Early Life

From Pearl Harbor to Parris Island

Crossing the United States

The Troopship to Guadalcanal

Firing the 81mm Mortar on the Tenaru River

Battle of the Tenaru River

Going Home and Leaving Sledge on Pavuvu

Back Home in Mobile

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Sidney Philips was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. He grew up on Georgia Avenue in midtown. Eugene [Annotators Note: Eugene Sledge] lived two blocks away on Montawk Avenue. They went to the same grade school. Sledge missed two years of grade school because of rheumatic fever. In his first year of high school, the family moved out to Springfield Avenue in a beautiful old home named Georgia Cottage. The Sledge family did not alter it but decorated it with antiques. Sledge grew up in that home. He had a horse and hunting dogs. Most of the out buildings were still in existence including the old slave buildings. It was heaven on Earth to all of his friends because they would ride horses across 40 acres that went back to a creek. They were all Civil War buffs and Mobile was a great place to be a Civil War buff. There were two old battlefields in Baldwin County right across the bay and they could ride their bicycles there. There were no houses on the battlefield. It was just piney woods with cattle roaming around. The boys would hunt for Civil War relics. They would find bullets and fragments of cannonballs. They had known which regiment had been where. It was a glorious time to grow up in. Close by there was a creek of cold, clear water that they could swim in and sometimes they would spend the night there. They would hunt relics and swim and have a glorious time that boys would. Sledge's father bought him an old Model A roadster with a rumble seat. They would tour the region in that car. Sledge was the only one with a driver’s license. Phillips had a very happy childhood growing up in Mobile. Even though Sledge was two years older than him Phillips finished high school in 41 and Sledge in 42. Sledge had missed two years of school. The age thing then, if you were ahead of someone in school, it was a whole different world that you lived in. That was not true for Sid and Eugene because they were neighbors and such close friends. They grew up together and did everything together. They were both in the same class. Sledge was the best man at his wedding. After the war, Phillips was married and Sledge was not. Sledge would come over and they would sit and talk till two in the morning. Mary would come out and tell Sledge to go home. She knew it is rude but was tired of hearing him. Phillips remembers paying attention to the news in the way most kids do. They knew a war was raging in Europe. They were interested in the R.A.F and that sort of thing. He had cousins in England who his father used to communicate with. Phillips remembers receiving letters from them. They knew England was on the ropes. He thinks everyone believed that we would be at war because of World War 1. We were drawn into World War 1 and that we would be drawn into World War 2. We would resist but eventually we would be drawn in. His father was very patriotic. His father had been in World War I as a second lieutenant and was severely wounded during the Argonne campaign. His battalion surgeon happened to be a Mayo Clinic trained neurosurgeon and was the only reason his father survived. Anything related to patriotism, his father would be in the middle of. His father was a big member of the American Legion and was commander of the big post in Mobile for quite a few years. They decided to have a drum and bugle corps in 1940. Phillips and Sledge both played the snare drum in the Murphy High School Band. His dad asked them if they would teach old veterans to play the snare drum. They must have had a band of 40, with 20 drummers and 20 guys with trumpets. Phillips and Sledge were the instructors for the snare drum unit. They tried but the veterans were terrible. They played two pieces, Stars and Stripes Forever and Semper Fidelis. Phillips and Sledge paraded with the old veterans on the Fourth of July. They got lots of applause but they were awful.

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Sidney Philips remembers hearing about Pearl Harbor while sitting at a drug store counter on the corner of Dauphin and Ann Streets and drinking a vanilla milkshake with his friend W.O Brown. Eventually he would enlist with him. Brown was a year behind Phillips in high school. A lady busted in the side door and screamed turn on the radio. He had a radio behind the soda fountain and he turned it on and they were talking about Pearl Harbor on every station. There must have been 15 people in the drug store and everyone was concerned. No one knew where Pearl Harbor was except him. He was able to show off and tell everyone it was in Hawaii. He knew this because he had two uncles in the navy and one had been stationed at Luke Field up there at Pearl Harbor. He knew where Pearl Harbor was and he felt important because he could show off his knowledge by telling everyone where it was. Most people had never heard of Pearl Harbor. He remembers the news being very sketchy. It did not tell what ships had been hit or the extent of the damage. Women began to cry when the announcer said that there were thousands of casualties. The soda jerk suggested to Phillips that they go join the navy the following day. Phillips agreed. That was his response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The men decided to meet at Bienville Square which is the center of the old downtown. Bienville Square has this fountain which is the size of the room. When you meet someone at the fountain you can see in every direction. That was a common meeting place. They met and walked over to the federal building where all the recruiting stations were. They went in the front door and there was the navy office and the line went all the way out the front door, down the steps, down St. Joseph Street, and down St. Louis Street for two hundred yards. The line was 300 yards long and this was eight in the morning. The boys thought they would have been the early birds. They thought no one would be there. There was no line for the Marines and the army line was down the other hall. The boys walked up to the head of the navy line to see what was happening. They were approached by a Marine recruiting sergeant who asked them if they wanted to kill the enemy. They responded with yes but they were going to join the navy. The recruiter told them to step into his office and talk. He told them that they could not get in the navy because their parents were married. They started laughing. He continued to talk and told them a bunch of lies about where they would be training. He said it would be a beautiful place on the coast on the beach. They ended up agreeing but were both under age. They had to beg their parents to sign the papers. The recruiter told them to come back the day after Christmas. They had talked there folks into signing. They left Mobile on the 30 December [Annotators Note: 30 December 1942] to go to Birmingham where they were sworn in. When he got to Birmingham there must have been a total of 50 recruits. Tatum was one of them. That is where Phillips met Wes Tatum [Annotators Note: John Wesley Tatum]. They became close friends. They arrived at Parris Island on 31 December 1941. They were the last platoon of 1941. When they got to Parris Island they arrived with five full cars of recruits. Phillips thinks the Marine Corps staggered it so they would have what amounted to a battalion coming in on a certain day and then a week later another battalion would come in. After the war, Phillips and his father were sitting on the front porch after supper one night and Eugene [Annotators Note: Eugene Sledge] was there because they basically lived together. Eugene asked Phillips’s dad what he thought of the Marine Corps in World War 1. His dad said they were closely associated with some units. He said the army always noted how disciplined the Marine Corps was and how well the Marines knew their weapons. He said the Germans dreaded their deadly accurate rifle fire. He was always happy the Marines were on his side. They knew there flank was safe if the Marines were there. His father had a very high opinion of the Marine Corps. His father knew he would be well trained and that is why he signed the papers. His father told him that if he was well trained he would have a better chance for survival. They had gotten a lot of army replacements who had never picked up a rifle. According to Phillips, Parris Island can only be described as a contrived nightmare. Recruits feel that the world is about to come to an end but that is exactly what they needed. The Marine Corps has put a good deal of studying into Parris Island over the last 200 plus years. He has no criticism of Parris Island. It was hard. The D.I.’s were tough and mean but he did not get the feeling that they enjoyed their job or that they were cruel and sadistic. The message was to do it their way and they would quit harassing you. It was amazing to see a platoon gradually becoming a machine with everyone doing exactly what the instructors wanted. Phillips learned a lot of good lessons in the Marine Corps, particularly at Parris Island. If someone can live through Parris Island they can live through anything. Phillips did not get a picture of the men he graduated with at boot camp it was raining too hard the day the photograph was to be taken. They went through boot camp without any pictures being made. Phillips does not even have a roster of his boot camp platoon. Brown and Deacon Tatum were there but he cannot be sure of any others. His platoon was number 277. Pomroy [Annotators Note: Frank Pomroy] might have been in his platoon. Stewart may have been but he just does not know.

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Sidney Philips remembers the whole platoon being sent away to Lejeune. Most of the men were put into the 1st Regiment. He does not know if Lucas, Ransom, and Doyle had been in his platoon at Parris Island. He would love to get a roster of his platoon but he does not know if they have one. They [Annotators Note: the US Marine Corps] keep accurate records. They arrived at about midnight and unloaded from the train. They unloaded next to a warehouse then marched over to an area where they were interviewed by enlisted sergeants. Then they were assigned to different units. W.O. [Annotators Note: W.O. Brown], Deacon Tatum [Annotators Note: John Wesley Tatum], and himself had become real close friends by then. They managed to stay together by shuffling around. They decided that they liked the idea of artillery better than machine guns. Deacon Tatum was nothing but a PFC for a long time. Deacon was five years older than Phillips and was considered more mature than most of the group. It was hard to get any kind of promotion because they were considered to be kids. Plus, their lieutenant was from Massachusetts. A large number of boys in the group were from Massachusetts too so he had a geographical friendship with them. If they said they were from this, that, and the other town he knew exactly where it was. That was Benson. Benny was a sergeant, not a lieutenant. One morning they decided they needed lieutenants and they made Benny a lieutenant. He was a good one. Benny had tattoos up and down his arms. He had been in the Marine Corps for about six years. He had been to the Philippines and all over. Elzoro [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] received a package from home with a camera in it. Cameras were forbidden so Elzoro did not say that he received it from home. He said he stole the camera from some army guys and he was going to take everyone’s picture. So, he took all these pictures. They all forgot about it. Phillips did not see the pictures for 25 years until he brought them to a reunion after the war. Elzoro was the source of all of those pictures. Benson was their censor but he looked the other way. Close to 1 June [Annotators Note: 1 June 1942] the men began to head west. On Memorial Day they were given a 72 hour pass. They were due back on Monday at noon. Very few of the guys made it. To go from Camp Lejeune to Mobile and back to camp in 72 hours is almost impossible, especially when there was no transportation besides hitchhiking. They hitchhiked to Mobile and back and got back in late afternoon. They were due back at noon and they were six or seven hours late. They did not court martial them or anything else, they looked the other way. Camp Lejeune at the time was very isolated. There would be one bus from the north daily and one bus from the south daily. Phillips had to go over to Greensboro to catch a train. There was no way to get out of Camp Lejeune besides hitchhiking. The guys would line up by the hundred out there hitchhiking. They picked us up right there at Lejeune. They brought the train inside the base and beautiful Pullman cars. His battalion left as a unit on one troop train. There was a troop train for 1st battalion and another for the 3rd battalion. Phillips was in the 2nd battalion. The day he left it was obvious it was his battalion on the troop train that was leaving. His mortar platoon was in the last car of the train. Phillips, Deacon, and W.O had the last unit. The two lowers and an upper made a unit of three bunks. Deacon and Phillips shared the lower while W.O had the top. Attached to his car was a caboose for the train crew to ride on. They could leave their car and walk into the caboose which they loved to do. They would ride back there with the train people a whole lot. They have that little place where you can sit up in the tower in the caboose and see out. They rode across most of the country in the caboose. It was his first time going cross country. It was the first time most of those Marines had ridden any great distance on a train. Phillips rode the train short distances but never that long before. There were no interstate highways. There was almost no transportation besides the railroad. Everything went everywhere by the railroad. They went to Frisco.

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Sidney Philips remembers the trip overseas as sitting around the boat chewing fingernails. Life aboard a troopship is bad. They were packed in like sardines and went week after week after week with no fresh water showers and no way to wash their clothes. Two meals a day and the food was nothing but creamed chipped beef on toast which was known as S.O.S. They had to stand in line for four hours to even get that and it would be a very small helping of it. They nearly starved to death on the troopship. They were all happy to get off the troopship even if that meant they would be killed. They were not nervous, they just wanted off of that troopship. They had gone over the plan for Guadalcanal in training. The training taught them to get off the beach. They were to go ashore, get off the beach, and spread out as much as possible. They had made practice landings at Onslow Beach, North Carolina. They made many practice landings and offloaded into landing craft again and again. The mortar platoon and the machine gun company had to have the ramps [Annotators Note: they required ramped landing craft, LCVPs or Landing Craft, Vehicle Personnel]. They had a lot of Higgins boats for the rifle companies that had no ramps. The old Higgins boats [Annotators Note: Phillips is referring to the LCP(L) or Landing Craft Personnel, Large]. Company H always landed with ramped vessels. The Higgins boats disappeared after Guadalcanal. They had to roll over the side of the old Higgins boat. They did do some practice landings in the old Higgins boat with the mortars but it was almost impossible to get a base plate up and over the side and into water that was waist deep. It nearly could not be done so they always had the ramp vehicles. The men came out of the ramp and there was the rifle company guys sitting on coconuts, opening them and laughing at us. They all knew they would be killed in the first few minutes. Where his group landed the coconut trees came right down to the beach. Being an old Civil War buff, Phillips noticed where his eight inch cruiser fire had hit. There was an entrance trench that went down into a hole which would have held four oil drums and there was an exit trench. That is where the shell had burst. They [Annotators Note: the trenches and bunkers] were beautifully spaced about every fifteen yards. They walked right on through those things and into some grass and scrubby jungle where the column stopped. They ran into a stream they could not cross. They called it the Tenaru but it was really the Ilu. Phillips got up and went over to look at a tree because it had green fruit hanging on it. He thought they were papayas but a man who had spent a lot of time in that part of the world said that it was a mango tree. Phillips had to take a leak. After he did he turned around and Ransom or Deacon told him he was going to go down in history taking a piss. Someone had taken their picture. They saw the flash. A slim staff sergeant walked by and he was carrying a Graflex camera. The camera had blue bulbs so he asked the sergeant why he used a flash. The sergeant responded by saying it was to fill in the shadows. When that picture came out Phillips saw himself standing over to the side. He remembers so clearly because they said he was going to go down in history for taking a piss. You can blow that picture up see Tatum, Ransom, and Lucas. He does not remember where Doyle was. There is also a corpsman sitting down and several aluminum aiming sticks are visible. They sat there for an hour waiting for that amphibious tank to cross that creek.

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Sidney Philips remembers the Marines bringing the amphibious tank up the creek from the beach. It was just sitting there and they had a long plank of lumber out towards the stern of it and a long plank of lumber to the opposite bank. They had a whole battalion crossing this stream one man at a time. There was a lot of friendly fire, maybe not that night but on following nights. Phillips and his friends claimed it was an artillery unit, the 11th Marine Regiment cut down on them. When they first landed on Guadalcanal, they had a scheme of loading the machine gun belt with one tracer, one ball, and one armor piercing but that was far too much tracer. When the machine gun would fire it would be one steady stream of light. Phillips thinks they began putting one tracer every six rounds shortly after they came ashore. During those first friendly fire incidents the tracers would be sailing around like wild. They knew it was their own guys because there was so much tracer in it. There was night after night of nothing happening. They spent all night listening. Deacon Tatum and Phillips stayed in the same foxhole. They were on perimeter defense one night and on the mortar the next night. There had to be four men on the mortar to fire it properly. The guys on perimeter defense did not have to be part of the working party for that day. If they had been on perimeter defense the night before, they were on working party the next day. They always had half the mortar platoon on working parties. It took four men to carry the mortar and there were a lot of ammunition carriers. A mortar squad could be as many as twelve or fourteen men but most of them did nothing but carrying ammunition. Only the 1, 2, 3, and 4 men carried something other than ammunition. Night after night, you would be on perimeter defense or on the mortar sleeping right by it, maybe in the same pit with it. The night they were hit on the Tenaru, Phillips, Ransom, Tatum, and Doyle were on the mortar. When the battle commenced, it was different. It was not friendly fire or someone heard a cow or someone heard an iguana. The whole world erupted up and down the lines. Benson passed the word for the number three and four guns to move out. They broke the mortar down and shouldered it. Benson led them to their beach position. It was dark but there were a lot of flashes from all the fire. There were foxholes dug all over and they kept falling into them in the dark. Phillips carried the bi pod which weighed 46 pounds. When he stepped into space he would throw it. Then he would find it and go on. They finally got to where Benson wanted them and put the number three gun closest to the beach. They were probably 20 yards from the beach and maybe 40 yards from the water. Ten yards in, further south, they put Phillips’s gun [Annotators Note: the number 4 gun]. Mortars are not fired haphazardly. It is a precise instrument. They were supposed to have an azimuth that they lay it on but they did not need it because everything was right there in front of them. They were about 150 yards behind the point and they could not fire because they could not see the bubbles. You do not fire a mortar unless you have an exact elevation on it which the bubbles indicated. They had to wait till it became light so they could see the bubbles. As soon as they could see the bubbles they could get an exact range. On the first round, the base plate settles into the dirt and that changes all of your readings. The bubbles had to be leveled again after the first round. After the second round, it settles more so they had to level the bubbles again. It takes four rounds to completely settle the base plate where it does not change or if it does change it changes very little. Then they could fire rapidly. As soon as they got the bubbles level and base plate settled they could start firing as fast as they could put the shells in. An 81 mortar had a thumb safety on it and it has a ring in the nose of the fuse just like a hand grenade. If a shell is dropped in the tube it will come out but it will still have the safety pin in the fuse. They had to pull the nose pin out as soon as the mortar is fired. It is held in there by inertia and it is spring loaded and when the shell starts forward rapidly, it trips the thing and the nose fuse pops out. When firing in day light that nose safety coming out can be seen. About 30 feet in the air, you can see it come out every time. From right behind the tube, the shell can be followed because it is yellow against the blue sky. But it takes some time for the shell to come down. In the movies they always show someone firing and correcting but it is not that fast. It takes a long time for that shell to arch. They got their base plate settled and they would fire searching patterns. They would traverse then throw in another shell, then traverse two times and throw in another shell. It lays a pattern. They had done it over and over again in practice. They blanketed the whole coconut grove area with shells. The 81 mortar is a terrible weapon. It comes straight down unlike artillery. They put about 300 rounds on them between the two guns. It is a lot and one of the funny things about it is they were bringing the ammo in trucks and would throw it out right there. There were wooden planks over the clover leafs. They had to knock the wood off to get to the clover leafs and all of those little boards had United States Navy, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba written on them. Phillips thought it was a funny sight because he had a pile of it that began to accumulate. There was no way of telling how long the Marine Corps had been hauling that ammo around.

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Sidney Philips remembers explosions everywhere. Small arms fire everywhere. The total concern was for yourself. It is on what you are doing, what your duties are. They really did not think much of what is going on around them. It was like having blinders on. They were doing what they were supposed to do. The fire fight went on until the afternoon. As soon as it was daylight they unloaded all that mortar fire on them. In the middle of the morning General Vandegrift arrived right behind their two guns. The thing Phillips remembers the most about General Vandegrift is that he had a corporal with him who carried a twelve gauge pump shotgun and stood about three paces from the general. That corporal would have kicked anyone in the ass if they got between him and the general. He was there to guard the general and did nothing but guard the general. Then some tanks came down the beach. There were more than three, maybe five. These little Stuart tanks came down the beach and they stopped. One of the tank drivers got out and went over to talk to General Vandegrift. Phillips could not hear what they were saying but the general told him what to do and he went and got back in the tank and they went single file across that sand spit and on the other side they scattered out. The whole thing now was probably 200 yards away and they were dashing around the coconut grove. Shortly after that, they came back. The 1st Battalion encircled the Japanese. They were hopelessly cut off. The survivors ran out and jumped in the ocean and the Marines picked them off and it was over with. That sort of ended it. As soon as it was permissible we started doing that. They cut their packs off and opened them. A lot of them were buried down in the sand and it was not easy to do but they found that every Japanese soldier had a cigarette pack cover. A little bamboo cigarette pack cover with Guam stamped on it. They had found out later that all those troops had been on Guam and had rifled the Marine barracks. Phillips does not think there was much of a fight at Guam. They had gone through the barracks and had pictures of Marines and their girlfriends and the Marines’ families in their packs. They collected all of those and burned them right there on the beach. There were Japanese pictures too and they saved the Japanese pictures because they were valuable. They could trade them to swabbies [Annotators Note: slang name for a sailor] for whatever, tobacco mostly. In the movie the Pacific they got it backwards. They burned the Japanese pictures. They did not know what war was supposed to be like. They were very pleased with themselves that they had annihilated a Japanese unit but they did not think much. At that time they were just jubilant. They had kicked their ass and they were not the supermen that everyone thought they were because they had gone through Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines, and had torn us up at Pearl Harbor. They felt that the Japanese were stupid to do what they just did. The bombardments never let up. They were bombarded almost every night by Japanese cruisers and destroyers and one night by battleships. Phillips never thought he would survive that at all. It was unbelievable. The concussion was so tremendous that it would squeeze the breath out of them. They really thought they were dead. Some guys were praying out loud and the Catholics were hollering Hail Marys. It is funny now but it was not funny then. He did not think anyone was going to survive. When it all finally ended he was surprised that there were not more casualties than there were. But, if you are underground you can survive almost anything.

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Sidney Philips remembers someone being perfect. He was handsome, young, and the girls loved him. Phillips tells everyone that he was perfect. Looks just like him. He had supper with him several times. No, he does not think any Marines did. That would have been fun. Eugene [Annotators Note: Eugene Sledge] knew he was there [Annotators Note: on the island of Pavuvu]. They were exchanging letters and Eugene knew he was in the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Eugene did not know what unit he would be a replacement for. He ended up in the 1st Marine Division in the 5th Regiment. He asked where the 1st Regiment was and went looking for Phillips. They generally let them do whatever they wanted to do after evening chow. Eugene would come over and they would talk late at night. The whole nation was angered by the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is hard to use proper words to describe the anger the American people felt after the Pearl Harbor attack. They did not know at the time of Pearl Harbor that the Japanese military culture was what it was. They would not surrender. Surrender was not a thought that they ever had. To surrender was to lose face. In the Philippines, they began to find that out. At Guadalcanal it was cemented. The Japanese do not surrender. They could not trust them. They could not try to help them if they are wounded. They had to exterminate them. It was just accepted. It was kill or be killed situation. The marines quickly adopted it. In the Marine Corps there were constant episodes of scuttlebutt, comedians thinking up wild things like that they were going to be home by Christmas. Every year they were going to be home by Christmas. That was all started about October. After a while they did not believe anything they heard. Word came that they had started a rotation program. If a Marine had been overseas for more than two years he was eligible to be rotated home. When they came around with that information no one believed them. That is scuttlebutt. There were about 30 of them in the mortar platoon that were old timers. Half of them were going to get to go home. They were going to draw names to see who that half was. They took thirty pieces of paper and put it in a helmet, put numbers 1,2,3,4 up to 15 on 15 pieces of paper. The other 15 were blank. The old timers each drew a piece of paper out of a helmet. If anyone pulled two out, they lost their chance to draw. If the piece of paper had a number on it they got to go home. If it was blank they did not. Phillips drew a number and so did W.O [Annotators Note: W.O. Brown]. Tatum, Ransom, and Lucas drew a blank. Doyle had already gone. After Phillips drew that number he still did not believe it. The time came for W.O to leave. Sledge came in on the ship but Sledge and W.O did not see each other. They knew each other real well but did not recognize each other while they were getting on and off the ship. Sledge went looking for Phillips as soon as he could. Maybe the second day he was there. Phillips saw him coming down the company street. He knew Sledge was in the Marines but he did not know if he was in the States or overseas. Sledge had asked where Phillips was and he was sent to H Company. Sledge was looking in each tent trying to find him. When Phillips saw Sledge and he went out in the street and screamed his nickname. Sledge saw him and they ran and they hugged each other and beat on each other and rolled around on the ground. People thought they were fighting and a crowd gathered. He introduced Sledge around. Every night Sledge would come over and they would get together. Then it was announced that Phillips would leave along with the other people. He still did not believe it. He thought something would happen. The next day he left. Even when they were pulling out of Pavuvu they could not believe it was happening. They were on a new ship that went all the way to San Diego with no escort. Evidently, the submarine menace was gone and not a real problem. If there had been a submarine out there, it would have fired a torpedo at them. It did not happen. He remembers zig zagging. Phillips would like to talk to an old navy submariner. Evidently, if ships zig zag at a certain time, a certain number of degrees, a submarine cannot hit them from thousands of yards away. That was the theory. They came into San Diego. He remembers it like it was yesterday.

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Sidney Philips remembers being in San Diego for two weeks [Annotators Note: after returning from his combat tour in the Pacific]. After a cursory medical examination they were issued new clothes, sea bags, and uniforms because they had left all that stuff in Australia. He took the standard aptitude test but they had never been tested in any way before they went overseas. He got a thirty day furlough. Most were put on a couple troop trains. Lieutenant Benson was in charge of the group on the train. Benson knew the train route and that it was going across the southern part of the United States. It was going to New Orleans then north through Meridian to Birmingham. Phillips and his friend got off in Meridian because the train did not go to Mobile. Eugene [Annotators Note: Eugene Sledge] was two years behind him in the Pacific and made Peleliu and Okinawa then went to China. He came home probably in March. It was 1946 when he got to Mobile. They portrayed Eugene in the movie as meeting him at the train station but that never happened. Eugene did get off the train and go straight to his house. It was on the way out towards his house and Eugene wanted to see him. He said his family would not let him do much as soon as he got home. Phillips and Sledge would talk almost four nights out of five. At night, Eugene would come to see him. Eugene was best man at his wedding. Eugene was emotionally shaken up by all his experiences. His sister was interviewed repeatedly and said if you want to understand Eugene Sledge you have to think of the movie Gone with the Wind and you have to remember the actor Leslie Howard who played Ashton Wilkes. She said that was Eugene Sledge. He is the perfect Eugene Sledge. She is right, it conveyed the total concept of Eugene Sledge better than. He was not a wimp, he was not devastated, he had just seen as much of that that he needed to see. He was glad to be home, he was glad to be back with his girl. That helps because it portrays him exactly. Phillips and Sledge were great friends always. They have something on his website that is real good. Eugene and Phillips on the streetcar track. Eugene was always full of pranks, full of fun, a great historian. He had most of Rudyard Kipling’s barrack room ballads. Eugene gives him a copy of it in the movie but that never happened but it makes a good story.
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