Soon after we landed it became apparent that there was more than enough artillery here, that the enemy were excellent shots, and that their ammo supply seemed to be endless.
With the Japanese deeply entrenched and determined to die rather than surrender, Robert Dick and his fellow soldiers quickly realized that theirs would be a war fought inch by bloody inch–and that their Sherman tanks would serve front and center. As driver, Dick had to maneuver his five-man crew in and out of dangerous and often deadly situations.
Whether crawling up beaches, bogged down in the mud-soaked Leyte jungle, or exposed in the treacherous valleys of Okinawa, the Sherman was a favorite target. A land mine could blow off the tracks, leaving its crew marooned and helpless, and the nightmare of swarms of Japanese armed with satchel charges was all too real. But there was a war to be won, and Americans like Robert Dick did their jobs without fanfare, and without glory. This gripping account of tanker combat is a ringing testament to the awe-inspiring bravery of ordinary Americans.
About Robert Dick
Robert C. Dick was a Sherman tank driver with the U.S. Army’s 763rd Tank Battalion, attached to the 96th Infantry Division, which was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for courageous action during the Battle of Okinawa. Individually he received the Bronze Star with V device and the Purple Heart. After the war, he joined the fire department in Arcadia, California, and retired twenty-seven years later as fire chief. In 1985 he became a columnist for R/C Modeler magazine, the foremost publication for radio control enthusiasts. He lives in Cave Junction, Oregon.