The Aleutians
The Lands of 50 mph Fog
The Fourth Infantry Comes to the Rescue
“The Fourth Infantry Comes to the Rescue By Pfc Charlie E. Harris Company C 4th Intantry Regiment
We were on the Isle of Adak one summer day The Seventh called for help, and they took us away We boarded a boat, and sailed the blue For an Island known as Attu. The Japs were here, and very much alive The Seventh was glad to see us arrive For five days they had struggled desperately To drive the Japs back from the sea. And they had fought them round and round and had failed to gain but little ground Here in the valley dug in deep, couldn't take the hills, too damn steep. We looked at the mountains capped with snow and listened to the Seventh's tales of woe To us they didn't look so very big For we were hardened with fatigue. The 32nd was exhausted from lack of sleep Were wet and cold, and had frozen feet. We said, boys move to the rear and have no fear the 4th will take it on from here. To get at the Japs we could not wait They said when we were through we'd go to the States The 32nd said they too would go They had to get back to the U.S.O. So with that in mind, we started to fight we battled them desperately day and night. Though many of our buddies by the wayside fell we busted the Jap lines all to hell. The weather was bad, it snowed and hailed but we took ground, where the 32nd failed. They'd say to us "Get that machine gun nest" so we can move up and get some rest. We'd moved up and take the place then for our foxholes they would madly race. They would say "That's fine, now move up and establish another new line!" We didn't mind that so bad them taking all the credit is what makes us mad. Though tired and sick we were from lack of rest To whip the Japs we did our best. Over rock hills covered with snow we took places they didn't think we'd go. Though many days of freezing cold we had at last reached our goal. The battle was over, we had won We'd killed every Jap son-of-a-gun. Now on the way down we remembered well they said we'd go to the States, sure as hell. But now it is over, our job is through They leave us here to rot, on Attu. And now the Japs are dead in their grave the 32nd talks mighty brave. but for all we care, they can have the glory of the strife What we want is some U.S.O. life! but all we can do is sit in silent bliss and listen to each other piss O God before we're called before the Pearly Gates Please take us back to the United States!
Editors Note: Jon Thackerson provided these poems written by his uncle, Pfc. Charlie E. Harris (along with his photo) who participated in the invasion of Attu as part of the 4th Infantry Reg., Co C. Charlie had lived in Cisco, Texas until his death on the 19th of January, 1977. Charlie received the following awards: American Theater Ribbon, A-P Theater Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, AR 600-68 World War II Victory Medal. We thank Jon for providing this poem. It definitely seems to be from the heart, and reflect the attitudes held by the American G.I.s during those times. Click HERE for more information about the 4th Infantry Regiment *** Additional Info *** Captain Willoughby and 244 men of his Scout Battalion landed on Attu's northern Beach Scarlet (Austin Cove) on the 11th of May, 1943 at approximately 0300hrs, with Capt. James Austin right behind him with an additional 165 men of the 7th Cavalry Recon Troop, The 7th Division's Northern Force (including the 32nd), landed on Attu's Red Beach (located just to the north of Holtz Bay on the northeastern side of Attu) by mid-afternoon on the 11th of May. The Southern Force, landing at Massacre Bay, began their efforts at 15:30hrs on the afternoon of the 11th of May. Frozen feet, lack of sleep, food and long, bitter fighting had taken its toll on the American forces. After long and arduous fighting, The Japanese forces retreated to Chichagof Harbor by Tuesday, May 18th, 1943, The American forces finally encircled the Japanese defending the ridges surrounding Chichagof Harbor, with bitter fighting holding each side at a standstill around a 2000 foot high mountain named Point Able. General Buckner's 4th Infantry Regiment, held in reserve for three weeks aboard ship, finally landed ten days after the initial invasion on Thursday, May 20, 1943, with the battle for Able Point still raging. Barely able to walk due to their shipboard confinement for such a long period, the 4th marched at a snail's pace to join in the battle. At Point Able, nothing had moved for three days. Finally, the 4th managed a move northwest in a pincer movement and began to make headway against the heavy Japanese opposition led by Lieutenant Honna. In the evening of the 21st, Company E of the 32nd Infantry, in a final charge up the slopes of Point Able, shot Lieutenant Honna. The 2nd Company, 303rd Japanese Infantry Battalion, was wiped out to the last man. Many folks who've read the above poem have been upset with the content and the implications. Now you know the history. It was a joint effort by all American units that led to the final victory on Attu. Additional information from Nick Moreska: I think, maybe, the engineers who repelled the banzai attack, should get some credit. The last day. On the point of victory, the Americans had come frighteningly close to losing everything they had gained in three weeks of ferocious, bloody fighting. Only the precarious line of the 50th Engineers, desperate but steadied by discipline, had kept Yamasaki's banzai charge from reaching the all-important artillery. But the Engineers had held. It was over. Note: The Engineers, Medical, Headquarters personnel were noncombatants. The above was taken from the 1000 mile war ---29th day. As you and I know ---credit (for the victory) cannot be given to any one person or group. Nick Moreska.