Skip to comments.Grandson's Book Offers Warts-and-All View of WWII Medal of Honor Marine
Posted on 11/08/2018 4:32:50 AM PST by Old Teufel Hunden
On Nov. 22, 1943, Marine 1st Lt. Alexander "Sandy" Bonnyman Jr. led a desperate assault to take a massive, sand-covered bunker holding scores of Japanese troops who had Marines pinned on the northern shore of Betio in the central Pacific atoll of Tarawa.
Bonnyman planned the assault, and his team of 21 engineers and riflemen -- dubbed "Forlorn Hope" due to the hopelessness of their mission -- charged the bunker and killed a machine gunner perched on top with satchel charge demo devices and flamethrowers. On the summit, they dropped explosive charges down the ventilator openings and sprayed inside the bunker with flaming diesel fuel.
More than 100 Japanese troops were flushed from the blockhouse and immediately killed. About 150 died inside the bunker.
Bonnyman, then 33, made a heroic last stand as he was mortally wounded. His remains were buried on the island and lost to time. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1947 by President Harry Truman.
Captivated by search efforts for remains missing on the island by the History Flight nonprofit, Bonnyman's grandson, journalist and author Clay Bonnyman Evans, first visited Betio in 2010. It was the start of a long journey to find his grandfather's remains and uncover the man behind the medal.
(Excerpt) Read more at military.com ...
A man finds out that his heroic grandfather had warts just like him.
In modern times 1700 dead in 3 days would cause us to surrender ...
The guy drank a lot, played football in college until he got kicked out because of bad grades, raised hell, got married and had three daughters, joined the Marines as a married man and then did died heroically in battle. Im having trouble finding any warts.
Good for the kid. Doesnt sound like his grandfather had warts, sounds like he was a Marine.
It’s also a reference to the latter-day desperate stand of the dwindling Confederate army once Atlanta had fallen and the end was inevitable.
This was a Marine that makes me proud to be a Marine. RIP and Semper Fi sir!
While true, this phrase considerably predates the US Revolution. The term probably comes from the "Low Country Wars" between the Catholic Spanish Empire and the Protestant Rebels in the Netherlands in the 1500s. In Dutch, "Verloren Hoop" is 'lost troops', and in usage means a military company sent or ordered to remain where their personal survival was secondary to the task ordered.
England had been deeply involved in this area with the wool trade and under the latter Tudors and early Stuart monarchs, decided to aid this fellow Protestant country as another method to fight Spain. With the English troops fighting alongside the 'Dutch Rebels', the Dutch term of 'verloren hoop' morphed via homonym transfer into English as 'forlorn hope'.
FYI: This revolt / war lasted from the mid-1500s to 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia which divided the area into Holland (Protestant) and Brussels (Roman Catholic). Shortly thereafter came the Anglo-Dutch trade & maritime wars that were then followed by the anti-French 'War of the League of Augsburg' and the 'War of the Spanish Succession'. Lots of fighting because absolutism gives religious and autocrats excuses to send the peasants out to fight!
Semper Fi to you sir and a happy upcoming 243rd birthday!!
My uncle, USMC, fought on Tarawa.
Nice article to post, especially with the Marine Corps Birthday on Saturday.
I remember reading about the Japanese generals boast that a million men could not take Tarawa in 10,000 years...just before 10,000 US Marines took it in four days. It was a first, grim look at the hell that was to come on other islands. Todays home front could never tolerate such losses - and a 1940s CNN would have been screaming for somebodys scalp.
In today's bizarro society, he would have been guilty of behaving as a man. Criminal masculinity.
I've told my own kids on numerous occasions about the perils of viewing history through current day morals. Everyone has warts, and personal demons. I can't imagine what our service members endured during WWII.
My philosophy regarding American history has not changed over the years: as a country, we have plenty of black marks in our history. However, there is no country in the history of the world that has done more to right those wrongs, and fight tyranny throughout the world.
I think I've done my part, 8+ years in the Army, which I will celebrate tomorrow by appearing at my grandson's elementary school for their Veterans Day assembly. I use these opportunities to explain to these youngsters the importance of Veterans Day.
Pinging a story about a truly heroic Marine by his grandson, to my Army list. Semper Fi to you Old Teufel Hunden
I told my kids the same: The United States of America is the greatest earthly force for good in the history of the world. Lots of room for improvement, but still, that’s saying a lot for us as a country composed of flawed human beings, which is the only kind there is.
Thanks for the ping. I’m glad they found his remains. May he rest in peace.
Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series chronicles a British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. In those tales the Forlorn Hope were the volunteers who were the first to assault a fortress. When he was feeling particularly low, Sharpe volunteered for one and, of course, survived.
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