Tue Sep 2 05:08:20 2003
Crowe on Red-3,courtesy of Michael Graham's 'Mantle of Heroism':
Crowe's landing craft came under fire coming in--Marines dived for cover but not Crowe who remained standing on the foredeck."The boys all hunched low on the troop deck--all except 'Big Jim'.He remained upright,staring angrily at the positions of the Jap guns."
Crowe's LVCP grounded to a halt five hundred yards from shore,the coxswain frozen in fear.Crowe shouted at him to drop the ramp but to no avail.Crowe ordered his men over the sides.1st Lt Fagan yelled out to Crowe that perhaps they should return to the transport for a coffee break if things did not work out.Crowe burst out laughing and continued wading ashore.
Crowe encountered some men streaming back past him,going in the opposite direction.He turned them around with "the sheer force of his personality"(plus I'd say his sharp tongue).
Fifty yards from shore a crippled LVT was reached,the driver trying to coax it ashore.Crowe and his party sheltered behind it as it reached the beach.It then ran over a mine and was waylaid.Crowe was pitched back into the surf by the force of the explosion but otherwise unharmed.
Crowe ashore 0940 hours.He later estimates the 2/8th Marines casualties as just 25 killed and wounded in the landing.
In 40 minutes the 2/8th had established a hundred-yard front between the sea and the seawall.Crowe was personally committed to getting the attack moving.Ignoring enemy gunfire he paraded defiantly up and down the beach..."move out...get off your asses and over that goddamm wall!"
Few dared to defy Crowe's words or risk his wrath;he clutched his swagger stick in one hand,shotgun in the other.Recalls one marine:"I wasn't about to try and swim away.I figured if I tried to,that old tiger would beat me to death with that cane of his."
The above is a post by Peter Hayes at the Tarawa Talk Forum