Tucked neatly away in the archives of several nations is the history of a battle. A battle which took place on one of those remote and peaceful atolls of the Pacific that the havoc of war had not visited since the Microneseans drove the Polynesians out with their shark-tooth swords many centuries ago. Where the Microneseans still lived in peaceful contentment and watched the coming and going of the Japanese with little concern, where they dug their taro, husked their coconuts and sailed their canoes on that memorable November 20, 1943.
Marines were swarming in over the reefs of Tarawa. Cruisers, battleships, and destroyers were shelling; dive bombers zoomed down; strafing planes roared overhead. Clouds of smoke and dust rose from an inferno of battle such as the world has seldom seen. More and more Marines came in and fell face down on the reefs, moving always ahead, and from where they died, more drove forward till slowly the inferno ceased and the ships moved in to consolidate.