Segment 2


Some of the units that formed on the east coast took the Panama canal to the west coast. When they got to San Diego that is where the Fourth Marine Division was formed. They became the first battalion of the 24th Marines [Annotator's Note: 24th Marine Regiment] of the Fourth Division. The training was repetitive and tough. It was all good for Mervosh because they learned how to fight and win battles. He believed that he was being overtrained.They were in a training routine and had done so many amphibious landings off of the west coast that when orders were issued they did not think much of it. One morning however they were told that they were going to the Marshall Islands which was Japanese mandated territory. They were the first outfit that went directly from the United States into battle. Every island that Mervosh and his men took was never recaptured.He was excited and nervous to land on Namur [Annotator's Note: Roi-Namur, during the Battle of Kwajalein in February 1944]. Mervosh was a machine gunner at the time. Mervosh's first encounter with a Japanese soldier occured on Namur. He was in a trench and looked over to see a Japanese soldier with a fixed bayonet. He shot the man thinking he was out of ammunition but when he checked the dead mans rifle there were three shots left. Mervosh thinks that he dishonored the Japanese code and should have fought the man, but in retrospect he is glad he shot him.Shortly after this the Marines blew up a hut that they thought housed the enemy, it turned out to be an ammunition dump as well. A marine tossed a couple of satchel charges into the building. Mervosh thought the entire island was going to sink after the explosion and a lot of his men were wounded but he was in one piece. The hole was deep enough that it quickly filled up with seawater.After the battle was over on Namur they were evaluated by their commanding officer who had about five minutes of positive things to say followed by an hour of what they did wrong. After the battle they went back to training.The landing at Namur was automatic to the men. They had done it so many times that everyone knew what job they had to do and how to do it.


All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at