On January 22, 1942,
only weeks after Pearl Harbor, the submarine Sturgeon was
patrolling off Borneo and sent two torpedoes into the hull of a
multiple-screw enemy ship guessed to be either a cruiser or an aircraft
carrier. The sub's skipper, Commander William H. Bull Wright was
unable to observe their action due to enemy action in the area and extreme
darkness. In fact, the enemy ship did not sink, but Commander
Wright's excited dispatch became one of the most remembered lines from the
WWII Pacific war. That message read:
"Damn the Torpedoes and Full Speed Ahead!"
"Scratch One Flat Top!"
"Sturgeon no longer virgin!"
"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!"
"Like shooting fish in a barrel!"
June 19, 1944, during the
“Marianas Turkey Shoot,” Ensign Wilbur Spider Webb was
returning to the HORNET from a strike on Agana when spotted a downed pilot
in a raft, 100 yards off shore. While flying RESCAP for the downed
aviator, Spider glanced up to the ridge of the mountains on Guam
and spotted a long line of Japanese VAL aircraft heading for the nearby
Japanese airstrip. Immediately “Spider” picked up the radio and
"I will leave no man behind!"
"I have forty Jap planes surrounded and need help!”
"Remember Pearl Harbor!"
"Fly high, aim low, and never quit!"
"A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do!"
Admiral William F. Bull
Halsey was was at sea with his Task Force, on the the aircraft carrier Enterprise,
when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. When Enterprise
reached Pearl Harbor the following day, Admiral Halsey looked with horror at
the damage that had been done and remarked:
"I am afraid they have awakened a sleeping giant and
filled him with a terrible resolve!"
"Send more Japs!"
"Let's REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR - As we go to meet the
"Let's REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR As we did the Alamo." "United in this determination and with unshakable faith
in the cause for which we fight, we will, with God's help, go
forward to our greatest victory."
"Before we are through with them, the Japanese
language will only be spoken in hell."
During World War II United States Marines
conducted their first major assault (after Guadalcanal) against 4,800
Japanese, well-entrenched at Tarawa. The battle for the nearly-barren
island cost 3,300 American casualties including 900 dead in two days of
fighting fierce fighting, many of the U.S. dead falling before reaching
the beaches. Reporting on the combat situation, Marine Commander Colonel
David Shoup reported:
"Casualties many! Percentage of dead not known! Combat
efficiency? We are winning!"
"Have had terrific bombardment and attack. Everything is
ok. Can you get hot coffee to me?"
"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the
front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the
"The Marines have landed and have the situation well in
"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding.
Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am
As embattled U.S. Marines
fought valiantly to rout the Japanese on Guadalcanal, they met constant and
heavy fire, repeated attacks, and suffered many casualties. Captain Henry P.
Jim Crowe (USMC) will long be remembered for his famous battle cry:
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."
"The bended knee is not a tradition of our
Corps." "Retreat Hell! We're just attacking in another
"Damn it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a
foxhole! Follow me!"
"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"