It is an early quiet morning on the island of Bougainville. The weather is warm and humid. The sights and sounds of malaria carrying mosquitoes fly in the early morning air, the beats of their wings break the early morning silence. The coconut trees sway in the gentle morning breeze, the ocean water is calm and quiet as it breaks along the beach shoreline. The sound of a motorboat engine propels through the water. The engine becomes louder as the boat cruises towards an old wooden pier. It is a wooden 40 foot long, Japanese army patrol boat.
The patrol leader who stands about 5 feet. 4 inches tall very slender in build, he stands at the back of the moving vessel. He fans the mosquitoes away from him, then he grabs his pack of cigarettes, he strikes his match and lights one. He takes a deep drag from his cigarette sucking in both cheeks, and then he exhaled the smoke from his mouth. The patrol leader grabs his binoculars, which are strapped around his thin neck. He looks through them as he scans the cloudy horizon, he slowly scans 180 degrees from left to right, and then he takes another deep drag from his cigarette. Then he scans from his right to his left.
The patrol leader sees nothing over the horizon, as the patrol boat cruises closer to shore to dock on the pier; the patrol leader lowers his binoculars and looks out into the horizon using his natural eyesight. Nothing, before he makes his report to the other Japanese soldiers on the island. He grabs his binoculars one more time and looks out over the horizon. He sees silhouettes of what appear to be ships cruising in. “Yes, more supplies on its way,” he says speaking in his native Japanese language. As the ships cruise closer, he fans the mosquitoes away from in front of him. He rubs his eyes to clear them, then he grabs his binoculars again, this time he readjusts the focusing knob.
His facial expression changes from a relaxed mood to an unpleasant mood, he notices that the ship does not carry the white flag with the red dot in the middle representing his homeland of Japan. He focuses again, his facial expression changes in disbelief as his mouth widens, his cigarette falls from his mouth into water. He sees a flag on the ship; it has red and white stripes and a patch of blue with white dots also stitched on the flag. It is the flag that represents his enemy. “That is a United States flag,” the patrol leader said in his native language again.
After receiving his message, the artillery crew loads, rotates and angles their cannons into attack firing range and then Japanese artillery crew leader looks at his crew, he gives the signal and then they begin to fire. Loud, thunderous blasts of sounds echo from the cannons into the dark cloudy morning sky as the Japanese artillery crew returns fire on the American ships. Japanese machine gun crews scramble to their positions, they load their light and heavy machine guns and prepare to shoot and kill any enemy soldiers who land on the beach.
Meanwhile, on one of the American troop carrier ships that cruise towards Bougainville Island. “ NOW HEAR THIS, NOW HEAR THIS, COMPANY L 10th INFANTRY REPORT TO YOUR DEPLOYMENT STATION, COMPANY L 10th INFANTRY REPORT TO YOUR DEPLOYMENT STATION, THAT IS ALL ” Company L 10th Infantry battalion leader, Captain Robert McCray, hears his battalion called out over the ship’s loudspeaker.
Captain McCray is a young African-American man who comes from Brundidge, Alabama. Captain McCray is 25 yrs. old and stands about 5 ft. 11 in. tall, he’s brown skinned and slender to muscular in build he weighs 175 pounds. He lays his Dick Tracy comic book down on his bed of a very crowded sleeping area of the ship; he hears the ship firing its cannons from the main deck above. “Oh ****! That’s us, that’s us,” he said after he heard his squad called out from the loudspeaker. “Grab your weapons and field packs let’s go” Captain McCray shouted.
The soldiers from Company L 10th Infantry run around bumping into each other trying to get to their equipment, they run up the ladder (the ship’s stairs) and make their way the main deck. The soldiers line up in formation to be counted. Company L 10th Infantry is the first all minority American battalion in the whole U.S army to get the call to start an amphibious assault on this heavily fortified island.
They carry different types of U.S army issued machine guns and rifles. Some of the soldiers step down into the Higgins boat, others struggle to climb down holding all of their heavy equipment on their heads and backs, they shake nervously and lose their grip on the rope ladders and fall into the boat. The Higgins boat crewmen receive the signal to start their engines and begin to carry their 30 man troop cargoes across the ocean to the deadly beach shore in an attempt to knock out the mighty Japanese army, which continues to fire their cannons from the beach.
Due to U.S army limitations, Company L 10th Infantry Battalion will not receive any air strike support and to make matters worse they will not receive any support from tanks. Most of the soldiers maintain their composure traveling on the Higgins boats that bounce up and down on the water. However, some of the soldiers get seasick and vomit on themselves and others. One soldier reaches into his uniform breast pocket and pulls out a U.S army bible; he begins to read it to himself. Another soldier has a mean, dirty, gritty look on his face as he stuffs his satchel bag with explosives.
“Okay boys you know the rules” Captain McCray said. The soldiers begin to load their Garand M1 rifles, M3 submachine guns, Browning automatic rifles, M1A1 Thompson submachine guns, M1 Carbine rifles and 30 caliber machine guns.
Three of the soldiers have M1A1 portable flamethrowers attached to green metal fuel tanks strapped to their back. As the Higgins boat cruises closer to the shore, the soldiers become frightened as they hear the loud thunder blasts of the Japanese artillery cannon shells exploding bombshells over their heads. Captain McCray looks over at the other Higgins boats that cruise in front of the boat that he is standing in; the horror begins as Captain McCray sees the soldiers in the other boats get blown out of the water.
The Imperial Japanese artillery crew continues their intense firing attack on the Higgins boats. Captain McCray’s eyes widen in fright as he sees dead bodies and body parts floating on the water, he sees and hears soldiers struggle helplessly in distress as they try to stay on top of the water.
Suddenly, Bull Sharks, White tip sharks, Mako sharks, Black tip sharks, Hammerhead sharks and Tiger sharks appear swimming through the blood saturated water; they home in on the distress waves from the struggling soldiers.