Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing
"The Creative Process of Writing
is a Liberating and Therapeutic Experience"
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. With The Old Breed
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process
of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings,
and actions. We are an interactive community of authors
and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge,
skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre,
but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips
for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton
and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript,
and are provided to the general public. Because we are
an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints
are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters
with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month's newsletter features: With The Old Breed
3. With The Old Breed
What Saving Private Ryan was to the European Theatre in WW II,
With The Old Breed by E.B. Sledge was to the Pacific theatre.
Tom Hanks' recent HBO series on The Pacific was based on
Sledge's 1981 book.
Sledge, who died in 2001, wrote his firsthand account
of his foxhole experiences in the two fiercest battles
in the Pacific in 1944 to 1945, Peleliu and Okinawa. Of
the ninety-five men who first went ashore in Peleliu on
D-Day September 15, 1944, only twenty-six remained when
the war ended after the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki on August 6- and August 9, 1945.
Sledge was a 60mm mortar infantryman who functioned as a two-man team
with his partner who fired the mortar after sightings by Sledge.
Sledge was an undecorated PFC marine whose 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines,
1st Division (K/3/5) officers were: Capts. Bishop, Neville, McAuliffe, Crown, and Haldane.
Many in the K/3/5 served earlier in Guadalcanal and Okinawa was their third campaign.
Sledge's "slow-mo" account of the horrific stench of dead soldiers, maggots, and mud
will sicken even the bravest of readers. This is no Hollywood story but a foot soldier's
journey into hell.
Peleliu's Orange Beach 3 on D-Day September 15, 1944 was the Pacific's Normandy invasion
on an island just six miles long and two miles wide with one airstrip 360 miles southeast
General McArthur refused to listen to his staff who saw little strategic value of securing
this tiny island which cost the lives of 5,000 marines and 60,000 Japanese. Peleliu was a
series of ridges with enemy four-foot high pill boxes and intricate caves similar to those
found in Vietnam years later.
Japanese fired from four firing ports with two top vents for air and sand bunkers at each end.
Caves extended beneath the pill boxes. Mortars were ineffective against the 75mm machine guns.
The K/3/5 infantry had to crawl close enough to drop grenades through the vents and spray the
pillboxes with flame throwers to torch and suffocate the Japanese soldiers.
The mayhem and atrocities on both sides are graphically depicted by Sledge from cutting off
body parts and inserting them into orifices to extracting gold teeth. Sledge's unit was
ordered to "dig in" during a rainstorm on Okinawa only to find his shovel slicing through a
dead enemy soldier's chest oozing with maggots and flies. Stench and vomit were common in foxholes.
Naval support was minimal with only the USS Idaho's150 inch guns providing cover. USMC Corsairs were
limited because the US Naval Fleet was 260 miles NE of Peleliu on the western edge of the Caroline Islands.
Contrary to the belief that the USMC never left their dead, scores of young 19- and 20-year-olds were
left buried in the muddy foxholes because the shelling was so horrific that many marines died in
holes that caved in on top of them due to the rains in Okinawa.
Captain Andy Haldane's death by a sniper's bullet was especially demoralizing to the K/3/5 because
he was a soldier's soldier, always respectful of his enlisted men and putting their needs above his
own. 1st Lt. Thomas (Stumpy) Stanley succeeded Haldane as CO of K/3/5 only to lose his life to
malaria on Okinawa. After Stumpy's death all five original officers of K/3/5 were gone and Company
K was never the same because all five officers arrived together with their 325 men on September 15, 1944
It's no surprise that E.B. Sledge's book has been in print since its debut in 1981. As many of our WW II
survivors are dying stateside in great numbers (now in their 80s), the lessons learned from Peleliu and
Okinawa are that "war is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste...the only redeeming factor were my
comrades' incredible bravery and devotion to each other." (p 315).
Sledge left the war after the China campaign in 1946 and later taught biology at a college in Alabama
until his death in 2001. The USMC taught him loyalty and love to fellow brothers in combat--an esprit
de corps that lives this day in the tribal villages of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and future ground
campaigns over pieces of dirt since time immortal.
- Compare the ground campaign in Vietnam to that in WW II; why were entire
units of soldiers trained and shipped overseas in WW II and what were the advantages?
- As horrific as Peleliu and Okinawa were, the Battle of the Bulge on the European
front was just as brutal. Argue why this was the case in the valleys of the Ardenne
region of Belgium.
- Today's highly trained special forces units are much smaller and more sophisticated
in their telemetry and weaponry. But war still comes down to intelligence and four-man sniper
units who have a corpsman as part of their team. For interested readers, Marcus Luttell's Lone
Survivor offers an eyewitness account of the ground fighting in today's third-world infantry
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The Writer's Connection SM Mission:
The Writer's Connection SM is dedicated to
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The Writer's Connection is a publication of The Virtual
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University
of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist
for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach
and is accepting new clients.
He has been an adjunct professor at the University of
South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in
executive development, founded and managed Texas Community
Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home
services to persons with mental retardation. Keith founded
and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest
Houston since 1990.
He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel
a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate
interest in helping others become attuned to their creative
powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family
therapy and health psychology. He has published articles,
made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
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