ONE MARINE'S WAR

A Combat Interpreter's Quest for Humanity in the Pacific
If you are a member, log in to receive member pricing
Binding:Hardback
Published:May 15, 2012
by Gerald A. Meehl (Author)

One Marine’s War recounts the experiences of Robert Sheeks, a Marine combat interpreter, and how he underwent a remarkable transformation as a consequence of his encounters with the Imperial Japanese Army, Nisei Japanese-American language instructors, Japanese and Pacific Island native civilians, and American Marines. It is the first time the entire story of one Marine Corps combat interpreter has been told, and it provides a unique insight into an aspect of the Pacific war that is not only fascinating history, but also a compelling personal struggle to come to terms with a traumatic childhood and subsequent harrowing combat experiences.

The son of an American corporate executive, Bob was born and raised in Shanghai until the family fled the impending Japanese occupation in the 1930s. He was emotionally scarred by grisly atrocities he personally witnessed as the Japanese military terrorized the Chinese population during the “Shanghai Incident” in 1932. However, his intense hatred for the Japanese military was gradually transformed into tolerance and then compassion. He was recruited out of Harvard after the Pearl Harbor attack to be a Japanese language interpreter in the Marine Corps. When he encountered kind and considerate Japanese-American Nisei instructors during the intensive course at the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado, he began to re-think his attitudes toward the Japanese. Ultimately, through an intriguing set of circumstances, he developed an empathy for the Japanese enemy he formerly despised. This began during the invasion of Tarawa where he was frustrated by the near impossibility of capturing Japanese combatants, partly because there was no way to communicate with them in their bunkers where they fought to the death. That led him to devise methods to use a combination of surrender leaflets and amplified voice appeals to convince the enemy to surrender. As a consequence, he personally ended up saving the lives of hundreds of Japanese civilians and military by being able to talk them out of caves during combat on Saipan and Tinian in 1944. He was able to find humanity in the midst of war. For his efforts he was awarded the Bronze Star with a unique commendation, certainly one of the few medals ever given to a Marine officer for saving the lives of the enemy.

X
List Price: $34.95
Clear The Decks Price*:$34.95
Member Price: $8.74
 
 
 
Product Details
  • Subject: World War II
  • Hardback : 288 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 15, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1612510922
  • ISBN-13: 9781612510927
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 0

Gerald Meehl is the co-author (with Rex Alan Smith) of Pacific Legacy: Image and Memory from World War II in the Pacific; Pacific War Stories: In the Words of Those Who Survived; and (with Dave Levy) Fast Boats and Fast Times: Memories of a PT Boat Skipper in the South Pacific. He has traveled extensively in the South Pacific, and has visited and photographed every major Pacific island battlefield of World War II. He is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

More by this Author

ONE MARINE'S WAR
One Marine’s War recounts the experiences of Robert Sheeks, a Marine combat interpreter, and how he...Read More

Related Content

None found for this author.

Events and Conferences

Guest Speaker & Book Signing
7:30pm, Boulder Book Store on the Pearl St. Mall, 1107 Pearl St., Boulder, CO / For more info: www.... Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:30pm, Tattered Cover Book Store (LoDo), 1628 16th St. at Wynkoop, Denver, CO / For more info:... Read More
Guest Speaker & Book Signing
7:30pm, Boulder Book Store on the Pearl St. Mall, 1107 Pearl St., Boulder, CO / For more info: www.... Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:30pm, Tattered Cover Book Store (LoDo), 1628 16th St. at Wynkoop, Denver, CO / For more info:... Read More
Taped Radio Interview
7:00pm Eastern, w/host John Batchelor, “The John Batchelor Show,” WABC Radio Network, NYC Read More
Taped Radio Interview
7:00pm Eastern, w/host John Batchelor, “The John Batchelor Show,” WABC Radio Network, NYC Read More
Taped Radio Interview
7:30am, w/Irene Rawlings, "Focus," Clear Channel's KBCO Radio, Denver, CO Read More
Taped Radio Interview
7:30am, w/Irene Rawlings, "Focus," Clear Channel's KBCO Radio, Denver, CO Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:00am-1:00pm, USS Arizona Memorial Visitor's Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:00am-1:00pm, USS Arizona Memorial Visitor's Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:00am-1:00pm, USS Arizona Memorial Visitor's Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Read More
Meet the Author & Book Signing
7:00am-1:00pm, USS Arizona Memorial Visitor's Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Read More

Customer Reviews

1 Review
(0)
(1)
(0)
(0)
(0)
Average Customer Reviews
4.00 Stars
Humanity in the Midst of Chaos
Monday, May 14, 2012
By: J.E. Smith
This book was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting the usual WWII shoot-em-up about yet another triumph by supermacho gyrenes. Instead it is the compelling story of Bob Sheeks, a combat interpreter who used his Japanese language training to save lives in the South Pacific. Serving with the 2nd Marine Division, Sheeks was smack in the middle of three amphibious assaults on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and the bloody, bungled chaos that was the landing on Tarawa. There, during his baptism of fire, Sheeks received what was probably the most idiotic order ever given to any lieutenant by a commanding general (read the book to find out). But out of the inept tangle of Tarawa, Sheeks learned useful lessons on how to draw the fanatical enemy out of their caves and bunkers. Doing so, he reduced casualties among suicidal Japanese soldiers and, more importantly, his fellow Marines. Sheeks later applied his linguistic skills to rescuing native civilians and Korean slave laborers from extinction. This is an exceptionally readable book. The author, a scientist and professional writer, takes you smoothly through his subject's life (including dates with Hollywood starlets and other interesting stuff), but he keeps the focus on this intrepid young officer as he maneuvers through a series of nightmarish battles while still trying to hold on to his humanity.
 

 
 

Conferences and Events

2016 Naval History Conference

Thu, 2016-09-08 - Fri, 2016-09-09

Join us for the 2016 Naval History Conference on 8 and 9 September at Alumni Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. The Athena...

WEST 2017

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

View All

From the Press

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Mon, 2016-09-12

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Mon, 2016-09-12

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership