Eugene Bondurant Sledge was born on November 4, 1923 in Mobile, Alabama and was the son of a local physician, Edward Simmons and Mary Frank Sturdivant. After Graduating high school he entered Marion Military institute and the enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in December 1942. He did his basic training at the Marine Corps recruiting in San Diego, Camp Elliot, New Caledonia and on Pavuvu.
In training, Sledge was taught how to handle weapons, how to shoot, the different noises each weapon makes, marching, and basic discipline. Sledge was later assigned to Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Regiment, First Marine Division and when he was given a choice for what weapon he wanted to specialize in he chose the 60mm mortar and was trained on how to use this weapon by one of the sergeants. They learned how to load, shoot and clean the 60mm mortar.
The opportunity for Sledge to use his weapon came sooner than expected. With World War II going on, he was bound to join the war eventually. The men were scheduled to leave to war on September 15, 1944. Before D-day arrived, Sledges Lieutenant warned the men on what they will expect when landing on Peleliu. He told them “to remember what you were taught, keep your heads down going in on the amtrac and to get off the beach as fast as you can because the Japs will plaster it with everything they got.” On September 15th, 1944 Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Regiment, First Marine Division landed on Peleliu.
As soon as the men got off the amtrac “a burst of machine gun fire with hot tracers snapped through the air at eye level” almost grazing sledges face which caused him to move his head and lose his balance falling forward onto the sand and the only thing he could hear was the screaming noise in his head telling him to get off the beach. When the men moved off the beach and began walking into the open field they stumbled across dead Japanese and that is when Sledge witnessed something he never thought would happen,...