with the old breed #3

with the old breed #3 - American Military History With The...

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American Military History With The Old Breed: Critique and Review With the surprise attack on the military facilities at Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States became embroiled in one of the most destructive wars in history. In E.B. Sledge’s book, With The Old Breed , the author, a Marine veteran of both Peleliu and Okinawa details his personal experiences during two of the bloodiest campaigns fought in the Pacific theater. As an enlisted man in the rank and file of the front line Marine units, Sledge conveys what the war was like from the perspective of the common American soldier, addressing every aspect of a Marine’s life in a combat situation, ranging from battlefield hygiene to coping with emotional distress. The reader is able to follow Sledge through his tenure as a WWII Marine from his V12 officers’ training program, to boot camp, and finally, his battle campaigns. The author begins his narrative with an introduction to his life towards the beginning of the war. Sledge had been attending Marion Military Institute and decided to volunteer in 1942, over the protests of his family. He then begun officers’ training at Georgia Tech; Sledge found the concept of attending school with a war raging to be tedious and unnecessary when his only intention was to enter the war as soon as possible, and for that reason dropped out of the training program to enlist immediately. At this point, reader is made to distinguish Eugene Sledge somewhat from the other enlisted men that he discusses, as Sledge had all the makings and potential to be an officer in a position of authority, instead choosing to be just another enlisted man. After leaving Georgia Tech, Sledge is sent to Boot Camp in San Diego where he is properly introduced to the Marine Corps way. Although he is not timid to admit how arduous the training is, Sledge
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is quick to acknowledge his training’s utility in the field and its role in helping him survive two of the bloodiest Pacific campaigns. Having graduated from Boot Camp, Sledge is next sent to Camp Elliot for infantry training. Infantry training is a completely distinct experience than Boot Camp as the training is much less psychological than it is practical, and is held in a much more relaxed environment when compared to Boot Camp filled with screaming drill instructors. At Camp Elliot, Sledge familiarizes with the standard weapons and gear of an infantryman, in addition to specialized training as a 60 mm mortarman. Throughout this chronicle of training, the reader is suddenly inundated with military terminology, which at times can be somewhat overwhelming for civilians. The reader also gets the first tastes of the racism towards the enemy that permeates the entire book. Objectively, this racism seemed to help the marines to dehumanize the enemy with the intention of differentiating the killing of a Japanese soldier from ordinary murder. In some respects the racism serves an unfortunate, yet practical purpose in the traumatic situations that Sledge endures with
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2011 for the course HIST 110 taught by Professor Sagear during the Fall '08 term at Lehigh University .

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with the old breed #3 - American Military History With The...

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