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Sterling Mace at Peleliu and Okinawa

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

  1. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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  2. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Mr. Mace,

    Since I am jumping in between Spitfire's question to you, I am including it in my post, since my question kind of goes along with that question.

    I am currently rewatching The Pacific because I just finished Sledge's book and wanted to pick up on some of the nuances I missed the first time around that the book helped define (and the inaccuracies). This time I picked up on Bill Leyden saying he was a rifleman, it specifically caught my attention because I thought I remembered you saying you knew Leyden much better than Sledge because you were both riflemen. Did I remember that right?

    (You are way ahead of me on the LinkedIn thing, I've avoided it because I feel like I'm "linked in" enough places! Kudos to you!)
     
  3. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Spitfire and Clementine...

    The thing about that Pacific TV show, enjoy it for what it is, which is good entertainment. But also understand that Eugene Sledge wrote a fantastic book, that is part memoir and part history of the battles he was in. Therefore, by nature, he uses a few stories here and there that were borrowed from other men in K Company. That does not make it any less his, nor does it make it more ours as a unit. So when you talk about parallels between what happens in the book or in the film, figure that some of these things were passed down second hand...namely from a few riflemen that assisted in helping him write parts of his book. You'll find our names in the acknowledgement of his book: Tex Barrow, Hank Boyes, William Leyden, Sterling Mace and Jim McEnery. All riflemen.

    To answer your question, Clementine, Billy Leyden didn't know Eugene Sledge from Adam during the war. It was Sledge who approached Leyden after the war because he found out that at one time Billy was the president of the New York chapter of the 1st Marine Division. While clarifying certain questions with Billy, Billy informed Sledge that both McEnery and I were also founding members of the chapter and that he should speak with us, as well. This was partly because McEnery and I were riflemen, but also because Billy was evacuated fairly early on Ngesebus (and didn't know all the details of what happened during the rest of Peleliu). It was Leyden who was in touch with Sledge after the book was written...and that's why Leyden was probably in the film, because Sterling Mace, Jim McEnery, Tex Barrow, and Hank Boyes werent used cars salesmen like Billy (true story). haha.

    But yes, me, Billy Leyden, Seymour Levy and Larry Mahan all arrived together at Pavuvu in May 1944, a part of replacement battalion 43, a full month before Sledge arrived in replacement battalion 46.

    I thought it was a little humerous though that in the film before the actors cross the airfield they call out "3d platoon!" and Billy Leyden says his goodbyes to the mortars. Well, Leyden was in the 1st platoon. Sterling Mace was in the 3rd platoon. haha

    Sterling G. Mace
     
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  4. Spitfire_XIV

    Spitfire_XIV Member

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    At least you got a mention of some sort Mr. Mace :)
     
  5. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Well, I just want to go on record that I was not comfortable talking about the war until around 2006 after my wife passed away. 60 years of marriage. So, if I had wanted any recognition I would have sought it out. I'm pleased to be doing what I'm doing now. I'm also very thankful for Eugene Sledge opening the door, not only K/3/5, but also what we did in the Pacific as a whole. I wish I had known Sledge better. He seemed like a really nice guy. The only thing I remember from Sledge during the war is him standing in the company street with his buddies on Pavuvu. He looked a lot like Sgt. Chase. I recall somebody saying his name on Peleliu, but not the moniker "Sledgehammer." I never heard that during the war.

    I just wanted to be extremely clear on these points.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
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  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Mr. Mace, I thoroughly enjoyed Sledge's book, and I fully expect to enjoy yours as well. It will help to give a greater understanding of the work done by the Marines, not only in these specific battles, but in the PTO as a whole. Please accept my congratulations on your decision to record your experiences. Too many others, who had equally compelling stories, didn't do so, and we are the poorer for it.
     
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  7. Radar4077

    Radar4077 Member

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    I have just read and finished Sledge's book a while ago, and have become increasingly interested in the Pacific battles. From what I have read, you guys fought a tough one, and I appreciate and honor you for that. There is no way America could ever repay for what you have done. To all you Marines and soldiers, I thank and salute you guys.
     
  8. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Eugene Sledge talks about a working detail he and some of the guys attended on Pavuvu. Their task was to clean out 55 gallon drums that previously contained av fuel and oil. They did not know what the drums were to be used for. They quickly figured it out on Peleliu when they tasted the water and vowed not to slack off on any more work details. Eugene also mentioned that he could not stand even the sight of a coconut after Pavuvu. Thanks again for your service, Mr. Mace.

    Richard
     
  9. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Yes, that is correct. If I were Sledge I would have never said a word about that. That way we could not have blamed them for the foul water. But he did...and so we did.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  10. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Hello Mr. Mace,

    Did you know of a 2nd LT., nicknamed Shadow? He was promoted to K Co. Commander around the time of Wana Ridge. Mr. Sledge and his fellow Marines sure did not care for his brand of leadership. Sledge's approximate quote, "He looked like a walking Irish Pennant, a sloppier Marine never served in the 1ST Division of the US Marine Corps." Mr. Sledge was always a very fair man as far as I can tell. So the actual description including more descriptive adjectives was probably omitted.

    I really feel for all of you guys as those ridges and valleys seem like the lowest level of Dante's Inferno. As a former Swabbie I can't imagine what it must have been like to man the deck guns against the Kamikaze or try to tough out the advances up those hills on Okinawa with the Marines. God Bless all of you guys!

    Have a Great Memorial Weekend, Mr. Mace.

    Richard
     
  11. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Hello Mr. Mace,

    I hope you don't mind, but I saw the photo of you in your dress blues on your facebook page, and decided to "clean it up" a bit by removing the scratches. The completed result is below. Again, I hope you don't mind. If you object, I will happily remove the picture with no questions asked. Alternatively, I would be honored to "clean it up" some more, if you so desire.

    Original:

    [​IMG]

    Edited:

    [​IMG]

    Best Regards and happy Memorial Day.
    Alan
     
  12. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    What's the equivalent of an online whistle? I'd be using it now. You look mighty handsome in your dress blues, Mr. Mace!

    (Nice job with the photo, Alan.)
     
  13. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Thank you.
     
  14. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Thank you much, all. I haven't seen that photo look that good in a long time (maybe ever). Happy memorial day to everyone.

    Sterling G. Mace

    P.S. if i looked that good again, i would never come home. thank you, Clementine

    mace
     
  15. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    That's not a problem - I'm just glad to be putting my free time to a good use!

    Regards,
    Alan
     
  16. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Alan,
    I asked my co-writer to have a look at this and I think this might be the best look for this photograph. We said we wanted to keep it a little rough, but something had to be done. A previous attempt looked like hell.

    I'll tell you what, I'll give you credit if we can use it.

    Sterling G. Mace
     
  17. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Saw the photos of you at the premiere of The Pacific on your Facebook page and you outshone the stars of the series. (Most of us feel it's our veterans, like you, that are the real "stars" anyway.) :)
     
  18. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Thanks again Mr. Mace. I can "backtrack" a bit to make it look a bit "rougher" if you would prefer. If you like this route, I am thinking I can leave the "big scratch" in the lower right corner, and a few of the smaller ones on your dress blues, but clean up the area around your face. This would give it the "aged" look, but it would still be a good quality photo.

    This is just a hobby of mine -- pretty much just something to occupy my time, but having a credit would be excellent.
     
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  19. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Nice going Alan. Really good job.
    Happy Memorial Day.
     
  20. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    Alan,
    How could I get you a bigger photograph to work with? They are telling me it needs to be a certain size to be reporduced in the book.

    Sterling G. Mace
     

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