The Makin Raid-August 17&18, 1942
Re Pearl Harbor To Guadalcanal, History Of The Marine Corps Operations In World War II, Volume I, by LtCol Frank O. Hough, USMCR, Maj Verle E. Ludwig, USMC, Henry I. Shaw, Jr., 1958, pages 285, 286 & Volume 5, History and Occupation, by Benis M. Frank, Henry I. Shaw, Jr., 1968
"While patrols searched for the enemy on Guadalcanal, another force of approximately 200 Marines moved into enemy waters farther north and raided a Japanese atoll in the Gilbert Islands. Companies A and B of Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson's 2d Raider Battalion went from Oahu to Makin atoll on board submarines Argonaut and Nautilus and landed on the hostile beach early on 17 August. The raid was planned to destroy enemy installations, gather intelligence data, test raiding tactics, boost homefront morale, and possibly to divert some Japanese attention from Guadalcanal. It was partially successful on all of these counts, but its greatest asset was to homefront morale."
(Vol.1,Pages 285, 286)
"At a cost to themselves of 30 men lost, the raiders wiped out the Japanese garrison of about 85 men, destroyed radio stations, fuel and other supplies and installations, and went back on board their submarines on 18 August for their return to Pearl Harbor. The raid attracted much attention in the stateside press but its military significance was negligible. Guadalcanal still held the center of the stage in the Pacific and attention quickly turned to that theater..."
"...the Marines found that the surf had been heavier than had been expected... were unable to maneuver their rubber craft through the breakers to clear water. The submarines remained submerged through most of the 18th, but moved into the mouth of the island lagoon at approximately 1930 that evening. There they met and took aboard tattered raiders , who had managed to jury-rig their rubber boats to a native outrigger-canoe, on which they were able to negotiate the tossing surf. Both submarines then immediately departed for Pearl Harbor."
9 Raiders Captured On Makin!
(Vol.5, Pages 744, 745)
"Nobody knew it at the time, but nine Marines had been left behind...tragically left behind and later captured when the rest of the Carlson force withdrew under most difficult circumstances... they were captured later by Japanese reinforcements which mounted out of a nearby island garrison on 18 and 20 August, and a larger group arrived at Makin on a ship the following day. These Japanese reported that they found 21 Marine bodies, 5 rubber boats, 15 machine guns, 3 rifles, 24 automatic rifles, 350 grenades, and a few other things."
An Account From A Marine Raider Who Was There!
I have been in contact with Sgt McCullough of B Company of the 2dRaiders, and "Mac" objects strongly to the use of the words "LEFT BEHIND" (above).
In two e-mails to me dated October 24&25, 1999, he says, "Just finished reading your page on Carlson. I was his radioman on Makin and with him on The Long Patrol, but Co. B radioman. I have never met to my knowledge a finer person or a more dedicated American. I don't believe we left any men on Makin. We all started off the island with a native outrigger and three rubber boats lashed together and one 6HP Johnson motor. Our progress was too slow for the boat on the far right, and they talked the old man into letting them cut loose and go on their own. They pulled away from us and that is the last I saw of them. I think they got lost and went back to the island. This may be wrong but until somebody proves me wrong, I will believe this is what happened. I have read a good many reports on leaving the men on the island. Every one of the Marines knew we were going to leave that evening, and after I got the subs to come around to the other side. The island was too small to miss anyone.
I just wish some of the writers had checked closer before they condemned Carlson. When the boat with Allard got strafed, we decided it was too risky getting off in daylight. Then Carlson decided to wait until that evening, then try and contact the subs and have them move to the lagoon side of the island. Then we went about getting the natives to bury our dead and checking out the island until it got time to contact the sub, which I did, and it moved and we went out to meet, and just assumed that the men that pulled away got on the Argonaut. So it was some time before we knew they were missing."
Sgt K.L. McCullough
B Co, 2nd Raiders
October 24, 1999
And today (February 5, 2000), Mac writes,
I still don't like that word "LEFT BEHIND." Every one left the island and as I have stated, one boat separated after we left the shore. I am the radioman who made arrangements with the subs the early evening of the 18th to come to the lagoon side to pick us up! Is there some place we can dig a little deeper on this?
9 Raiders Executed!
(Vol.5, Page 745)
"...The captured Marines received satisfactory care at the hands of their captors on Makin, and humane treatment continued for nearly a month after they had been moved to Kwajalein. Early in October, Vice Admiral Koso Abe, Marshall Islands commander, was advised that he need not send these prisoners to Tokyo. A staff officer from a higher headquarters told Abe that a recently established policy permitted the admiral to dispose of these men on Kwajalein as he saw fit. Abe then ordered the Marines beheaded. A native witnessed the executions, and based on his and other testimony in war crimes trials after the war, Abe was convicted of atrocities and hanged at Guam. Captain Yoshio Obara, Kwajalein commander who had been ordered to arrange the executions, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, and Lieutenant Hisakichi Naiki, also involved in the affair, was sentenced to 5 years in prison..."
Re The Big Yankee, The Life Of Carlson Of The Raiders, by Michael Blankfort, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1947, page 67
On May 23, 1946, an A.P. dispatch from Guam stated that nine United States Marines---all from Carlson's Raiders---were beheaded to celebrate a Japanese holiday. This was revealed by a defendant at the war crimes trial. The victims were supposed to be from among Raiders stranded on Makin after the raid. Commenting on this report, Carlson said: 'You have my account of what happened at Makin. You have also interrogated numerous Raiders who have also participated in that raid. My official report contained the basic facts as I knew them. You remember that there were twelve men whom I reported as 'missing.' Of this number five were the crew of the rescue boat which was strafed by Japanese planes on the morning of the eighteenth of August. None of the twelve were seen by the seventy of us who spent the second day on the island. I was the last Marine to leave the beach, when we attempted the evacuation on the night of the seventeenth of August, and when we succeeded in getting away on the night of the eighteenth.
There can be no question about the eighteen that were killed in action, for I checked their bodies. The twelve 'missing' were presumed to have been lost in the surf during the first night attempt at evacuation and during the strafing of the boat the following morning.
It is entirely possible that some or all of the twelve whom we listed as 'missing' men had reached the shore of an adjacent island , or of the southern tip of Butaritari. This is the only explanation I can offer for the A.P. dispatch from Guam. If I had knowledge that any Raiders remained on the island at the time we left, I would either have evacuated them or remained with them.'"
Return From Makin!
During December 1999, graves were found on Makin, and the remains of 21 retrieved by the U.S.
Please Click Here For That Story
And The 9 Executed Raiders?
That Unfinished Story Here
But there are others...
This may be just the tip of the iceberg. Sgt Bill Genaust, the Marine combat photographer who shot the famous motion-picture version of the Iwo Jima flagraising, was killed in action a few days after the flagraising in February of 1945. His body remains to this day entombed in a cave on Iwo Jima.
Mr. Frank Clynes is fighting to bring home the remains of Sgt Genaust, and others, and to have Sgt Genaust awarded the Navy Cross (posthumously) for which he was recommended but never received. Frank says, "If the truth be known, Sgt. Bill Genaust does not need the Navy Cross, and he does not need a funeral with full military honors in Arlington VA, at the site of the Flag Raising Monument that he inspired. He has gone to his God and received honor and reward, far beyond anything we could ever hope to match or imagine.
But the men and women serving today in our armed services need for him to get it. They need to know that if they die in the service of their country and fall in some remote part of the world, that their sacrifice... their life has meaning! That this country will honor them, and will move heaven and earth to bring them home, no matter how long it takes.
And that is why we must go tell Bill Genaust, that we're coming back for him."
The Man We Left Behind!-Sgt Genaust Here
The Mayaguez Incident!Here!
Carlson Of The Raider Marines!
Dan Marsh's Marine Raider page!
Marine Raiders-The Last Man Committee!
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