Red Blood, Black Sand
Private First Class William Joseph Kramer was in the 4th Marine Division during WWII. He saw action in some of the most fierce battles in the Pacific. He was honorably discharged after VJ Day. He came back to the states and became a limestone sawyer. He married and had two children. When the inhaled limestone dust became life-threatening, he packed up his family and moved to New Mexico because the air was said to be drier and cleaner than Chicago. When work could not be found, he moved his family back to Chicago and once again proudly wore a uniform for the U.S. Government. This time around it was that of a postal worker. For the remainder of his life he never mentioned the war or shared his thoughts or feelings with anyone.
Chuck Tatum was an 18 year old Marine that was part of the first-wave landing force on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The battle lasted until March 26th. Tatum was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals for his valor and wounds received. This book is an in-depth look at the bloodiest battle of WWII. 110,000 Marines landed on the black sand beaches that day back in 1945. 6,825 Marines were killed during the siege. The entrenched Japanese lost 22,000.
Tatum's book was used as one of the four reference books for the filming of The Pacific in 2010. It was made by the same production company that produced Band of Brothers. The narrator in both films was Tom Hanks.
If it wasn't for books like Red Blood, Black Sand, interested parties today would not be able to understand the toll it took on the young men who bravely fought to keep our country free.
Pvt. First Class William Joseph Kramer had two tattoos...one each on his forearms. One honored the love of his mother and the other, that of the Corps. To his dying day he was damn proud of being a Marine. This was evident in the way he carried himself. The sharpness of his dress. His inability to ever back down from anything.
Like most of his brethren, he just didn't answer the question: "...What did you do in the war, Daddy?..."