Segment 10

Annotation

The second day they were run out by the Japanese again [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: On Okinawa, April 1945]. Deen notes that it felt bad to retreat but they were always ready to go the next day. They eventually got the flamethrower tanks they requested and the entire town they were trying to take was burned. Deen was wounded on the 21st of May. From May 1st until when he was wounded, he engaged in hill hopping. He recalls one of his squad members getting killed and slumping over dead in his hole. Okinawa was a drawn out campaign. One day they lost forty men and within a week they had forty new recruits. Deen was a squad leader at this point. He recalls having to meet new people constantly. His nickname was the watchtower because he was tall. At night on the hills the Japanese would yell things like, "Marine you die." Deen would respond to these threats in Japanese.A lot more men from K Company were killed on Okinawa then on Peleliu because of the long drawn out nature of the conflict. There was also a constant stream of reinforcements. Deen was hit near a small town called Wana. He later read that the fiercest fighting of World War II took place at Shuri Castle and Wana ridge. The Japanese were firmly entrenched. He was told after he got hit that after they took Shuri castle, a Confederate flag was hoisted over Shuri castle. They used a lot of phosphorous bombs while attacking Wana. When the smoke obscured the men, a few would run up under cover of the smoke. Deen had been on the island roughly fifty one days before he was wounded. They had no socks or underwear. On Okinawa it was possible to dig a foxhole; however the rain made living in a foxhole difficult. He remembers shoveling water out of his hole with his helmet. They were hungry and blistered. Sometimes they ate hot food but most of the time they could not build a fire to do it. They lived like hobos but they fought for their lives.

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