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oldbreed - Matt Berger History 110 With the Old Breed Book...

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Matt Berger History 110 With the Old Breed Book Review: With the Old Breed With the Old Breed is a powerful memoir written by Marine veteran E.B. Sledge. Eugene Bondurant Sledge was born in 1923 in Alabama. He was attending a two-year military school when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Sledge dropped out after a year, not wanting the war to end before he could see fighting, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December of 1942. Sledge expresses the enthusiasm and excitement he felt as he traveled across the country by train to begin infantry training in California. The contrast between his teenage naiveté before war and his mature attitude upon his return to the States is startling. In his book Sledge made sure to keep his story honest and real, and in doing this he has shared with the rest of America the brutal and humbling reality of Marine combat in the South Pacific. Sledge tells of his infantry and mortar training, the bloodiest battle in WWII, and all of the horrors he endured. From beginning to end, With the Old Breed is truly a journey that takes the reader far from home and back again. Sledge, also known by his Marine comrades as Sledgehammer, began his three years in the service with infantry training in San Diego. For the next year and a half he was berated and whipped into shape in order to become a member of the elite USMC. He formed close friendships and learned the meaning of hard work, but never regretted it; for Sledge, becoming a Marine to fight for his country was the only thing he wanted to do. He did not and could not appreciate the horrors that lay ahead, only fearing that he would be a coward when it was time for him to fulfill his duty. As he entered battle the reader
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can sense the shift from fear of letting himself down to the fear of letting his comrades down. This change occurs because of the close bond that the Marines formed while fighting and dying together. It is known as “esprit de corps” and can be considered one of the main concepts that Sledge contemplates while in the South Pacific. This unbreakable bond is not unique to the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa but rather is a tradition passed through the generations of Marines who have fought and died together. Sledge’s desire to be a part of the “Old Breed” is realized when he was assigned to the 3 rd Battalion, 5 th Marines (3/5), who have a history that dates back to World War I.
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