Pacific Theater Marines Happy to Have Story Told; A New Series Follows Soldiers Who Fought in That War on the Islands

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS

I whispered goodbye to the men of Fox Company

and all the other men in green

that we left on the beach at Iwo.

Cal Atwood, a Marine corporal wounded in battle on Iwo Jima, wrote those words about 30 years ago, decades after saying goodbye to his fallen comrades from a hospital bed in Guam.

It's not a time he talks about much, in part because of the difficulty in describing the heroism he saw that day.

"You're just stunned by the magnitude of their selflessness and sacrifice," Atwood said, sitting in an office filled with Marine Corps memorabilia in his home on Amelia Island.

Still, like many veterans of the Pacific theater, Atwood is excited that the producers behind "Band of Brothers" are now telling the story of that campaign. The 10-part miniseries, titled "The Pacific," debuted Sunday on HBO with repeats tonight and Wednesday. It will run through May 16.

For the veterans who fought their way from flyspeck island to bloody atolls, their war was overshadowed by the fighting in Europe, both contemporaneously and more recently.

"We were falling into the same trap in the popular media that the nation was in in the war years," said retired Marine Capt. Dale A. Dye, actor and senior military adviser on the production. "The Pacific was always an afterthought. People were focused on their ancestral homelands."

The islands so fiercely fought over in the Pacific were less familiar, less understandable than the European countries whose emigrants were now Americans. …