The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorated on November 10 since 1775, the year the Continental Marines were established.
To show honor to our Marines – and to celebrate Veteran’s Day on November 11 – I’m offering an excerpt of a story of a vet I’ve interviewed.
Carl Scott’s full story of fighting in the Pacific is in my book We Defended Freedom: Adventures of World War II Veterans.
And be sure to check out my latest Youtube story from my books. Today’s post is that of Bonnie Calhoun Habegger who served as an Army nurse in Europe. Her story is from my book ‘Born To Be Soldiers: Those Plucky Women of WWII.’
Thanks to all of our vets for their service to our country. God bless our vets!
During the invasion of Cape Gloucester on Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific in early 1944, Carl Scott handled a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Another soldier carried extra magazines for the weapon. “We were told to take Hill 450 from the Japanese and expect high casualties,” said Scott.
Intent on performing his duties, Scott’s assistant accidentally pulled the pin on the phosphorous grenade in his pocket. The careless action made him a battle casualty.
Another tragedy occurred when Scott’s friend was shot by a sniper. “That was the worst day in the war for me,” he said.
Born in Elwood, Indiana, in 1924, Scott could have applied for a deferment to help his family farm. However, after graduating from Elwood High School in 1942, he enlisted in the Marines.
He had heard the radio broadcast announcing the Japanese bombing of American naval forces at a place called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Like most Americans, Scott had no idea where Pearl Harbor was.
But at high school Moore got an idea what the attack meant. “A teacher addressed us guys as ‘cannon fodder’,” he said.
Scott completed basic training at San Diego and received additional training at Camp Elliott in South Dakota and Camp Calvin Matthews at La Jolla, California training in infantry and battle conditions.
After being assigned to the 20th Replacement Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Scott sailed with troops to Melbourne, Australia.
Troops slept in tents. “We wore long johns and stayed warm with wood fires,” he said.
At New Guinea the Allies practiced climbing over the sides of ships with rope ladders for shore landings.
In fall 1944, upon securing several hills at Cape Gloucester, Allied troops island-hopped to Peleliu where the First Marine Division suffered more than 6,500 casualties — more than one-third of their division. “Out of 200 in my company only 13 survived,” said Scott.
When Scott was shot, he received morphine before being air lifted to Guam’s 111th Field Hospital. Scott was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained by the enemy during combat.
In early August 1945, after enduring the dropping of bombs by the U.S. on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese emperor surrendered. The long war was finally over.
Corporal Carl Scott was discharged in November 1945.
He used the GI bill to attend Purdue University in Indiana where he became an agricultural education teacher.
“I didn’t have to serve with my country during World War II, but I’m glad I did,” he said.