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Akins discusses how the heroes were the ones who gave their lives 10,000 miles from home.Of the 120 men in his special weapons company Akins was one of three of the original members remaining by the time they left China [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: after postwar occupation service].Akins attended Brady High School in Texas. During his senior year he and his classmates were given their diplomas early. Then ten of them went to join the Marines.When they got to the enlistment center there were about 100 men waiting to join the Marine Corps. After testing there were only ten of those men admitted into the Marine Corps. After boot camp there were only two of those ten left.The Marines drilled into the men that they were being given a one way ticket and that they wouldn't come back. It wasn't until after President Harry Truman dropped the atomic bombs and the men of Akins' division were sent to China to repatriate Japanese soldiers that he realized he might make it home and why the Marines had drilled that concept into them.The men wore one dog tag around their neck and one on their shoe laces. That way if you were killed and only a part of you was found, they would know that you were dead.Akins wanted to join the Marines because he was a tough kid and the Marines were the best trained and wouldn't let each other down. He enlisted in 1943 and was aware of the battles that had been fought already on Guadalcanal and Tarawa.Akins didn't like the enemy. They knew what they were up against. The Japanese were brutal, and he didn't mind killing the Japanese.
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