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The PJ Tatler

by
J. Christian Adams

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July 24, 2013 - 2:09 am

One of the most strategically significant battles of the Pacific began on this day, July 24, 1944 – the Battle of Tinian.  Nearly 30,000 Marines landed on this small island and faced over 8,000 Japanese soldiers.  Within a week, nearly every Japanese soldier would be dead, and Boeing’s new long range bomber, the B-29 Superfortress, would enjoy airstrips within range of the Japanese mainland, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

wade

The Battle of Tinian was part of the campaign in the Northern Marianas Islands.  The United States bypassed Japanese-held islands throughout the Pacific to secure these islands. By 1944, airpower had changed everything, and possessing islands across the Pacific was less important that possessing islands close enough for the B-29 to reach Japan.

The battle for Tinian island was preceded by the bloody battle of Saipan, just a few miles north of Tinian, where a staggering 3,400 Americans and 30,000 stubborn Japanese died.  The Battle of Guam occurred simultaneously and cost another 1,750 American lives.

Approximately 5,500 Americans died to secure the three Northern Marianas islands of Saipan, Tinian and Guam in the summer of 1944.

For this heavy price, the United States obtained a series of air bases to send swarms of B-29 Superfortressess to decimate the Empire of Japan into a forced surrender.  From Saipan, Guam and Tinian, B-29′s obliterated Japanese cities, one after another, after another, including the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945.  But even after the Emperor personally inspected the total devastation of Tokyo, he refused to surrender.

B-29s on Tinian in 1945

B-29s on Tinian in 1945

American prisoner of war Louis Zamperini tells the story of seeing graffiti scrawled across the ruins of buildings near the town of Omori where he was imprisoned: B Niju Ku.  From Unbroken:

The first character was simple enough, the English letter B.  Louie knew that niju meant twenty and ku meant nine, though he didn’t know that ku carried another meaning: pain, calamity, affliction.

B-29′s from Saipan, Tinian and Guam devastated Japan for months, yet the Japanese wouldn’t surrender.  So Enola Gay departed Tinian Island’s North Field en route to Japan in the dead of night on August 5, 1945 – and the world would never be the same.

North Field as it looks today.

North Field as it looks today.

Tinian is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, an American flagged territory.  Today, North Field from the air looks like a series of overgrown hedgerows – abandoned with only echoes of human involvement.  The bomb bay is preserved, but I had to ask someone what the strange formations were I had seen on final approach by air into Saipan.  The sacrifices made in the summer of 1944 ended a war, and changed the history of the world, in hindsight, for the better.

 

J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His New York Times bestselling book is Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department (Regnery).  His website is www.electionlawcenter.com. Follow him on Twitter @electionlawctr.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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MY uncle, Kenneth Mosty, of the 4th Marine Div. died on Tinian at the ripe old age of 19.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice tribute and Zamperini's book is fantastic. What a life he'd lived. And he's still with us at age 96, or thereabouts.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Its "Marine Corps". And you don't pronounce the 's'.

Sorry to be pedantic, but if the President can get ragged about it so can you.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of pedantic, you don't pronounce the "p" in Corps either ;-) And "its", as you used it, should have been "it's", meaning "it is".
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Sparky....I wasn't an English major...just a grungy old American First Sergeant ;) But, my VFW Post claimed a 31st ID veteran of the Bataan Death March and POW rescue later at Cabanatuan and also one of Merrill's Marauders from the China-Burma-India theatre; both were awesome, stand-up guys whose stories and reflections kept many a seasoned veteran almost in tears. Those veterans (WWII) are America's treasure and we are losing them rapidly to the ravages of time. God bless them all.

P.S. Our veterans of Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War are also getting older and older.

Remember BENGHAZI!

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ouch.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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