Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, August 21, 2006 9:26 pm

Joe Rosenthal died Sunday at age 94

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 9:26 pm

You may not know his name.

But you know his work.



  1. Perhaps less well known was that one of the men captured by Rosenthal in that moment was John Bradley, a Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to the USMC. When I was being trained as a Corpsman ( 1953) our instuctors took care to point out this as a pride instilling fact. They also pointed out that of every 100 Navy and Marine wounded in WWII , 97 recovered . At the time an unequaled record. Navy Corpsman saved lives of Marines on the beaches they stormed. Many were POWs. Two received the Congressional medal of Honor during WWII. Wherever you find the Marines you will find Hospital Corpsman. On Tarawa ( Nov. 1943 ) 30 Corpsman were KIA and 59 wounded. Total US KIA during that assault was 1009. Funny thing there was some gumbling back home about the highnumber of casualties. The battle is chronicled in ” One Square Mile of Hell ” by John Wukovits ..

    I got somewhat of topic but felt the urge to say something personal regarding Rosentals photo.

    Proud to have worn the caduceus

    USN (July,1953-Sept.,1956

    Comment by Phred — Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:44 pm @ 3:44 pm

  2. And I’m proud to know you.

    The Tarawa Atoll invasion made a huge impression on me when I first read about it, in 1973 or thereabouts, in a history of WWII. It wasn’t just the sheer number of casualties, although they were appalling (and, in significant part, due to poor planning because the landing craft couldn’t “crawl” over the reef into the lagoon to land on Betio, the largest islet). It was also because of the many individual (and, in some cases, literally suicidal) acts of courage by the Marines, as well as the Navy coxswains piloting the landing craft and, yes, the Navy corpsmen who went ashore that day. One Marine, a former major-league pitching prospect, caught a couple of incoming Japanese grenades while still in his landing craft and hurled them back before one with a shorter fuse exploded in his hand. Another singlehandedly charged several Japanese pillboxes with demolitions and destroyed them before being shot dead. And on and on ….

    A thousand dead, 2,100 wounded in a single campaign. But Tarawa, which the Japanese commander had once boasted that a million men could not take in a thousand years, fell.

    In four days.

    On the last day, Marine Gen. Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith walked the island with his brother Julian, also a general, looking at all the Japanese fortifications and asked aloud how they could possibly have conquered the island. Then, the book says, they came to the seawall and looked out over the lagoon, where the bodies of hundreds of dead Marines (primarily 3d Battalion, 8th Marines) still floated. And “Howlin’ Mad” Smith stood there with tears pouring down his face and answered his own question: “Julian, how can such men be defeated?”

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, August 22, 2006 5:01 pm @ 5:01 pm

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