November 30, 2008
My father Robert F. Tice was a young 19-year-old squad leader who served on Guadacanal, Tulagi, who was seriously wounded on Tarawa, ending his military career. Through the years as a child I heard the "story" so many times of his war exploits, I feel as though a part of me was there also. My father recently passed away in Yuma, AZ on 9 Sept 2008. Years ago I was able to obtain Sherrod's 1st edition of his book, "Tarawa,the Story of a Battle," which my father signed for me and our family holds with pride.
PFC Tice met my mother, Audrey Heney, in Oakland, Ca after he was discharged from Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland. My mother, who was from a small town in N. CA (Lincoln), worked for the telephone company as a tele-type operator, which required a high security clearance, and was only allowed to go into certain areas of Oakland or the Bay Area. She is still living, is age 85 in her parents home in Lincoln. I also remember her stating that about the first or second day of the battle when the casuality list came over the teletype machine there were two young men she had gone to high school with who were reported killed in action, which was very shocking to her and really brought the war "home," which was before she had met my dad.
So, the story and impact of this great battle runs through the threads of my family history in many ways, and when I think back it does not seem so long ago! In fact when I think back in my "minds eye" these recollections almost become palpable. I feel very fortunate to have found this website which allows us to put some of these memories in writing, and would someday love to see the museum or travel to the atoll. But until then I would like to share a poem I wrote several years ago which is my way of paying tribute to those young marines and sailors who gave their all so that we continue to enjoy the liberty we so often take for granted.
Cast about by earthly tides,
Towers leaping clouds of flame,
Salvos shrieking overhead to
Illuminate the dawn there on
The horizon, hellfire rising from
A thousand pinnacles, so blend
The shadows and turrets there.
Alas, the signal proclaims -- attack!
Sending two hundred chariots churning
Into the sea -- charging onward
Toward open graves, jaws wide-agape
Upon luminous waves
Disgourged from the bellies of ships --
Men hurry toward their rendezvous with history
Voices becoming still thoughts of loved ones far away --
Now only thoughts of God, luck and survival to sustain.
Dashing toward the pier in range of Betio's defenders as
they drew their marks were these
Imperial Marines -- Satan's defenders of the
Emperor to repel their foe or die.
Waves of brave 19- and 20-year-olds wading
Ashore were these US Marines cast about, who
Began to fall all around, each yard becoming a
This is war! -- hell erupting from a thousand
Thrones shall do its vengeance! -- lest we forget,
Oh God, lest we forget the bloody beaches of
Tarawa on that fateful day in November of 1943!
Larry C. Tice ~ firstname.lastname@example.org