With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
E. B. Sledge
It was my privilege to assume command of the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine
Division (Reinforced) on 10 April 1944 during the final phase of the New Britain
campaign. New Britain was its second combat operation.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, two more campaigns lay before the battalion,
Peleliu and Okinawa. Each of them would be of greater intensity and extract a greater
cost than did the first two. And when the division departed New Britain for a “rest
camp” on Pavuvu in the Russell Islands, we began comprehensive training for what was
to become Operation Stalemate on Peleliu Island in the Palau Islands. That operation
was to receive little publicity or recognition, but it was certainly to be one of the
bloodiest and hardest fought in the Pacific war.