Tarawa Tribute – Eye Witness Account – Intermission Story (17)

USMC on Tarawa Atoll

Gradually, those buried on Betio in the Tarawa atoll are being identified and returned home.  Pacific Paratrooper is including this story as a tribute to them.

Edwin Glasberg, 93, has lived an extraordinary life and is known as a WWII hero for a number of reasons. He was born on the 14th may, 1924, in Boston and as soon as he was able, he left school and enlisted in the Marines. He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Division.

Edwin Glasberg, USMC

War broke out and he was sent to the Western Pacific where he first used his weapon in anger. He was one of the 18,000 Marines that made up the first wave that landed on the Island of Tarawa. There was no significant resistance on the beach, as the Navy had shelled the Japanese positions before the Marines landed, and his company ran up the beach sheltering behind a four foot high wall. From that point on the battle became increasingly bloody as the Japanese detachment of 4,500 men fought back.

Japanese snipers had been positioned in the trees and picked off the American forces at will. Glasberg spotted a sniper hidden in a coconut tree and dashed to the foot of the tree. Pressing his body against the trunk, where he was safe as the machine gun could not be pointed straight down, he noticed a wounded lieutenant, but Glasberg could not reach him as that would place him in the line of fire.  Blazing hot, spent cartridge shells rained down on his head as the Japanese sniper maintained fire at the American forces, so Glasberg simply pointed his rifle straight up and started shooting. He could not see the sniper but as the firing from the top of the tree stopped he could only assume that he had shot the sniper, “I don’t know if I hit him or somebody else did, but he stopped firing. I wasn’t going to climb up to find out.”

USMC on Betio, Tarawa Atoll

The battle raged on and Glasberg, in the company of several Marines, was on manoeuvres when a Japanese soldier leaped out from behind a wood pile and bayoneted Glasberg in the right thigh. “I didn’t realize I got bayoneted,” he said. “You’re so excited, you don’t feel anything.” The Marine in line behind him took out his pistol and shot the enemy soldier in the head. Despite a bleeding wound in his leg, Glasberg remained in the fight.

His next major battle was during the invasion of Saipan. He was part of the contingency that were fighting for Hill 101 and part way up the hill he was wounded for the second time when a bullet grazed the left side of his head. He was awarded his second Purple Heart for this injury and was shipped back to the USA, where he was deployed at the submarine base at Portsmouth on the East Coast.

Soon, he was back in the thick of things when he was part of the boarding party that took control of a German submarine, U-805, that had been forced to surrender. Glasberg was woken in the early hours of 12th May 1945 and ordered to take his rifle, ammunition, and other combat paraphernalia and to report for duty. He had been selected as his file indicated that he spoke German.

Riding in a Navy tender, he and the other six members of the boarding party travelled 25 miles into the Atlantic where they came upon a surreal sight. There lay a German U-Boat on the surface surrounded by six destroyers. The boarding party climbed aboard and in his best schoolboy German, Glasberg yelled, “Alle deutschen Krauts, raus und schnell!” (All you Germans, get out, and fast!) Waving the machine gun in their faces encouraged the German crew to leave quickly, and Glasburg turned to the submarine skipper, Korvettenkapitan Richard Bernardelli. He told the captain, who spoke English, “We’re Marines, not murderers. We’re not going to kill you guys. If the tables were turned, you’d kill us, but we’re not going to do that to you.

All 31 of the crew were captured, and Glasberg used his fluency in German to look through the papers that were found in the captain’s cabin.   “I went to the captain’s quarters. We went through all their maps, and I read them in German, the detailed instructions of their combat patrol. I read the German report. They had sunk three of our ships on their patrol, one off of Nova Scotia, and two in the Saint Lawrence estuary.”

The submarine was then towed to Portsmouth harbor; a trip Glasberg does not remember with any fondness, “I stayed up in the conning tower because the submarine is so musty. You can hardly breathe in it. Plus I got seasick because a submarine on the surface, it’s bobbing up and down in the Atlantic swells.”

Edwin Glasberg, 2010

After the war, Glasberg lived in Massachusetts where he founded a company making hairbrushes. He married, and his wife bore them three daughters.  Glasberg, now 93 years old, is a proud member of the Naples Marine Corps League, and can often be found recounting stories of his life as a marine during WWII at League meetings.

When you come to think of it,” he said, “not too many Marines in World War II were intermingled in combat with both the Germans and the Japanese,” was his last word.

Story is from War history Online.  Pictures are from the Marine Corps League of Naples, FL. and the Marine Corps Association.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – 

SHOUT OUT !!!

I located this article in “The Week” news magazine – is this what our children do (or learn) in college? !!

calling for a ban on veterans as college students!

Cy Forrest was kind enough to send us a link to the University’s reply to this letter.  I hope the PC people make a note of paragraph # 4.

http://pressreleases.uccs.edu/?p=3424

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Phyllis Birney – Baltimore, MD; civilian employee US Army & Air Force (Ret.)

Beatrice Carroll – Hull, ENG; British Navy WREN, WWII

Werner Eisenmann – Pennsburg, PA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Howard Falcon Jr. – Evanston, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI, USS Robinson

James Guglielmoni – Prescott, AZ; US Navy, WWII, destroyer escort

Frank Hurst – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Vivian King – New Plymouth, NZ; RNZ Army # 42512, WWII, Sgt., 27th Battalion, POW

Richard Palmer – Bronx, NY; USMC, Korea

Bernard Sulisz – So.Lyon, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

George Totoiu – Oberlin, OH; US Air Force

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 18, 2017, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 113 Comments.

  1. hi
    great post how do you find so much information

    mike

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe somebody outta tell those fools in that Colorado school that their School wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for those scary military guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great story. What a hero this man is! I did read Chancellor Reddy’s reply. He is a man of wisdom and writes very well. Love the ‘Military Humor’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Truly, he is a hero – and fought in both theaters. Now, that’s something!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a hero! Thank you for bringing it to us!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One of my customers was a submariner, and he’s said the same thing about a submarine on the surface. I hope this fellow didn’t suffer any serious effects from Irma. His story is just remarkable, and filled with details that just kept piling one on top of another. They were such strong men and woman, no matter which theater they served in. It’s humbling to read their stories.

    That cartoon with the three carrier pigeons cracked me up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Following the link to the University of Colorado, it was the French philosopher, Voltaire, who said, “I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, but I doubt that is what his parents sent him to college for. Instead of becoming closer, it appears the current generations are learning to hate more and more.

      Like

  8. What a lovely story about this brave veteran who is still alive!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. They should make Edwin Glasberg’s story into a movie! Sometimes I can’t get over how these incredible guys went through so many combat ops. One after the other. It is very humbling to read.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Interesting story. I can only imagine what our Marines had to endure during that fight. It must have been horrible. I have read that the brutality from the Japanese was met with more brutality by the US Marines. These Marines should always be honored for what they endured in that time.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. hi
    great story brave guy and after injury still fight on.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. >not too many Marines in World War II were intermingled in combat with both the Germans and the Japanese,” was his last word.

    It’s Turth.

    His Veterans life seemed happy , it was good!!:D

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was wanting more, this bloke must have a million stories to tell. what a life.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bill Wallace, a Yankee apologist

    These are great stories and should be told.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great story and good the soldiers were identifced an d braught home again

    Liked by 1 person

  16. An inspiring tale indeed—one of the many reasons the US marine is widely held in respect.

    Those cartoons are brilliant! But the ‘social justice’ call is also a wake-up call. (Don’t we just loooooove Snowflakes?) The Japs used to tie themselves into trees so that you’d always be in doubt about whether you got the gentleman or not. Unconfirmed is still a threat and thus a worry … clever.

    Tarawa … still a good reason why the guys who call off the preliminary bombardments should be in the first boat ashore …

    Like

  17. Thank you for another amazing story- the tremendous sacrifice and effort that it took to win all of those islands needs to be remembered! The bit about staying in the conning tower of the sub made me laugh- I’ve never been in one when it’s been sailing, but it sounds like the right decision to me!
    Thanks also for including the reply to that sad sad letter at the end- I’m glad that it was addressed.
    Any AC yet? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Quite a story. And I never knew that German destroyers came that close to the coast of North America. Once again, I’ve learned something new from your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Excellent story, GP. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Picked up on the ‘social justice newsletter.’ No justice there! It’s asinine. But it may be a hoax. It certainly isn’t the policy of the University. Quite the opposite. Did some quick research. I am reaching the point where I am skeptical of anything I read on the web that is inflammatory, one way or the other. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cy Forrester sent us the university’s reply to the letter and I included that link at the bottom of the article. It was NOT the policy of the university. I wanted to bring attention to some of the asinine behavior of our young people – and I do mean young. It seems to me, the college kids of today do not grow up. And I’m with you on being skeptical about anything on-line.

      Like

      • Thanks, G. And I agree. Sadly, it’s more than the kids. I keep my finger poised over the Snopes button to determine the legitimacy of things I see on the Internet. And I spend a lot of time with my finger poised over the hide button on Facebook. It doesn’t help my skepticism to know about the Russians and their efforts to manipulate social media. The Internet opens up incredible opportunities, such as your excellent coverage of World War II. Sadly, it also opens up opportunities for a whole world of mischief. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  21. What a horrific battle, and worthy of being remembered.

    By the way, I just started (meaning, I checked it out of the library) Feifer’s Tennozan about the battle of Okinawa. I’ve heard great things about it and it will be quite an investment of time. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No comment from me, it is best you read it as though you never heard of the island – the men who fought there never did. I think you’ll get the most out of it that way.

      Like

  22. I agree–that comment about veterans is appalling. I have the honor of teaching at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, and we have many veterans here, and this place has been named a top “Veterans Friendly College” and I am very proud of that!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Vocabulary fails me re the SJWs wanting to ban veterans from colleges …

    Great story about Edwin Glasberg! Thank you for posting it!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Enjoyed hearing Edwin Glasberg’s stories, GP. A true adventurer, hero, and gentleman. Interesting and understandable that the adrenalin and excitement were so powerful that he did not feel himself be bayonetted.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A genuinely astonishing story. By the way, I found an article about the illegal newsletter circulated around UCCS and the chancellor’s statement about why a/ it’s against the law to discriminate against veterans, and b/ why UCCS “rejects the notion that we should censor those who denigrate others”. http://pressreleases.uccs.edu/?p=3424

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for doing that, Cy. I found the 4th paragraph especially informative. Perhaps some of the politically correct people will allow all of us to talk again. After I catch up on the comments, I will add this link to the article.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m so happy we’ve captured some of these stories. We don’t have much time remaining. I understand not feeling the pain at first when injured, but you feel it pretty soon afterward. To continue fighting after being stabbed in the thigh with a bayonet had to be difficult. Almost as difficult as remembering enough high school German to give an order. I probably would have ordered breakfast.

    I love that top cartoon. Are you back in your own place? I hope you came through the storm well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you found the story interesting, Dan. I took Spanish in high school and probably would have kept asking their name – 🙂 We never left home, just hunkered down and as soon as they get around to fixing the Florida room leak, Irma will be out of lives!! All’s well, thank you for asking.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. The position taken by that so called “social justice” paper at the University of Colorado is appalling. Thank you for this tribute to a brave man.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great to have you posting again after Irma! A lovely tribute indeed. Lol on the beach image with sandbags😂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Great to have these personal accounts. I hope there is an audio recording of Glasburg, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. It’s funny. I was thinking on the lines of his last words as I was reading

    Liked by 1 person

  31. A Boston native! I love reading about people from my area. Such a brave man.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Such a great story of courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Another great story, GP. How he makes light of what must have felt like hell on earth at Tarawa. Obviously a brave man, and a humble one too. What a great generation they were.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ? where did that comment go lol

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Love to hear about these hero’s. Fab that he’s still going strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I appreciate you sharing these stories.

    Like

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