with the old breed #1

with the old breed #1 - Hist 110 December 9 2008 Prof...

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Hist 110 December 9, 2008 Prof. Saegar With The Old Breed: Critique and Review On December 7, 1941 the United States was blindsided by a surprise Japanese attack on our base at Pearl Harbor. This attack led to the deployment of American troops in two foreign theaters, one in Europe, one in the Pacific. In E.B. Sledge’s book, With The Old Breed , the author, a Marine veteran of both Peleliu and Okinawa details his personal experiences throughout two of the bloodiest campaigns fought in the Pacific theater. Sledge, an enlisted Marine battling on the front lines, reveals what the war was like from the view point of the average American soldier. He is careful to address every facet of a Marine’s life while under siege and in a combat situation, touching on details such as battlefield cleanliness and emotional stresses. Sledge enables the reader to watch over his shoulder through his tenure as a WWII Marine from his V12 officers’ training program through boot camp and into his actual combat scenarios. The author begins his narrative with an introduction to his life towards the beginning of the war. Sledge was a student attending Marion Military Institute and made the decision to enlist in 1942, despite the pleas of his family to not go. He then began officers’ training at Georgia Tech, which he felt was a waste of his time as he desperately wanted to enter the war as soon as he could. For that reason he decided to drop out of the training program to enlist immediately. Sledge makes it clear that he wasn't just a regular enlisted man, he had the potential to be an officer but made the choice to be on the front lines with the rest of the grunts. After leaving Georgia Tech, Sledge attends Boot Camp
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in San Diego where he is thoroughly put through the rack, the Marine Corps way. Sledge acknowledges how difficult and arduous training was however he proclaims that it was entirely useful skills and knowledge necessary for survival in the field. Having graduated from Boot Camp, Sledge is next sent to Camp Elliot for infantry training. Infantry training is different than experiences he had at Boot Camp as the training is much less psychological and is more practical. He enjoyed a much more eased environment compared to the constant demands of the Boot Camp Drill Sargent. At Camp Elliot, Sledge becomes acquainted with the uniform weapons and gear of an infantryman, while also receiving specialized training for the use of the 60 mm mortar. While describing the experiences throughout training, Sledge introduces the reader to a host of new military terminology, which can prove to be quite confusing at first. It is during camp that many of the soldiers begin reinforcing racial stereotypes of the average pacific man. Dehumanizing the enemy provided the Marines with a method to differentiate the killing of an enemy Japanese soldier from the killing of a civilian. Throughout the book racism serves as a venting mechanism for the troops, especially
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with the old breed #1 - Hist 110 December 9 2008 Prof...

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