National Geographic : 1944 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine U. S. Coast Guard, Official It's Written on Their Faces! They Took Eniwetok in Six Hours Tired and grimy, Coast Guard men and Marines come back to their transport in an LCVP after wiping out the Jap defenders of Engebi Island. Here they show off their Jap flag and shout, "The Rising Sun has set on Eniwetok!" When the sea is rough men must be nimble in climbing out of bobbing boats. " 'We could spare a couple sacks of pota toes,' he'd reply. Of course, I'd cuss under my breath and move on to the next ship. Her captain would tempt us with some frozen beef or new phonograph records, and.then we would go right alongside and begin loading. Some times the skipper would invite me aboard for a shower and a good feed. Our crews were well taken care of, too. "Approaching Salerno, we passed in the dis tance the Isle of Capri. We didn't realize that big German Tiger tanks were lined up on a camouflaged road, waiting for us to get in close. All hell broke loose when they opened fire. An 88-mm. shell struck the tur ret of a Sherman tank on the deck right below me and blew it to pieces. "Our flag was split by shrapnel. The quar termaster replaced it with an old one and then sat down and calmly sewed it up. "I certainly was proud of my men during those hectic eight days when our LCT was bombed, strafed, and shelled daily. Shuttling between transport and beach, we often spotted a familiar LCT number and gave our friends a passing hail. Surprising how few casualties our landing craft had. "After our troops had enlarged their foot hold at Agropoli, south of Salerno, we went visiting ashore, while the Army unloaded our LCT. One Italian farm family I remember was particularly hospitable. They fed us a wonderful chicken dinner and served local wine. They assured us that they did not make the wine by trampling the grapes with their feet! We ate so much we got dopey. The old man and woman made us take a nap on the family's big bed." A Day with the LCTs and Rocket Boats Next morning I was at the dock early. Dozens of LCTs were bustling with life. Engines were coughing. Gray smoke hovered over the tightly packed craft.