121st "CB" Veteran i met with yesterday told me this Story!
"D" Day on Saipan was hell. Artillery fire was intense for two days. We sustained approximately 2,000 casualties for the first day. We were strafed, sniper fired, booby trapped etc. On the first night 6/15/44, Lt Robert Fiske picked up nine of us to go on patrol. Counter-attacks by Japanese were coming through gaps in our lines. Fiske told me to remove my two canteens, so as not to make noise while crawling. I removed one, the other, I had trouble getting off. A few moments passed, I still couldn't get it off, so I went on the trail of the patrol with Lenny Delunas. I did not see the rest of the men who were going on the patrol. I crawled approximately two hundred yards, not knowing where I was going. I started to smell pungent body odor and i heard Japanese voices. My buddy Lenny started to shake and mumble. I grabbed his lips and punched his thighs, and softly said, don't make a sound, don't even breath hard. We backed up slowly turned supposedly 180 degrees crawled back, and crawled all the way back, there we were challenged by Marines.
Who goes there? I said joe Garafolo, 3/20 Marines! Where do you come from? I reply Bronx NY Whats in the Bronx? I reply Yankee Stadium, Bronx Park.
The Marines let us go by. Lenny and i reported this incident to Lt. Fiske and told him of Japanese activities about 200 yards away. He stated that they cancelled the Patrol because the terrain was too difficult and the star shells would give our position away, etc. Within the hour 200 Japs were mowed down in the counter-attack. Incidentally the men who were assigned to the patrol were awarded the Bronze Star. Lenny and I were recommended for the award. The recommendation is on our discharge, but as of yet we have never received it.
RESTORE THE REPUBLIC!
R.W. "D1ck" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952- (Plt #437PISC)-'72
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