Capt Max "Two Gun" Shapiro, USMC....

Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

9:06 PM - Aug 29, 2006 #1

I'm sure they left this guy's part out of the movie version, or I'd remember it.

In the latter chapters of the book, Battle Cry, by Leon Uris, the Bn Co, LtCol Huxley (Highpockets), is in his office with his XO, Major Wellman. They are dicussing a new officer due to report aboard. The officer is Max Shapiro; a Marine legend and known as "Two Gun Shapiro." His record told a story of transfers, demotion, courts-martial, citations for valor, and promotions. It was a book of contradictions.

Huxley knew he was a troublemaker, but, Huxley told Wellman, the book tells only part of the story. He knew that the name Two Gun did not refer to Shapiro as an expert with weapons, on the contrary, Shapiro had bad eyes, the story goes that he had sneaked up on a Jap at close range and fired two clips of forty-fives and missed every shot. Huxley had heard of him back some 10 years prior, Shapiro's father had gotten him into West Point, where he was low man in his class. One summer he had followed a girl to Europe and married her, only to have the marriage annulled by the girl's parents. After this he was kicked out of West Point.

He immediately joined the Marine Corps as a private. He was promoted up and demoted down between PFC and Private for 6 years or more. He had been to Shanghai and did duty at the International Settlement in 1937. A few years later, he married the daughter of a general at Quantico, and was promptly shipped off to achieve officer's rank. A couple years later, they were divorced. Huxley went on to state that Max had been bounced about the Corps from one remote detail to another. He was constantly in the debt of his men, and they called him Max.

The book tells of Shapiro having been a member of Coleman's Raiders on The Makin Raid and Guadalcanal--a thinly disguised reference to Carlson's Raiders. Many authors, Uris too I suspect, develop their characters around people they've actually known. Or at least do so in some cases, and to one degree or another; some characters are composites of several individuals.

In the following quote, Mac is speaking..."My squad gathered around the large shack that housed the Battalion office. There was rampant excitement. Captain Max Shapiro had been transferred to the Second Battalion to take over Fox Company. The nortorious and glorious Two Gun Shapiro from Coleman's Raiders who had earned his first Navy Cross in the Makin raid--and a court-martial. He had more decorations and courts-martial than the next three officers in the Corps combined. He was a legend."

"The jeep stopped before the Battalion office on the dirt road. Our mouths fell open. There sat a short, pudgy man with ringlets of curly black hair, a heavy moustache, and thick-lensed glasses."

"Jesus, is THAT Two Gun Shapiro?"
"Must be."
"Looks like a rabbi to me."
"He sure doesn't look very tough, cousin."

"Shapiro debarked, from the jeep ungracefully, buckling under the weight of his officer's bag. He asked for instructions and headed for the office, tripping over one of the steps. Disillusioned, we went back to our tents... "

The story continues as Huxley and Shapiro meet and a hot conversation ensues, and Shapiro is assigned as the CO of Fox Company.

In the remainder of the book, Shapiro is again mentioned here and there, but the concluding paragraphs regarding him are posted here...

R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
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