When marines belonging to the H&S, G, H and I batteries, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment left San Diego for combat war in the South Pacific that fateful July 1, 1942, they all thought they’d be home in time to celebrate New Year with their families.
How wrong they were!
What turned out as their “one year soldiering stint” went on for exactly two years and ten months of combat in the Pacific Theater. The battalion went through six racking battle stars and supported five different Marine divisions, not to mention the various US Army units, during combat landings in Tulagi, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam and the island of Iwo Jima.
And they reminisced their WWII battles together during their 27th annual reunion which took place last September 7.
Thinking No Closer than the Truth
Then 17-year-old Corporal Rolland Jay “Pat” Patrick of H Battery, 3/10 was among the battalion members who believed they’d be home in time for the holidays. He had just signed up a year earlier and had spent training with the 75mm pack howitzer battalion greenhorns after he left boot camp.
“I was still 16 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor,” he mused referring to that December 7, 1941 event which led then President Roosevelt to declare America’s formal involvement in the Second World War.