Magazine article America in WWII

Building Bridges on Okinawa

Magazine article America in WWII

Building Bridges on Okinawa

Article excerpt

WARREN "RED" SPICER'S FAMILY WAS LUCKY: Five sons went to war and five came back. Red was one of them. Just 20 years old, he was drafted in May 1943 and left Cottage Grove, Minnesota, for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

After graduation Spicer was sent to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific to join Company B of the 102nd Combat Engineering Battalion. He joined the unit on the island of Saipan, as preparations for the Battle of Okinawa were underway. The thought of the coming fight on Okinawa--which would be one of the longest, bloodiest battles of World War II--understandably made many soldiers very anxious. Spicer wasn't exempt from that feeling, but he nonetheless volunteered to give up his safe assignment taking ship inventory to go to Okinawa in place of an older man with a family.

The army engineers barely managed to land on Okinawa due to the constant barrage of Japanese shells. Spicer's company was in charge of building and repairing bridges. …

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