This was our first atoll attack and the sort of operation we have always been planning, and your success is therefore particularly gratifying." Thus, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Thomas Holcomb, commented on the battle of Tarawa (Pronounced by the natives: "TAH-rah-wah.") ten years ago.
Tarawa was a battle of firsts. It was the first time a landing had been made across a reef in the face of opposition, the first time amphibious tractors had been used in battle as troop carriers, the first time that tanks were used in a landing operation, and the first time air and naval gunfire were used together in supporting a landing attack, with the fire controlled by radio from the beach.