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Sterling Mace at Peleliu and Okinawa

Discussion in 'Honor, Service and Valor' started by Sterling Mace, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Mr. Mace,

    I was just curious about Captain Haldane because he sounded like such an upstanding man, but I do realize that he was one of many such men whose great potential was lost and mourned. I am most anxious to hear about all of YOUR experiences and about the men you served with. All of you deserve to have your stories told and remembered, they are so important from an historical and individual standpoint. I am so pleased that we will get to hear yours - and so impatient to get my hands on your book!

    Thank you so much for answering my question.

    (Just an FYI, I recently "met" you on a different site where we were posting about Marcus Brotherton's book - and I was trying to find information about your book and that's how I found this forum because it directed me to your posts here. It's a great forum, so it was a bonus.)
     
  2. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Oh yes, I know who you are now. It's nice to see you here. I was going to add, but I forgot to, that I had a lot more involvement with Haldane's replacement as our company CO, Stumpy Stanley. He even sent me on a mission with a Major once. haha.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  3. pfcsouth

    pfcsouth recruit

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    It's nice to know there are treasures being found even today from families of WWII veterans. Living in Mesa AZ, we get a lot of winter visitors from up north in the cold country. I see many veterans wearing their WWII hats and I thank every one I come across.

    God bless them all and God bless America
     
  4. jaz478

    jaz478 Member

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    Mr Mace, I hope you are well. I can't wait to read your book. I am just finishing up "With the Old Breed". My dad was on Okinawa with the 713th Flame Throwing Tank Battalion and I am just beginning to appreciate the scope and intensity of the battle for Okinawa.
    My father said the tanks were no good without the infantry and those guys took a real beating protecting us. What was your experience with the flame throwing tanks?

    and According to Joe
     
  5. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Mr. jaz478,
    i didn't experience any flame throwing tanks on Okinawa. I did experience them on Peleliu, however...and boy was this tank something else. Those tankers must have been in a bad mood (who wasn't?) but they really let the Japanese have it.

    I really can't get into what happened that day, because it would spoil the book, but i became involved directly with the tanker's handiwork. You just can't imagine the heat coming off of that thing, and the smell of burning fuel. There were other smells too that werent very relaxing.

    But yes we had to support the tanks like they had to support us. I really feel for those guys. The Japanese would come out like ants and try to drop grenades down their hathches and we'd have to be alert and pick the Nips off for them.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  6. jaz478

    jaz478 Member

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    Thanks Mr Mace, keep us updated on that book release.

    Joe Jannuzzi
     
  7. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    Mr Mace, I'd like to Introduce myself and also say thankyou for all your posts so far - I've been off the site for a while so haven't seen some of the more recent items - in particular I'm really happy to hear your book is soon on its way - will put in instantly on my christmas list :)

    One question I have, which doesn't seem to have come up much so far (and I understand completely if you don't wish to answer) is what did you personally think of the Japanese? Obviously you had a pre-told propaganda story about them, and words from other troops, either good or bad, but what I would greatly like to hear about was your actual views about the Japanese at the time that you went into combat against them - not so much as a nation, but as soldiers. I have read many accounts of the British in Asia in the early part of the war, for instance where the general concept that the Japanese were 'small men wearing spectacles' etc. led to many of the British defeats, but have found little evidence of this being something that the average riflemen thought or believed or something that made any real difference - My own experiences of the late cold war in this regard have almost all been challenged by later discoveries, and I would really appreciate your views if it doesn't clash with the book story too much :)

    Many thanks
     
  8. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Nigel,
    That is a difficult question to answer. I don't feel that I went in with a lot of propaganda in my head. I grew up in Queens, New York, in the 1930s, where everyone mixed with everybody. Even the issue of blacks and their equality was not an issue. The way we looked at it, if you were Italian, Jewish, Black, Chinese or communist (yes, we had some communists a street over from me), we were all in the same boat. My parents never made race an issue, so their children never did either.

    Sure, as kids we made sideways jokes about other races, but there was no venom in them. It was all in fun. In fact, at one point in time I was the only white kid on an otherwise all black basketball team in Jamaica, Queens.

    So, I don't think I was predisposed to take in any propaganda. We had Japanese kids who went to my high school.

    But when you kill a man, in times of war...you can't allow yourself to kill with hate in your heart. You can hate what that man stands for, or hate the nation behind his bullets, or hate the fact that he's trying to kill you...but, instead you kill out of self preservation. You kill as a matter of course. That's what you're there for. You kill because your country asks you to...and that's good enough reason.

    Yes, I resented the Japanese man a whole hell of a lot for putting me on those rotten islands. But when I came home from the war, the blood on my hands was clear...because that's the way my conscience was.

    I hope I answered your question.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
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  9. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    Mr Mace,

    Thankyou very much - well put - only one other thing is if you think most of the men with you felt the same, or similar, or were there a good proportion who did soak up the propaganda, particularly before their first actual encounters with Japanese?

    I think it's fairly universal for troops to be told that they are better than the enemy and often to believe it, else it's even harder to get out of the trench, but did you and those you fought with really believe the Japanese to be less effective soldiers, before having fought them, or was their quite impressive early war record a source of some doubt?

    Very grateful for your thoughts.
     
  10. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Nigel,
    The thing that we thought were that they were tricky little bastards so you had better watch out and don't underestimate them. I don't think anybody respected them as soldiers. Maybe some did. But we also had the benefit of the Canal and Gloucester vets on Pavuvu who gave us the dope. Some of it was BS stories, but some of it was real. In the end, it didn't matter if it was BS or not...we listened, and it taught us, not respect, but don't let the Japanese fool you.

    Sure, we thought we were better than the Japanese. If a Marine came around with a sack full of gold bits he took from Japanese teeth, he might be a crazy bastard, but at least it showed he was a survivor..and if an asiatic Marine could survive, well, that meant I could too!

    Now that I think about it a little bit more, I think that propaganda was for the new recruit and the folks back home. We read Leatherneck magazine and the Marine Corps gazette, which had really good, practical information for the Marine, written by other Marines with experience.

    It might surprise you, but we didn't sit around Pavuvu talking about combat, or the Japanese, or anything like that. It was work parties, crap games, swimming, some lectures, and taking in a movie at the regimental or divisional theaters.

    So no...I don't think any Marine thought the Japanese were chumps. In the backs of our minds, whether we wanted to think about it or not, we knew good and well what happened on Tarawa and Saipan.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  11. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    Thankyou ever so much again - confirms what I heard from British veterans.
     
  12. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Mr. Mace,

    In reading your response to Nigel, I again feel gratitude for what men, like you, have done on our behalf. Some men have paid the ultimate sacrifice, they have given their lives in defense of our country, but never think for a moment that we don’t appreciate what it has been like for those of you that came home, that it was not all happiness and light, that you had to grapple with issues like the ones you so eloquently described.

    It’s interesting to me that you did not succumb to hating the Japanese, I would think that it would be so easy for it to happen when you are pitted against them in life and death situations, and I would think that most people did. Thank you for sharing.

    (Thanks for the great questions, Nigel.)
     
  13. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Clementine...I'm not an expert on the human mind, but sometimes I've wondered if the people who have killed with hatred are the ones who have come home with the worst nightmares, or this post traumatic things I've heard about. But then again, I made a very solid effort in times of combat just to do it...just to pull the trigger: no more, no less, and not think about what I've just done. It didn't always work that way in my head, but I tried.

    I made a comment elsewhere that I believe hatred is a learned experience, while killing is natural on all levels of nature. Every human is a killer, but not all human's are murderers. I believe the average joe in a combat situation either felt nothing, or felt deep regret for taking another man's life. For those who actually liked doing it? Well...what can I say? I don't know these men. I don't believe it was the average Marine.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  14. jaz478

    jaz478 Member

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    Mr Mace, I'm on a group site "World War II History Buffs" on Linked In. I put a plug in for your book and will let them know when it comes out.

    Joe Jannuzzi
     
  15. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Thank you, Joe. I'm not the most computer savvy fellow in the world, but how do you get on this Linked In?
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Mr. Mace, Linked In is a site that allows people to connect either in business, personal, or social areas. Many professionals use it as a way of maintaining relationships over long distances. Here is the link to it's start page Relationships Matter | LinkedIn.
     
  17. jaz478

    jaz478 Member

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    Mr Mace, her is the site: Relationships Matter | LinkedIn It's an excellent for getting in touch with old friends, business connections, making new connections, etc. Its an excellent source of networking and spreading the news of your book & its free. Check it out, if you need any help contact me Jaz478@aol.com The forum, WWII History Buffs is one of a thousand groups on almost anything, As you get on the groups you can invite them to join your network, then you will have access to all their connections. Its a lot easier once you go on the site then I'm probably explaining it. There are probably a lot of people on this forum that are also on Linked In.

    Joe Jannuzzi
     
  18. Margorita

    Margorita recruit

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    Where are the pictures?
     
  19. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Okay, I joined this link page...I'll try to fool around with it later. Maybe I'll get it working before St. Peter comes knocking. haha.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  20. Spitfire_XIV

    Spitfire_XIV Member

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    Dear Mr. Mace,

    I'm anxiously waiting to purchase your book and I have a quick question for you - have you watched "The Pacific" miniseries, specifically Sledgehammer and Snafu's experiences on Peleliu and Okinawa, and is it parallel to your own experiences of those battles?
     

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