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Who’s heard of the 1st Marine Division ? Who knows that it fought alone on Guadalcanal against the Jap- anese under particularly difficult conditions? Who knows that it wiped out the Japanese garrisons on Peleliu and Cape Gloucester? Who knows that it played an essential part in the Battle of Okinawa? Who knows that 22 of its men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor while other divisions, like the 82nd and 101st Airborne who have been the subject of dozens of publications, only won three apiece? The 1st Marines Division indeed numbered in its ranks soldiers of exceptional mettle, among whom the most famous was without contest John Basilone. Each of its battles ended in victory and it is no exaggeration to describe it as the best division in WWII.
This book fills an unbelievable gap in military writing, paying tribute as it does with its 800 mostly unpublished photos to this elite unit made up of volunteers with its exceptional esprit de corps. After the “Marines at Iwo Jima”, Charles Trang invites us once again to plunge into the heart of these terrible battles in the Pacific, a trip with sometimes cruel and terrifying documents, but which are indispensable for safe- guarding the memory of these men.