy prison or the Solomon Islands. He chose the later.

Without basic infantry training, Dad was sent to Guadalcanal in September of 1943 and trained as a machine gunner with veterans of that battle. He was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines of the 3rd Marine Division. He went to Bougainville in November, 1943 and fought there.

Dick Prendergast trained to be a Signal Corps officer with Joint Assault Signal Companies and arrived on Guadalcanal in 1944. He and my Dad met up again and Dick learned why Hickey went overseas and was veteran.

They went to Guam next. Guam was a slaughter for the 3rd Marines.


At 0829, the attack was directed at the 2000 yards of beach between Asan and Adelup points. The 3rd Marines landed on Red Beach 1, on the left flank. Being closest to Adelup Point, they soon realized that the Japanese were secured in effective defensive positions within the Adelup Point and upon Chonito Cliff, the high ground overlooking the beach. . . . One tunnel system, 400 yards long, connected Chorito Cliff with Adelup Point. Japanese troops could retire to positions on the back-slope of the ridge during intense shelling, and return out to the peninsula behind the U.S. Marines landing on the beach. The Americans realized that their worst obstacle would be the 'almost impossible' terrain facing them (Lodge 1998:40). Troops advancing toward Chorito Cliff and Bundschu Ridge took heavy losses. Four times they attempted to advance up rugged cliffs covered with sword grass. Four times they were pushed back. Climbing up the 60 degree slope required two handed climbing that made it impossible to return fire. Marines lay piled at the bottom of the ridges and the others were forced back to the beaches over and over until reaching success (Gailey 1988:95-97). Heat of over 90 degrees, intense humidity, lack of drinking water, and motion sickness from the long confinement aboard the ships brought the efficiency rate of troops down to 75%. By mid-afternoon, many men were dropping from exhaustion. By day's end, the regiment invading Asan beach counted 231 killed or wounded. Of the 100 amphibious trucks (DUKW's) available, thirty-six were lost during the landing and immediate assault phase on Asan Beach. . . . Three days after W-Day, (24 July) the Southern Landing Force had its beachhead firmly established. The steep cliffs and ridges surrounding both Asan and Agat beaches again took their toll on the troops. Weighed down with the intense heat and humidity, and lacking adequate drinking water, the troops advanced on the ridges that sometimes required two handed climbing through razor sharp sword grass. The cliffs were so steep that supplies were sent up on ropes. Advancement over the ridges often required repeated efforts and caused significant losses (Gailey 1998:97).


The largest Banzai Charge of the Pacific war hit the men on Guam. One account says it all.

"On the left flank, the 3rd Marines is just having a terrible time," Eddy said. Eddy's platoon was being sent into a situation becoming more and more desperate - the battle line along Chorito Cliff and the ridge that would be named after Capt. Geary Bundschu. "You know, the Marines are always doing things like that, moving units. So ... we are detached from F Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Marines - we take the place of A Company of the 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, - we take the place of the unit of Capt. Bundschu," Eddy said.

While the entire 3d Marines met stifling opposition on and near Red Beach 1, Bundschu and the rest of Company A were particularly mauled by the enemy. Caught in the ridge by machine gun fire from above, the unit could not move forward or backward.

Bundschu would lose his life on the ridge, becoming one of the 3d's 615 men killed, missing, or wounded in the first two days of fighting. As a unit, A Company was barely hanging on. . . . Harassed by well-placed and hidden machine guns atop the cliff and above on the ridge, the 3d managed to scale the cliff about noon of July 21, reach beyond the ridge later, and onto Fonte Plateau by July 25. But its frontline by July 25 still did not solidly contact with that of the 21st; a gap also existed between the 21st and 9th. . . . Takashina's counterattack was unlike the banzai charges experienced before by the Marines in the Pacific. This one was well-planned and coordinated; the objective defined - to thunder through the gaps, down the ravines (between ComNavMar and Top O' the Mar restaurant) and onto the beachheads. There, troops of the Rising Sun would be able to put the Americans into disarray by disrupting their communications as well as halt resupply of Marines above, thus isolating them.

Through the night, Takashina sent thousands of his soldiers into the gaps, hoping that his counterattack force would reach the beachheads. The force was comprised of seven battalions funneling into four columns through the 3rd Marine Division's frontline.. . . . ( a veteran) , who had fought in Bougainville and Iwo Jima and in other battles, said the night of July 25-26 in Guam was a living nightmare. He and his men repulsed not one, not two but seven banzai charges that night.

"It was the most traumatic experience I ever had, it will live in my memory forever," he said. Fighting was at close quarters. "I had expected to be in battle, but never anything like this. When you think about fighting, you think that you're 100 yards away, but this was pretty gruesome, fighting them from 20 feet away and they're running all around you and screaming. "They were of a different culture. They did things that Marines wouldn't do - yelling, screaming. They didn't give a shit if they got killed; they just wanted to make sure that you got killed. That was what got to you - they wanted to die. They were willing to sacrifice themselves, "They were screaming at us. There was 'Marine, you die,' - they were screaming all that kind of BS, and we'd return it. I remember George Tuthill - he was one of my machine gun section leaders - and he had a loud voice, extremely loud. He'd be shooting, yelling, just things that you couldn't print.

"It's all silly, like little kids yelling at each other, but it's all desperation too." . . . The men along the front line were told that the enemy was 2,000 yards ahead. "We were beat - we were all trying to get some rest. Then a flare went up again, and like all of a sudden, I saw them. They were there, in front of us."

"Thousands ... they were like ants. Oh man, they kicked the shit out of us. They just kept coming, coming."

Dad was one of about thirteen men in Company A to survive Guam. He went to Iwo Jima as a part of the reserve force , but the 3rd Marines were ordered back to Guam where they continued to fight in the jungle until long after the War Ended. Dad came home to Chicago in November 1945 and never left. He never went on a cruise. He put the War far behind him and dedicated every fiber in his being to his wife, three kids and his Union - Local 399.

Like most WWII veterans he refered to his time in the War as 'In the Service.' Everyone else had it much worse than he did. Dr. Grasias who did the surgery on Dad remarked on the Japanese grenade fragments that he still carries.

The grenade fragments are of no consequence to the man who possess them still. A blood clot found its way up and the veteran of Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima is being hammered by an 'evolving stroke.'

I pray that the morphine drip and the other medicines allow Dad to bypass what he has stored.

Please God, give him baseball at Billy Smith Field on 79th Street, smooch and hug time with his girl Ginny, play with his grandchildren and big icy pitchers of Keeley's Half and Half ( hi favorite beer of all time - that and 'whatever you got') in the company of Donny, Bud, Jack, Bart, Sy and Mike his brothers; candy with Joan, Nonnie, Margarite, Mary, and Kathleen his sisters - his favorite and Irish twin Helen is still with us thank God; pay-back breakfasts with my wife Mary, hugs from his mother Nora and eternal peace with father Lawrence - with whom he never seemed to get along. He's earned this.

He has been up many hills and trails in the jungle, let him have smooth path to Christ.

Monday, April 28, 2008

John McCain: Wright Slurred 3rd Marines and Italians

























Pastor Wright's litany of hate extended beyond Italian Americans to the battle honored Third Marine Regiment - the 3rd Marines.

Full Disclosure - the focus of my recent novel The Chorito Hog Leg: A Novel of Guam in Time of War was the 3rd Marines and their magnificent assault of the cliffs over-looking the Asan Landing Beaches on Guam in July, 1944.

Pastor Wright retired to a mansion in Tinley park, IL and lecturing the NAACP yesterday and the National Press Club this morning was a Marine.

National Review's Jim Geraghty reported Wright's 'Crucifixion comments' that also offered an Unchristian slam on Italian Americans, but to sully the 3rd Marines who have won American battle honors at Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, Vietnam, and Iraq is bizarre to say the least:
Wright describes Roman soldiers who mistreated Jesus as "Commandos.. trained in urban command and trained to kill on command... the Third Marine Regiment of Rome," and that Jesus was mistreated "as a prisoner of war."

He describes the Roman presence in Jerusalem as "Operation Israeli Freedom." (So in this America-as-Rome metaphor, is Abu Zarqawi Jesus?)

"It was the Italian Army that led Jesus to Calvary Friday morning."

Here is an all too brief battle history of America's Third Marine Regiment - 3rd Marines:



The 3d Marine Regiment first came into existence during the period of international unrest in the early twentieth century. The regiment was formed 20 December 1916, by consolidating Marine detachments from the various ships in the Atlantic Fleet then at anchor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The early days of the regiment were highlighted by campaigns in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

During World War I, the regiment was heavily involved in the occupation and pacification of the Dominican Republic. As the Dominican crises subsided, the regiment’s role in the Republic also lessened.

Between wars, 3d Marines became a reserve unit stationed in San Francisco, eventually being disbanded in 1937.

The 3d Marine Regiment was reactivated on 16 June 1942, in North Carolina, as part of the World War II military expansion. The regiment fought and bled at Bougainville and Guam. Four medals of Honor were awarded to members of 3d Marines for actions during this period.



Following World War II, the regiment was ordered to China to aid in the disarming of Japanese units and to assist the Nationalist government in the occupation of Northern China in an effort to deny land to the communists.

The regiment did not participate in the United Nations defense of South Korea, but continued to actively train in Hawaii and Japan to remain combat ready.

3d Marines was quick to respond to the call for forces in Vietnam, providing security for the Da Nang Air Base in early 1965. The regiment’s experience level and ability to adapt led to many innovations including the Combined Action Company and the Civic Action Program. Ultimately, 3d Marines was to participate in 48 major operations in the Republic of Vietnam.

Following the retrograde of forces from Vietnam, the regiment was initially relocated to Camp Pendleton and assigned to the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade. During April of 1971, the regiment became part of the 1st Marine Division. Two months later, the regiment was moved to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to assume the role of the ground combat component of the 1st Marine Brigade.

The 3d Marine Regiment was one of the first combat forces to deploy to Saudi Arabia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990. The regiment, which became known as task Force Taro in honor of the state and people of Hawaii, became the first American unit to be engaged by Iraqi artillery, rocket and missile fire on 18 January 1991. Task Force Taro countered the Iraqi supporting attacks by conducting artillery raids into Kuwait as the first ground offensive actions of the war. Task force Taro was instrumental in the recapture of Khafji, was the first unit to advance into Kuwait, conducted the only helicopter borne assault of the war and secured the Marine Corp’s final objective of the war, Kuwait International Airport.

Following the cease-fire on 28 February 1991, the regiment redeployed to Saudi Arabia and subsequently completed its strategic redeployment to Hawaii two months later.

Effective 1 October 1994, the 1st Marine Brigade was deactivated and 3d Marine Division became the regiment’s higher headquarters.


http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/3mar/History.htm

Senator John McCain slammed Wrights insults of this elite regiment.

Pastor Wright sure seems certifiable - well, maybe not to Bill Moyers

Click my post title for Geraghty's article in National Review.

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.”


http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/the-early-word-mccain-takes-up-wright-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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thank You, Cyril O'Brien: The Most Flattering Review I Ever Received: The Late Great Cyril O'Brien

The Chorito Hog Leg Book: A Novel of Guam in Time of WarCyril J. O'Brien

I wrote a novel in 2007, The Chorito Hog Leg: A Novel of Guam in Time of War.  

I was disappointed in the book as I did not do a very good job of editing the work, I had paid an editor to do.  Plenty of typos.

Nevertheless, the book was favorably reviewed by Rose Keefe , the noted Crime biographer and historian, the late Martin J. Tully, USSF(ret), CPD (ret) and several combat veterans.

One of those heroes was the great Cyril O'Brien*, a Baltimore journalist and former White house correspondent who was Marine Combat correspondent on Guam. His review appeared in the Mariannas Islands Press and on Borders Books Review.

I have a very blessed life and this man's opinion of my work means almost as much to me as the good wishes from the hundreds of "kids" that I have taught over these past forty years,

Here is Cy O'Brien's review:

Guam Novel Praises the Chamorros as well as Marines

3190 days ago

Book depicts Chamorros going above and beyond By Cyril J. O'Brien There's an interesting novel with a different scenario on the liberation of Guam by Chicago, Ill., school teacher Pat Hickey. It depicts the often underwritten action on Chonito Ridge, and describes the Chamorro people as going above and beyond. It relates the battle story through fictional as well as actual leaders as a way of demonstrating the caliber of the people who fought that war on Guam. A student of the battle, Hickey is well into Able Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, led by Capt. Gary Bundshu in its impossible, day-and-a-half assault straight up to the crest of Chonito Ridge, a cliff overlooking the Asan beaches on Guam. The top was taken late in the second day after Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, secured the rear and flank to let Able finish its ascent and hold it.
Using the Marines' nickname for the ridge, Hickey, in The Chorito Hog Leg' '(AuthorHouse 2007, Bloomington, Ind.) intersperses the story with surprising incidents, heroic actions, including the gratuitous cruelty of Japanese captors on the Guamanian people. The book is also punctuated with bits of holiness of sisters, mothers and girlfriends back in Chicago with rosaries and novenas. Hickey spices it with some seasoned ribald troop vernacular and surprises you with incidents and anecdotes that could make you lose the course of what is going on. Hickey also brings in the colorful gangster days that represented the Windy City at its zenith because it is from where the young Marines he describes are from.
Action started at sea And you may have forgotten how the first combat action of Guam was at sea. Pat describes it: the Japanese Kate spinning a torpedo toward the troop-jammed tank landing ship. (I was on the starboard side where the torpedo beaded). But a little LCI (landing craft infantry) ship in our assault convey, there to protect the troopship, nosed her bow into the torpedo bound for our ship. It blew off the LCI's bow and killed all on station there. We watched the next morning as a destroyer sunk the remains of the heroic little LCI.
Within the carnage of battle is a conflict arrayed in the book pitting a young man named Tim Cullen against his battalion commander over the possession of an 1860 Army Cold .45 Hog Leg revolver, which can be traced back to a captain who was with Custer. It brings in diversion and other interests, and continues the novel, but makes no 'neverminds' to history. Hickey, well anointed as an author, is a career educator, graduate of Loyola University, Chicago and now with St. Leo's High School in the city.
 Cyril J. O'Brien
*Cyril J. O'Brien was a combat correspondent with the 3rd Marine Division in World War II, which helped liberate Guam. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One -Brings this Era To Life






The above page of the Leo High School Oriole 1944 presents some of the real sources for the fictional characters in my novel . Click this page on and get trip back in history.

This Review of my novel by History Channel Guest and consultant Cyril J. O'Brien appeared in Pacific Daily News:

Book depicts Chamorros going above and beyond
By Cyril J. O'Brien

There's an interesting novel with a different scenario on the liberation of Guam by Chicago, Ill., school teacher Pat Hickey. It depicts the often underwritten action on Chonito Ridge, and describes the Chamorro people as going above and beyond. It relates the battle story through fictional as well as actual leaders as a way of demonstrating the caliber of the people who fought that war on Guam.

A student of the battle, Hickey is well into Able Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, led by Capt. Gary Bundshu in its impossible, day-and-a-half assault straight up to the crest of Chonito Ridge, a cliff overlooking the Asan beaches on Guam. The top was taken late in the second day after Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, secured the rear and flank to let Able finish its ascent and hold it.

Using the Marines' nickname for the ridge, Hickey, in "The Chorito Hog Leg" (AuthorHouse 2007, Bloomington, Ind.) intersperses the story with surprising incidents, heroic actions, including the gratuitous cruelty of Japanese captors on the Guamanian people. The book is also punctuated with bits of holiness of sisters, mothers and girlfriends back in Chicago with rosaries and novenas.

Hickey spices it with some seasoned ribald troop vernacular and surprises you with incidents and anecdotes that could make you lose the course of what is going on.
Hickey also brings in the colorful gangster days that represented the Windy City at its zenith because it is from where the young Marines he describes are from.


Action started at sea
And you may have forgotten how the first combat action of Guam was at sea. Pat describes it: the Japanese Kate spinning a torpedo toward the troop-jammed tank landing ship. (I was on the starboard side where the torpedo beaded).
But a little LCI (landing craft infantry) ship in our assault convey, there to protect the troopship, nosed her bow into the torpedo bound for our ship. It blew off the LCI's bow and killed all on station there. We watched the next morning as a destroyer sunk the remains of the heroic little LCI.

Within the carnage of battle is a conflict arrayed in the book pitting a young man named Tim Cullen against his battalion commander over the possession of an 1860 Army Cold .45 Hog Leg revolver, which can be traced back to a captain who was with Custer. It brings in diversion and other interests, and continues the novel, but makes no "neverminds" to history.

Hickey, well anointed as an author, is a career educator, graduate of Loyola University, Chicago and now with St. Leo's High School in the city.


Cyril J. O'Brien was a combat correspondent with the 3rd Marine Division in World War II, which helped liberate Guam. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Dad - Guam in 1944 and St. Cajetan's Vet Services 2008




My Dad, Pfc.Patrick E. Hickey USMCR, a machine gunner with Able Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines was photographed on Guam in July, 1944. He was 19 years old at the time and a veteran of the Bougainville Campaign in the Solomon Islands in 1943. The following year he would go to Iwo Jima and return to Guam where he 'checked caves until he came home in November 1945 - he had the Points. Yesterday, the kids of St. Cajetan School in my Morgan Park neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, honored the Veterans of our Parish. My Dad is featured at the beginning of the video and had trouble standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.

St. Cajetan Parish is honored by the service of about twenty young men now deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He met a 'young guy' who served in the 3rd Marines during Operation Desert Storm and told him 'Semper Fi, Mac.'

Thank you to St. Cajetan's School!

Click my post title for great Southtown Star coverage of kids giving touching tribute to our heroes -Old and Young.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 21st Marks the 63rd Anniversary of Guam's Liberation - Hafa Adai!




Two Part Historical Novel Fuses Guam and Chicago History by Pat Hickey

My novel The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel Guam in Time of War concerns the liberation of Guam in World War II and fuses Chicago and Guam history.The title comes from a place where hundreds of American teenagers died in July 1944 and an antique revolver. The revolver is not that important, but Chorito Cliff was and is to a generation of men and women who are disappearing at too great a rate.Chorito is the name of a cliff overlooking the Asan beaches on Guam. In 1944, the 3rd Marines assaulted Chorito Cliff and Bundeschu Ridge. A Hog Leg is the nickname for an 1860 Colt .45 Revolver.
While working on the Every Heart and Hand: A Leo High School Story, I was struck by how many members of the Leo Class of 1943 served in the Marine Corps and also in the Guam Campaign. Likewise, it struck me that almost nowhere in popular culture has room enough been made for the most loyal Americans - the People of Guam - The Chamorros.
I started doing some homework and the result is a historical novel in two parts. Part One covers the time of April 1944 to August 10, 1944 and introduces some of the fictional and historical characters who figure in this work. Within the carnage of battle is a war pitting a young man, Tim Cullen Leo High School '43, against his battalion commander over the possession of an 1860 Army Colt .45 Hog leg revolver which can be traced back to Capt. Myles Keogh who died with Custer. The last owner is the doomed Lt. Jack Buck of Giddings, TX.
Buck will be killed in the taking of Bundeschu Ridge, but Jack Buck had exacted a promise from Pvt. Tim Cullen of his platoon to keep it from the hands of Major Lucas Opley, an up from the ranks Marine of legend, and return the Colt to his family in Texas.
This story also brings in life in Chicago's south side, in particular the people who lived along 79th Street in the 1940's. Historical personages like some of the great men of Leo High School ( Whitey Cronin, Briother Finch, Jimmy Arneberg, Bob Hanlon, Bob Kelly, Dick Prendergast & etc.), Lyndon Johnson, General Roy Geiger, Col. 'Red Mike' Edson, Father Jesus Duenas, Radioman Paul Newman, Ensign Johnny Carson, Edward J. 'Spike' O'Donnell, Mayor Ed Kelly and Brother Francis Finch mingle with fictional characters Tim Cullen, Gunny Billy Higgins, Lucas Opley, Dr. Ted Tanaka and Betty Cruz. Life in St. Sabina's Parish and along 79th Street in Chicago is recreated to the best of my powers.
My narrative uses the intrusive narrator that offers commentary on the action and infuses a moral tone. At the outset, I wish to apologize for any typos that sneaked past my tired old eyes - placing an 'and' where I mean to place ad 'an' - writers are not the best editors. ( 'best hell- Hickey; not even close to H.S.')
The story is about a young man who developed a sharp moral sense in his neighborhood and a devotion to his word to others - fashioned in the pews of St. Sabina Church, the halls of Leo High School, the playing surface of Shewbridge Field and along 79th Street. Cullen's values and sense of honor is tested by circumstances and the hidden agenda of an otherwise good man, Maj. Lucas Opley.Parallel to Cullen’s ordeals with the 3rd Marines and suffering on Japanese occupied Guam are movie house operator Juan Cruz and his family, as well as an exiled Japanese American Dentist and his movie star wife. Exacting the cruelty is the oafish Boson Otayama and the American educated Lt. Kato. Awaiting liberation are also such historical figures of Guam’s history as Father Duenas and Pastor Sablan who heroically protected American George Tweed from the Japanese for two years.The touchstone Hog-leg revolver, in its shoulder holster, will be taken from Lt. John A. Buck’s body by Cullen at an aid station on Guam’s Red Beach 2 and cause Cullen no end of problems. The Battalion commander wants the Colt Hog-leg.
Cullen hangs on to the weapon but never uses it and is repeatedly ordered by Maj. Opley to hand it over. Opley wants it for himself. This through-the ranks career officer will undo himself through his own devices and be sent home under a cloud after years of service to the Corps after the Guam Campaign.In the Fall of 2007, the second book of The Chorito Hog Leg story will follow the adventures of Tim Cullen through the mopping-up actions on Guam, the Iwo Jima Campaign, the sinking of U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Atomic Bombings of Japan, the beginning of the War Crimes Trials on Guam and return Cullen, through the great Pacific Typhoon of 1945, to Chicago. Again, the author will employ the ‘intrusive narrator’ technique used by William Makepeace Thackeray in his 19th Century historical fictions.I hope that I do some justice to the generation who served in World War II and to the great people of Guam.
The book is available through the Web at these links:
I hope that I do some small justice to the story.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Two Part Historical Novel Fuses Guam and Chicago History





My novel The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel Guam in Time of War concerns the liberation of Guam in World War II and fuses Chicago and Guam history.
The title comes from a place where hundreds of American teenagers died in July 1944 and an antique revolver. The revolver is not that important, but Chorito Cliff was and is to a generation of men and women who are disappearing at too great a rate.

Chorito is the name of a cliff overlooking the Asan beaches on Guam. In 1944, the 3rd Marines assaulted Chorito Cliff and Bundeschu Ridge. A Hog Leg is the nickname for an 1860 Colt .45 Revolver.

While working on the Every Heart and Hand: A Leo High School Story, I was struck by how many members of the Leo Class of 1943 served in the Marine Corps and also in the Guam Campaign. Likewise, it struck me that almost nowhere in popular culture has room enough been made for the most loyal Americans - the People of Guam - The Chamorros. I started doing some homework and the result is a historical novel in two parts. Part One covers the time of April 1944 to August 10, 1944 and introduces some of the fictional and historical characters who figure in this work.


Within the carnage of battle is a war pitting a young man, Tim Cullen Leo High School '43, against his battalion commander over the possession of an 1860 Army Colt .45 Hog leg revolver which can be traced back to Capt. Myles Keogh who died with Custer. The last owner is the doomed Lt. Jack Buck of Giddings, TX. Buck will be killed in the taking of Bundeschu Ridge, but Jack Buck had exacted a promise from Pvt. Tim Cullen of his platoon to keep it from the hands of Major Lucas Opley, an up from the ranks Marine of legend, and return the Colt to his family in Texas.This story also brings in life in Chicago's south side, in particular the people who lived along 79th Street in the 1940's.

Historical personages like some of the great men of Leo High School,Lyndon Johnson, General Roy Geiger, Col. Red Mike Edson, Father Jesus Duenas, Radioman Paul Newman, Ensign Johnny Carson, Edward J. 'Spike' O'Donnell, Mayor Ed Kelly and Brother Francis Finch mingle with fictional characters Tim Cullen, Billy Higgins, Lucas Opley, Dr. Ted Tanaka and Betty Cruz. Life in St. Sabina's Parish and along 79th Street in Chicago is recreated to the best of my powers. My narrative is the intrusive narrator that was used to offer commentary on the action and infuse a moral tone. At the outset, I wish to apologize for any typos that sneaked past my tired old eyes - placing an 'and' where I mean to place ad 'an' - writers are not the best editors.

The story is about a young man who developed a sharp moral sense in his neighborhood and a devotion to his word to others - fashioned in the pews of St. Sabina Church, the halls of Leo High School, the playing surface of Shewbridge Field and along 79th Street. Cullen's values and sense of honor is tested by circumstances and the hidden agenda of an otherwise good man, Maj. Lucas Opley.



Parallel to Cullen’s ordeals with the 3rd Marines and suffering on Japanese occupied Guam are movie house operator Juan Cruz and his family, as well as an exiled Japanese American Dentist and his movie star wife. Exacting the cruelty is the oafish Boson Otayama and the American educated Lt. Kato. Awaiting liberation are also such historical figures of Guam’s history as Father Duenas and Pastor Sablan who heroically protected American George Tweed from the Japanese for two years.


The touchstone Hog-leg revolver, in its shoulder holster, will be taken from Lt. John A. Buck’s body by Cullen at an aid station on Guam’s Red Beach 2 and cause Cullen no end of problems. The Battalion commander wants the Colt Hog-leg. Cullen hangs on to the weapon but never uses it and is repeatedly ordered by Maj. Opley to hand it over. Opley wants it for himself. This through-the ranks career officer will undo himself through his own devices and be sent home under a cloud after years of service to the Corps after the Guam Campaign.

In the Fall of 2007, the second book of The Chorito Hog Leg story will follow the adventures of Tim Cullen through the mopping-up actions on Guam, the Iwo Jima Campaign, the sinking of U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Atomic Bombings of Japan, the beginning of the War Crimes Trials on Guam and return Cullen, through the great Pacific Typhoon of 1945, to Chicago. Again, the author will employ the ‘intrusive narrator’ technique used by William Makepeace Thackeray in his 19th Century historical fictions.

I hope that I do some justice to the generation who served in World War II and to the great people of Guam.

http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~44494.aspx

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Author Scott Carmichael Completing Book on Captain Geary Bundschu - Guam Hero and My Father's Skipper





After my Dad passed away on April 25th, I was contacted by author Scott Carmichael. Mr. Carmichael is the author of two books - one about the return of Apollo 11 and the other about a Cuban spy. Scott Carmichael has been doing research on the horrific fight for Bundschu Ridge - part of the Chorito Cliff system near Guam's Adelup Point. Ir was here on July 21, 1944 that the 21st Battlion, 3rd Marines of 3rd Marine Division landed on Red Beach One and lost more men that day than the entire 3rd Division in the Bougainville Campaign.

Mr. Carmichael had interviewed a gentleman from Michigan who had been a close friend of my father and had intended to speak with my father's platoon commander who had died in January of this year. The subject of the book is the battle and the man for whom the men of Able Company named the ridge systen - their "Skipper" ( WWII Marines refered to the Company Commander as The Skipper) - Captain Geary Bundschu, USMCR - recipient of the Navy Cross ( post.). The gentleman in Michigan and I talked shortly after my father's funeral. He and the platoon commander were badly wounded and evacuated on the first day of the battle. My father and very few of his comrades survived that fight and continued through the Guam campaign and later Iwo Jima.

I saw this news article about SCott Carmnichael's book on Apollo 11 -click my post title for more.


Carmichael, meanwhile, already has completed most of the research for his next book, tentatively titled "Bundschu Ridge." He said the book is a "nonfictional account of an effort by USMC Capt. Geary R. Bundschu* to seize a prominent ridge located inland of the Asan Beach landing zone during the July 21, 1944, liberation of Guam."

Four men in the company were left behind; known to have been killed in action, their bodies never were recovered.

Carmichael thinks he has located the body of one of the Marines whose body remains on Bundschu ridge. He said he hopes he and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii can retrieve it within the next few months.

*B

UNDSCHU, GEARY R.
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Geary R. Bundschu (0-8276), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of Company A, First Battalion, Third Marines, THIRD Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands, on 22 July 1944. With his company pinned down by bitter hostile machine-gun, mortar and rifle fire during an advance up a vital enemy ridge, Captain Bundschu unhesitatingly exposed himself to an intense barrage from Japanese guns and, fearlessly proceeding forward, observed and sketched the enemy position retarding the advance of his unit. Again making himself a target for hostile weapons, despite painful wounds in the shoulder, he continued to observe enemy defenses and skillfully reorganized his men in preparation for another fierce assault against the Japanese-held ridge. Although his right arm was rendered useless by a grenade fragment when his platoon was caught in a hostile machine-gun crossfire and simultaneously subjected to a vicious grenade attack, Captain Bundschu courageously directed his men to take cover then, valiantly pressing forward succeeded in destroying the nearest Japanese machine-gun position with grenades before he was mortally wounded. His great personal courage and inspiring leadership in the face of grave peril were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Commander In Chief, Pacific Forces, Serial: 004424 (December 18, 1945)
Home Town: Oakland, California

Friday, August 24, 2007

From The Chorito Hog-Leg: Work Detail at Tulagi



Here is an early passage from The Chorito Hog Leg, Book One: A Novel of Guam in Time of War The protagonist, Tim Cullen, is assigned to a punishment detail on Guadalcanal after being caught drinking moonshine - raisin jack- on field problem by his platoon commander, Lt. John A. Buck. Cullen meets the legendary Gunny Higgins who already aware of Cullen's talents and personal integrity:

7. Shitbirds of Tulagi
His eyes burned in front and throbbed in back, his tongue and throat never seemed satisfied with cool water and every nerve in his frame bugged up to perspiration, sensation, and irritation of every sort. In short, Tim had a hangover going on its second day without let-up and activity was what he needed most which worked out nicely with his place in the punishment detail forming up in front of 1st Battalion ‘First Shirt’ Gunny Higgins.

Gunny Higgins had no ears to speak of –rather, lumps of muscle that seemed to have been pegged aft of his temples. Wearing a pith helmet, impeccably pressed khakis, leggings and boondockers, Gunnery Sergeant Billy Wheat Higgins appeared to be standing on a platform above the two rows of ten green utility clad Marines wearing green fiber helmet liners as covers. He was standing on the same soil as the boys before him, but he was so much above each and every one of them in the eyes of men and boys.

‘Side-Straddle –Hops until I am well pleased and I am never well pleased!’ Throwing Arms to a point geometrically above his head and casting his legs out like colossus to His ‘OW –un! And reversing the limbs at ‘HOO!’

‘Move MotherFuckers! I’m not doin this for my health!

‘Ow-Un; HOO; OW-unHOO! & etc for fifteen minutes without let up.

‘Fall out –You Box Me.’ Fall out - Men Die. Fall out - Boys Might. Fall-out –Don’t Try!’

After the full fifteen minutes Gunny Higgins’ body snapped shut like an expensive switchblade to signal the end of calisthenics.

In the tropical heat with all of the physical snap and strain not a drop of sweat spotted his arm-pits or blemished the cleanliness of his khakis. Strapless his pith helmet never went askew, nor fell from his square muscled head. Gunny Higgins was Gorgon and Apollo wrapping the soul of Voltaire and the balls of Rabelais.

‘I have served the flag in uniform from the time that you mewling tit-suckers tore out the snatches of some fine women. I do not ask who is my enemy or what his thoughts might be or if we had supped at the same table last night. I do not give a shit that the Pope locks up! Major Opley and men up the chain from him have determined who my enemy will be – Today –tomorrow- and until Jesus takes back the Aggies I stole from that Jew wood-butcher. ‘

Without looking into any man’s face, Gunny Higgins pointed down from his majestic height and moved his long thick broken right fore-finger –slowly and judicially.

‘Each and every swinging man-log on parade before my tired eyes is my enemy, because the very men up the august chain from whence all truth calls down have told me that you are. I have butchered greasers on the Coco River and Niggers in Haiti and Japs wherever I find them and traitors to the flag without so much as a thought because I was ordered to fight and kill them. But each and every one of you have made my enmity boil because you have pained your elders and betters up that august chain – You have soiled Duty and Honor as Fuck Ups! I will amend that before my next hard-on! LCM at the beach step lively – Now! ’

And the twenty in green double-timed it to the awaiting landing craft. The coxswain ordered each of the twenty green fatigued men in the work detail to put on life-belts and made the port perch aft available to Gunny Higgins.

. . . . ( In the Landing Craft Mechanized -LCM)


‘Tulagi beach master and step on it, Coxman! I might kill a handful of these pearls, before the task gets ripe, You a Louisiana Man Coxman?’

‘Born and raised in Cribstone. . St Laurence parish . . .,’ the warmed sailor began.

‘Well, Fuck You then! Sail this craft without incident and I’ll get beer call for you and your three sisters. Honor Bright!’ and Gunny was as good as his word. He stepped down three of the steel rungs into the cockpit next to Cullen and put his steel portside arm around the boy’s shoulders. ‘I saw you on Boogan . . . in the aid station and later on the line. You handled that .30 like a salt with four hash marks; must be a gift, son. Stare ahead and don’t eye-ball me son or I’ll carve off your head and shit down your neck. Now, listen here, Major Opley remembers you from that scrap and saw your name down for my detail that is why I called you out. He liked your sand in taking that four-eyed Navy saw-bones by the stacking-swivel. Yes, Sir, that pleased him. He wants me to baptize you in the blood of lamb before our next walk on the beach. You need to step up into the shoes of the dead.’

The LCM beached at the Transport Cove on Tulagi and the twenty-one Marines disembarked and formed up. Gunny Higgins exchanged more obscenity laced compliments to the boat crew and informed them where they might pick up the cases of Drewery’s beer in possession of 1st Battalion Gunnery Sergeant William Wheat Higgins.

The twenty man punishment detail stood at ease but alert to the coming commands of their overseer. Gunny Higgins had gone from the LCM to pick up the manifest from the Tulagi Beach Master’s shack that would process the possession of 10 tons of .30 caliber ammunition for 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines.

All of the ammunition needed to be clipped and belted by the squads and gun crews in their company areas, but it would be the task of this detail to transport the ammunition back to Tetere Beach on Guadalcanal, check and clean the rounds before clipping and belting.

Gunny Higgins burst the propriety of the efficient beach master’s shack with a hurricane of filthy language and imprecations against the Commander of the South Pacific Area, General Douglas Macarthur, whose domain included the ammunition stockpiles on Tulagi.

The designated stockpile had been bulldozed – ‘to keep it safe from fire. Bullshit!'

Wacky Mac had decided to throw a screw into Gunny’s Marines and that was the long and the short of it. His boys needed to bail through the mud and dig out their ammunition crates and could be assured that their tasks would be longer and more demeaning. Bougainville had been Admiral Halsey’s show and Mrs. Roosevelt had come to the Canal to praise General Turnage’s fine men who took that island from the Japs so handily. At this very moment dog-faces under Generalissimo MacArthur were slugging it out with the Japs and losing hundreds of men as well as real estate on Bougainville. The Third Division had handed the campaign over to General Patch on Christmas Day 1943 and now the U.S. Army was having a tough time sealing the deal. Macarthur hated the Marine Corps.

Standing legs spread and four-square before his detail, tall, tanned, khakied and commanding Gunny Higgins pointed over his port shoulder to the bull-dozed stock pile – his pith helmet squared.

‘I have pissed rainbows of beer over taller mountains than God can lay bricks on full breakfast! From the rocky coast of Maine to sunny Frisco Bay, I have fucked them all – countesses, millionaires and movie stars! The sight of me makes proud men blush and maidens as wet as a New Orleans hooker shop in August. I have bested men and boys at cards, games and quick draw. I can eat the crotch out of a running Grizzly bear and ask for seconds on servings of mule shit, but I am four-eyed and fucked over this one, Girl Scouts!’

‘El Supremo has determined that the men who snatched Boogan from Tojo need more work and so the Supreme Commander of South Pacific Forces ordered the Quartermaster Corps to have the .30 caliber ammunition earmarked for the 1st of the 3rd Marines covered with Tulagi. Nothing to it, girls, but sweat and suet! Cullen get ammo carts from the beach master take four men - the other half of you get to digging, and relay passing all ammo to my feet. Move!’

Five peeled off in the direction of the Beach master’s shack where he had already assembled ten ammunition carts and each man pulled two carts back to Gunny Higgins.

‘That Yankee Momma’s Boy has not seen the day where Men of the one True Corps can be set back a-heel by a candy-sucking cavalryman! Assholes and Elbows!’

With pride and anger, the punishment detail hefted and clawed and pulled and carted the heavy mud-caked and soaked ammunition crates. They loaded the ten ammunition carts and two man teams horsed them back to the beached LCM that would take these angry boys and their soiled ammo back Tetere Beach on Guadalcanal. For three hours this detail dug the prized rounds out of Tulagi soil and mud, gave the crates a perfunctory cleaning and stacked them on the carts and hauled them to LCM and restacked them.

As the job disintegrated like the caked soil on the crates, a knot of Army brass and journalists and photographers assembled on the knoll above the work detail. Centered in the group was the unmistakable Roman profile in crushed overseas cap with scrambled eggs, the foot long corn-cob pipe, the casually tailored khakis and slow sure gait of a Man of Destiny in his late sixties.

Gunny Higgins had his back to his enemy and like he had been in the jungle these last twenty years- well aware of his enemy’s presence, their strength, and their deployment. His electric gaze targeting only the twenty individuals awed by Macarthur’s apparition and enraged by his arrogance in slighting those beneath him. Tim Cullen pushed his loaded ammo cart with all the determination that he had legged on the football field for Leo High School and not unlike his playing days he was bested by a better man.

Gunny Higgins understood Cullen’s intentions to howl, vent, threaten and assault the Supreme Commander of the South Pacific and with one casual step to his right, blocking any view of his subsequent actions from the gawkers and the patrician above and behind, Gunny Higgins telescoped his left arm to Cullen’s throat, catching the boy’s Adam’s apple between his sandpaper thumb and his thick deadly forefinger with whispered, ‘I love frying Papist Porgies for a Po’Boy but only in my own oil. Do not give that Army cunt one scintilla of reason to laugh at a Marine’ and released the boy to cart the ammo to the LCM.

I love that boy, thought Gunny Higgins, Hell; I’d fuck all his sisters and the Pope’s mule for that little display. That boy will do fine.

The work continued for another hour and without comment, the Marines took their contaminated ammunition away for cleaning. This incident spoke mountains for the small man on the hill and the giant hearts of those he thought he would abuse.

The LCM took proud and happy men back to Tetere Beach and none happier or more filled with pride than Gunny Sergeant William Wheat Higgins. Upon return, to 1st Battalion headquarters tent, Billy bubbled like a school-girl with new crush – he was dreamy in love with Tim Cullen! Major Opley was delighted as he had always been a great judge of character and this red-headed runt who had stayed on the line as sick as he was and found the strength to tear at the Battalion surgeon’s throat for calling him a malingerer and now wanted to single-handedly assault a hill full of Army brass and reporters for fouling the Marines, no wonder Billy was in love.

For the next two weeks every man in the 1st Battalion had heard about Tim Cullen from 1st Platoon Able Company and how he tried to kill Douglas MacArthur and was saved by Gunny Higgins, while they cleaned and re-greased every round that they would fire during the up-coming Guam Campaign

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Author Scott Carmichael to Help Retieve Remains of Marines Killed on Guam






































My father, Patrick E. Hickey ( carrying the tripod in the photo), died last April 25, 2010. Most of the young men in his WWII Marine Company - Able, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines were wounded or killed on this day. Author Scott Carmichael is completing a book on my Dad's Company and the battles that he never talked about for the balance of his life. I informed him that my cousin Willie had found my Dad's Seabag with the number 312 stenciled next to his name. Mr. Carmichael replied -


Wow. Do you know what the number 312 represents? The men used a numbering
system for their gear. They didn't take their seabags along as they rode
their amtraks onto the beach, of course. Seabags were left behind on the
LSTs, for later retrieval. The men numbered not only their seabags, but a
lot of other equipment and gear. 312 = 3rd Marine Regiment/1st Battalion/2nd
company. The headquarters company was always listed as the 1st company
(311). That made Able company the 2nd company in the battalion (312).
Thanks for the information about the photograph.
The photograph above was confirmed to be my Dad carrying the tripod of the machine gun.



Mr. Carmichael contacted me days after my Dad passed away. He was looking for the few survivors of Able Company. Marine Lt. Krawiec died in January 0f 2010, but the gentle and humorous Mr. Troup still lives with his wife and the horrible and multiple wounds he received on Red Beach 2 Sixty Six years ago. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Troup, back in May.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Scott Carmichael about the progress on the book and sent me two photos of Marine mess gear found by two Boy Scouts on the ridge above the Asan landing beaches, in 1961 - several Marines from the Headquarters Company were attached to Able Company in the assault on Bundschu Ridge and their bodies were never discovered and are believed to be on that ridge yet.

Scott Carmichael wants to assist in the recovery of these young men lost in July, 1944 while Liberating Guam. Here is the note -



Pat,

It’s ( profress on the book) coming along fairly well. Lately, I have been populating my outline with the many (thousands) tidbits of information which I developed during the research phase of the project – akin to putting a jigsaw puzzle together, to form a whole picture. So far, my outline runs to 180+ pages. Quite an outline. I’d estimate that the outline is 75-80% complete. Once the outline is complete, I will be either ready to write – or, burned out.

Ran into a snag while planning travel to Guam to look for the remains of our Marine on Bundschu Ridge – funding. My wife looked at the estimated cost and put her foot down. Well, I’m developing work-arounds. I’ve secured free lodging through a relative of a friend…, and I submitted an application to the USMC Heritage Foundation for a grant to cover the expense of airfare. Still waiting to hear from the Foundation regarding the grant. My travel partner – Joe Tuttle, who was one of the ‘young men’ who discovered the remains of a Marine on Bundschu Ridge circa 1961 – believes that he will be ready to go in November – just in time for your article, I suppose (though, Joe insists upon maintaining a low profile regarding this search for the remains. Joe feels fairly confident that he will be able to find them. But this is a very personal effort, for him. He feels quite guilty for leaving that young Marine on the ridge.). So…, if I get the grant, we hope to travel to Guam in November. Mention of the book project in the Irish American News would be a good idea. . . .

I don’t recall whether I provided the attached photos to you in an earlier email. Photos of the canteen found on Bundschu Ridge circa 1961 by Joe Tuttle and friends. This is the canteen which was found with the remains of that Marine. Thought you might enjoy it.
Scott Carmichael

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

8:30 A.M. July 21, 1944 - Guam Liberation Begins





PFC Patrick E. Hickey USMCR carrying the Tripod for a .30 Cal. Machine Gun - July, 1944 on the ridges above Guam's Red Beach 2.


My father, Patrick E. Hickey, died April 25, 2010. Most of the young men in his WWII Marine Company - Able, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines were wounded or killed on this day.

My Dad's platoon leader Lt. Krawiec of Chicago was wounded and evacuated getting out of the LVT (Landing Vehicle Tracked) on the Red Beach 2. PFC Boyd Curtis Troup of Jones, Michigan one of my Dad's best friends and fellow .30 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun crew member was wounded on this beach and evacuated as well.

The balance of Company A ( Able)including it's heroic company commander "Skipper" was pretty much wiped out over the next seventy-two hours taking Chorito Cliff and Bundschu Ridge ( named for Capt. Geary Bundschu-Navy Cross Skipper of A-1-3). Very few members of Able Company continued through the Guam Campaign, in fact the regimental casualties on the first day of the battle, exceeded the 3rd Marine Division Campaign casulties for the previous Battle for Bougainville ( Nov. 1-Dec. 25, 1943).

Author Scott Carmichael, while researching Bunschu Ridge acount of  my Dad's Company and the battles that he never talked about for the balance of his life, sent me this note about apicture that I had forwarded to him. . I informed him that my cousin Willie had found my Dad's Seabag with the number 312 stenciled next to his name. Mr. Carmichael replied -


Wow. Do you know what the number 312 represents? The men used a numbering
system for their gear. They didn't take their seabags along as they rode
their amtraks onto the beach, of course. Seabags were left behind on the
LSTs, for later retrieval. The men numbered not only their seabags, but a
lot of other equipment and gear. 312 = 3rd Marine Regiment/1st Battalion/2nd
company. The headquarters company was always listed as the 1st company
(311). That made Able company the 2nd company in the battalion (312).
Thanks for the information about the photograph.
The photograph above was confirmed to be my Dad carrying the tripod of the machine gun.


Mr. Carmichael contacted me days after my Dad passed away. He was looking for the few survivors of Able Company. Marine Lt. Krawiec died in January 0f 2010, but the gentle and humorous Mr. Troup still lives with his wife and the horrible and multiple wounds he received on Red Beach 2 Sixty Six years ago. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Troup, back in May.

God Bless Every American Veteran!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guam Liberated 66 Years Ago Today -



LVT under heavy fire on Red Beach 2 Guam -July 21, 1944

PFC Patrick E. Hickey USMCR carrying the Tripod for a .30 Cal. Machine Gun - July, 1944 on the ridges above Guam's Red Beach 2.


My father, Patrick E. Hickey, died last April 25, 2010. Most of the young men in his WWII Marine Company - Able, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines were wounded or killed on this day.

My Dad's platoon leader Lt. Krawiec of Chicago was wounded and evacuated getting out of the LVT (Landing Vehicle Tracked) on the Red Beach 2. PFC Boyd Curtis Troup of Jones, Michigan one of my Dad's best friends and fellow .30 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun crew member was wounded on this beach and evacuated as well.

The balance of Company A ( Able)including it's heroic company commander "Skipper" was pretty much wiped out over the next seventy-two hours taking Chorito Cliff and Bundschu Ridge ( named for Capt. Geary Bundschu-Navy Cross Skipper of A-1-3). Very few members of Able Company continued through the Guam Campaign, in fact the regimental casualties on the first day of the battle, exceeded the 3rd Marine Division Campaign casulties for the previous Battle for Bougainville ( Nov. 1-Dec. 25, 1943).

Author Scott Carmichael is completing a book on my Dad's Company and the battles that he never talked about for the balance of his life. I informed him that my cousin Willie had found my Dad's Seabag with the number 312 stenciled next to his name. Mr. Carmichael replied -

Wow. Do you know what the number 312 represents? The men used a numbering
system for their gear. They didn't take their seabags along as they rode
their amtraks onto the beach, of course. Seabags were left behind on the
LSTs, for later retrieval. The men numbered not only their seabags, but a
lot of other equipment and gear. 312 = 3rd Marine Regiment/1st Battalion/2nd
company. The headquarters company was always listed as the 1st company
(311). That made Able company the 2nd company in the battalion (312).
Thanks for the information about the photograph.
The photograph above was confirmed to be my Dad carrying the tripod of the machine gun.


Mr. Carmichael contacted me days after my Dad passed away. He was looking for the few survivors of Able Company. Marine Lt. Krawiec died in January 0f 2010, but the gentle and humorous Mr. Troup still lives with his wife and the horrible and multiple wounds he received on Red Beach 2 Sixty Six years ago. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Troup, back in May.

God Bless Every American Veteran!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thanks, Once Again, Dad!

Battle Ribbons for PFC Patrick E, Hickey, USMCR -1943-1945 ( Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima)



Dad carrying the tripod on Guam* and looking old at 19 years. 


" It was rugged." - Personal narrative of WWII by PFC Patrick E, Hickey, USMCR (dec.)

 God Bless you, Dad and all who protect us and our Freedoms.

Able Company ( Capt. Geary Bundschu) 1st Batallion, 3rd Marines pinned down during the three attack up the cliffs later named for Capt. Bundschu. At the center of this old photo are what is left of A Company in July 1994 on Guam.

the 1st Battalion landed and started across rice paddies toward Bundschu Ridge, a nose of land running down toward the beach,25 enemy machine guns began to fire from the woods bordering the open ground. Company B, in assault on the right, quickly cleared these woods and made good progress until it ran into jungle and rock.
The Japanese did not give Company A, on the left, time to organize for an assault, but opened fire on LVT's as they moved ashore and stopped to unload troops. Casualties mounted as reorganization got under way. Enemy opposition, plus the fact that terrain bore little resemblance to that studied on maps and models, added to the normal confusion which
--43--

follows any assault landing.26 But cool thinking and the training under adverse conditions on Guadalcanal paid off. Captain Geary R. Bundschu quickly organized his company and made preparations for the assault on the ridge that already bore his name. (See Map 13)
The attack started with two platoons in assault and one in support, but the going was slow and rough. The support platoon had to be committed in short order. This added strength enabled Bundschu to get within 100 yards of the top by 1045, but he reported he needed corpsmen and stretchers badly. This message gave just a hint of things to come. Moving that last 100 yards proved to be a lengthy and costly business. Only one officer, Lieutenant James A. Gallo, Jr., and a few men of the company survived the action that followed.
It is doubtful if Captain Bundschu realized until after 1200 what he was up against.27 The initial assault on the ridge had been driven back by two machine guns emplaced to deliver enfilade fire on advancing troops. A platoon tried to flank one position by going up a heavily wooded gully but the waiting Japanese forced it to withdraw. About 1400 Bundschu asked his battalion commander, Major Henry Aplington, II, for permission to disengage. But Aplington felt this could not be done because of the unit being so involved. However, the right platoon (1st) succeeded in disengaging. Lieutenant Gallo, its leader, reorganized the remnants of his unit and those of the 3d Platoon and awaited orders from his company commander.28After a conference between the regimental commander and Captain Bundschu, Colonel Hall ordered a second frontal assault on the ridge. Bundschu and Gallo organized the remaining men of Company A into two forces for the attempt. The company commander requested that an 81mm mortar barrage be placed on the hill,29 and just before sundown the attack started. Bundschu and his men inched forward but the same machine gun that had caused them trouble earlier in the day soon stopped the advance. Repeated attempts to take the position failed. Finally, covered by fire from every available weapon, the Marines silenced the gun with grenades. An assault reached the top of the hill, but by this time the remaining handful of Marines found it impossible to reorganize and defend this crest.30On the right, Lieutenant Gallo and his men fared no better. Under cover of the 81mm barrage, they crawled up the ridge and reached a position under the machine gun in their sector. But the Japanese, by rolling hand grenades down on the advancing troops, made the position untenable and halted the attack. Little had been accomplished. The company was back where it had been earlier in the day, but this time with fewer men.31During the course of the Bundschu Ridge action, the regimental commander had decided to commit his reserve, Lieutenant Colonel Hector de Zayas' 2d Battalion. When it became apparent that the enemy offered the most resistance in the center of the zone of action, Hall alerted de Zayas' unit for a move into the line between the two assault battalions. Shortly thereafter, at 1300, Colonel Hall assembled his battalion commanders on top of Chonito Cliff and issued his fragmentary order:


* from Scott Carmichael's forthcoming book Bundschu Ridge 
Despite the rigorous training schedule which left them filthy and exhausted most days, the enlisted men found time and energy to temporarily escape the regimentation of an infantryman’s life through the pursuit of personal interests and hobbies.  Pfc’s Patrick E. Hickey of Chicago and Boyd C. Troup of Michigan discovered the game of horseshoe.  Hickey was the son of Irish immigrants; he was one of 13 kids in his family, and he was barely 19 years old when he joined the Marine Corps.  He and Boyd were machine gunners in 2LT Henry Oliver’s machine gun platoon, and neither of them had ever played the game of horseshoes before their arrival on Guadalcanal.  Boyd recalled that each of them threw ‘ringers’ on their very first tosses, and ‘laughed like hell’ because they couldn’t possibly have done that on purpose, had they tried.  They were hooked on the game from the beginning, and passed much of their spare time tossing iron shoes at a stake in the ground. 
 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lt. Col. Earl Hancock Ellis (1880-1923): Marine, Visionary and Spy




Sixty-seven years ago, my late father was an eighteen year old Marine who survived the landing on Guam's Red Beach 2 with Able Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, the slaughter on Bundschu Ridge where only he and a dozen other Marines were not killed or terribly wounded, the largest and most savage Banzai charge of the Pacific war and fighting toward the northern jungles of Guam in the Marianas. Guam was American soil and had been taken by Japan hours after Pearl Harbor. From 1941-1944, America captured islands from Japan through amphibious assault. Vast fleets of ships brought troops to shore, covered by air and ship-to-shore bombardments from plans developed by a Marine officer in the 1920's. Though Guam was declared secured on August 10, 1944, fighting on Guam would continue after Japan surrendered.

Twenty one years before and a year before my Dad's birth, another Marine, a forty-three year old Lieutenant Colonel and the man who developed amphibious warfare doctrine, on authorized leave and in the guise of an American Businessman for the Hughes Trading Company died under mysterious circumstances on the Japanese controlled islands of Palau group in the Caroline Islands. Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis joined the Marines in 1900 in Chicago, Illinois, as a private. Ellis served on Guam and the Philippines and was commissioned as an officer in 1901.

From 1901 up to WWI, Pete Ellis earned a reputation as planning genius and as a violent alcoholic. Ellis proved, on Guam during an exercise, that heavy artillery could be successfully landed in an amphibious attack. During a very dull dinner with a Navy chaplain, Ellis livened things up by shooting the glasses off of the dinner table. The balance of genius and self-destruction kept Pete Ellis in the game.

During WWI, Ellis rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and directed operations and planning for the 4th Marine Brigade through the Armistice. For his courage and genius French Marshal Foch awarded the Marine Brigade honors still worn of the uniforms of certain regiments and said this of Pete Ellis, "From the 2nd to the 10th of October, 1918, near Blanc Mont, Lieutenant Colonel Ellis has shown a high sense of duty. Thanks to his intelligence, his courage and hi energy, the operations that this Brigade (Fourth Brigade, Second Division) took part in, have always been successful."

Military men should and do plan for the next war and Ellis was certain that America would face the growing ambitions of Japan in a vast and bloody conflict on the earth's greates ocean. The Pacific and Japan dominated Ellis' thoughts and energies, but beer and whiskey controlled his blood stream and toxified his vital organs. Lt. Col. was hospitalized several times for alcohol related illnesses immediately after the World War, but, in 1920,he energetically drafted a study for the necessity to plan for war across the Pacific Ocean.

"Operation Plan 712 - Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia", which underlined that in the events of hostilities of Japan, advanced bases would be required to support the fleet. To include that the Territory of Hawaii constituted the 'only' support for the United States Navy due to the lack of facilities in the Philippines and Guam. In since, Japan has already occupied the Marshall, Caroline, and the Palau Islands, which flanked the U.S. lines of communications in the region by more than 2,300 miles. Ellis's conclusion in his document predicted that Japan will initiate the war, and furthermore indicating that Japan would stay near their own territorial waters until encountered by the U.S. fleet. He also added that great losses to the Marine forces would occur during the amphibious assault in what he termed "ship-shore belt". He advised the war planners to avoid 'blue-water' transfers, to form task forces prior to leaving base ports, and not to divide units up among several transports.

'... a major fleet action would decide the war in the Pacific; the U.S. fleet would be 25 percent superior to that of the enemy; the enemy would hold his main fleet within his defense line; fleet unites must be husbanded; preliminary activities of the U.S fleet must be accomplished with a minimum of assets; Marine Corps forces must be self-sustaining; long, drawn-out operations must be avoided to afford the greatest protection to the fleet; sea objectives must include a fleet anchorage.'[
Wikipedia

It is at this point the Father of Amphibious Warfare asked for and received the permission of Marine Corps Commendant John Lejune and Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. to quietly resign his commission and travel incognito through Japan's expanding Pacific empire.

A recent biography and study of Lt. Col. Ellis by Dirk Anthony Balendorf and Merrill L. Bartlett probes the mysterious death of Ellis and the loss of the charts, maps, tide schedules, and reports that were confiscated by the Japanese upon his death.

Tomorrow, I will post more on this fascinating American.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Patrick Eugene Hickey 11/22/1924 -04/25/2010 - At Peace in Christ

Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Bronze Stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 4 Bronze Stars
Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Streamer w/1 Silver Star
World War II Victory Streamer





My brother Kevin called a little before 5AM to let me know that Dad had gone home to Christ. He was a tough man.

Things will not be so tough on him now, as he is in great company.


When things went very badly for my Dad I wrote this - it is not near enough, but will do for today.

Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Bronze Stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 4 Bronze Stars
Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Streamer w/1 Silver Star
World War II Victory Streamer

My brother called and told me that my sister had taken my Dad to Palos Hospital ER.

That morning, my Dad told my brother that he had 'kind of a stomach ache.' My Mom was in a rehabilitation facility in Palos Park, following a knee replacement. Mom swims and walks and her muscle tone is great. Dad has been without his girl for about a week and we thought maybe his stomach issues were concern.

Like most of the Irish and especially men of his generation, Dad believes that if one avoids doctors, one is well.

Not the case. Dad had a blocked colon and it had ruptured - probably days before. Dr. Kanashira, a beautiful Japanese American woman and his doctor, questioned Dad, 'How could you stand the agony?' With his usual understatement he replied, " I'm a Marine."

He is that. I learned from Dick Prendergast ( Leo '43) about ten years ago, just how much of a Marine this man is - They went into the Corps together at 17 years of age. My daughter Clare has a picture of my Dad, Dick Prendergast and the late Dick Burke, a Chicago Fire Captain as young tough Marines on Guadalcanal before Guam. They are skinny and hard looking eighteen year olds. Dad had just come back from Bougainville.

Dad was court-martialed for being AWOL after Boot Camp. He went home on liberty, but his train back to San Diego was side-barred. He was late getting back; court-martial ed and offered the choice of Navy prison or the Solomon Islands. He chose the later.

Without basic infantry training, Dad was sent to Guadalcanal in September of 1943 and trained as a machine gunner with veterans of that battle. He was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines of the 3rd Marine Division. He went to Bougainville in November, 1943 and fought there.

Dick Prendergast trained to be a Signal Corps officer with Joint Assault Signal Companies and arrived on Guadalcanal in 1944. He and my Dad met up again and Dick learned why Hickey went overseas and was veteran. . . .Please God, give him baseball at Billy Smith Field on 79th Street, smooch and hug time with his girl Ginny, play with his grandchildren and big icy pitchers of Keeley's Half and Half ( his favorite beer of all time - that and 'whatever you got') in the company of Donny, Bud, Jack, Bart, Sy and Mike his brothers; candy with Joan, Nonnie, Margarite, Mary, and Kathleen his sisters - his favorite and Irish twin Helen is still with us thank God; pay-back breakfasts with my wife Mary, hugs from his mother Nora and eternal peace with father Lawrence - with whom he never seemed to get along. He's earned this.

He has been up many hills and trails in the jungle, let him have a smooth path to Christ.