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American Military History Essay

American Military History Essay - History 110 American...

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History 110: American Military History Final Exam Essay #1 With the Old Breed “With the Old Breed,” written by E.B. Sledge, is a personal account of the fighting during World War II in the South Pacific, specifically at Peleliu and Okinawa. Sledge’s documented experience is surprisingly well written and extremely powerful because of his honesty. The events are also very well documented and detailed, which allows the reader to really get a feel of what was going on and how Sledge and other soldiers felt during their campaigns and service in the Marine Corp. Sledge, also known as Sledgehammer, decided to flunk out of school and join the Marines about a year after Pearl Harbor. Even though his family advised him to stay in college, Sledge quickly decided to join up because he didn’t want to miss his opportunity to fight the Japanese enemy. The book is a first hand account of a few of the battles in the South Pacific during World War II. “With the Old Breed” conveys a remarkable sense of realism. Sledge describes the feelings and emotions of himself and those around him, while giving the sometimes morbid details of life in the heat of battle. For example, the attack on Peleliu was vividly described. Sledge’s accounts of the battle are a great illustration to the actual battlefield. With his description of the fight, the reader can imagine the nervousness, adrenaline, and fear of the men. His account details the sound of explosions, the whistling of rounds flying down range, and the cries of dying and injured Marines. From the beach assault to
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making landfall, Sledge carefully describes every footstep. Sledge begins to learn that war changes a man forever. He witnesses a dead Japanese soldier, cut open like an animal carcass at slaughter and how a combat veteran comes upon the scene and without hesitation begins to pilfer the personal belongings of the dead man. Sledge is astonished at the indifference to a dead human being. He would become hardened later on as the battles became bloodier and the loss of friends weighs deeper on his mind. The Marine Corps basic disciplines helped Sledge overcome his mental and physical exhaustion and emotional pain to maintain his focus of fighting and survival. Sledge leaves Peleliu a very different man than when he arrived. Aside from all the stresses of war and the images of comrades dieing, he mentions certain serene and peaceful moments. On the fourth day of the attack while moving through the jungle, Sledge came upon two man o’ war birds.
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