American Legion Reynoldsburg Post 798 12th District Council Department of Ohio
                                                  American Legion                                                 Reynoldsburg Post 798                                                  12th District Council                                                  Department of Ohio

NEW BOOK WRITTEN BY POST COMANDER DETAILS PELELIU CAMPAIGN

In November 2018, another book on military history written by Post 798's Commander, Pete Margaritis was released. Entitled Landing in Hell, it chronicles the Peleliu invasion in World War II.

 

On September 15, 1944, with the Allied winning the war, the United States invaded a tiny lobster claw-shaped island named Peleliu. Located at the bottom of the Palau Islands, it was only 450 miles east-southeast of the Philippines and 650 miles north of New Guinea. The Palaus lay right in the path of the main line of the American advance eastward. Bypassing them would leave a communications and logistical threat to their left flank. The Pacific High Command believed that taking this chain was needed as a prelude to General Douglas MacArthur’s long-awaited liberation of the Philippines.


Of all the Palaus, Peleliu, the second southernmost, was the most strategically valuable. It boasted a large flat airfield on a relatively low plain at its southern end. If taken, it could become a major airbase from which the Americans could mount massive bomber campaigns against the Philippines and eventually against Japanese home islands. Except for the airfield, Peleliu was a typical tropical island, covered by dense jungle, swamps, and many coconut, mango, and palm tree groves. A small but rugged, jagged mountain range went up the spine of the island. It was made up of a densely packed steep ridges, gorges, and defiles, with sharp slopes. Peppering these ridges were countless numbers of caves, both natural and man-made.


The main amphibious assault was to be made by the famed First Marine Division under the command of Major-General William Rupertus. Confident in his men and his plan, he was sure this operation would be over quickly, and resistance would be initially moderate but brief. He boasted that they would be victorious in just three days, possibly even two.


With several other operations underway, the busy admirals planning this operation were also convinced that the landing would be fairly easy, that the Japanese defending the island were relatively weak and unprepared, and that it would be over in just a few days.


They were drastically wrong on all counts. The Peleliu campaign would take two and a half long months of hard fighting. Just a week after the landing, having sustained terrific losses in fierce combat, the 1st Marines were withdrawn. A month later, the last few men of the other two regiments were finally evacuated. The division would have to be out of action for six months, the three rifle regiments averaging over 50% casualties―the highest unit losses in Marine Corps history.


This book analyzes in detail the many things that went wrong to make these casualties so excessive, and in doing so, correct several earlier accounts of the campaign.

 

 

The book, published by Casemate, is available through any major book outlet, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Books.

 

By the way, Cdr. Margaritis will autograph your copy for free.

 

Other books written by the commander include:

  • Rommel's Fateful Trip Home: June 4th to June 6th, 1944
  • Crossroads at Margival: Hitler's Last Conference in France, June 17, 1944
  • Bust Eisenhower: The Message That Almost Ruined D-Day.

WAR MEMOIRS CO-WRITTEN BY POST COMANDER CONTINUE GETTING
GREAT REVIEWS

On August 2, 2017 a book co-written by Post 798's Commander, Pete Margaritis was released. Entitled Twenty-Two on Peleliu, it chronicles the remarkable World War II memoirs of an “Old Breed” Marine. The book depicts the very unusual life of a recently passed local veteran celebrity, George Peto of Columbus, Ohio, as told to the post commander, who is a prominent military author. In a collaborative effort recorded through 14 months of interviews, George recalled in detail to Cdr. Margaritis the exciting elements of his fascinating life.

 

Growing up in the Great Depression, the adventures of this happy-go-lucky kid, like an early day Forrest Gump, touched on so many unique facets of American history in the 20th Century. From gazing up at early dirigibles in Akron, Ohio during the Great Depression, to fishing and trapping on the Erie Canal not far from a gangster’s hideout, to working in the CCC out West. And his experiences in World War II as a forward observer for a heavy mortar team were even more memorable as he fought in four famous Pacific campaigns with an elite unit: The First Marines. Even after the war, George seldom had a dull moment, once fighting for what he believed right up to the Supreme Court (and he WON). Yes, George Peto was an extraordinary individual and lived a life more exciting than any four normal individuals. This is the story of a true Marine.


The book, published by Casemate, is available through any major book outlet, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Books.

 

By the way, Cdr. Margaritis will autograph your copy for free.

 

Other books written by the commander include:

  • Rommel's Fateful Trip Home: June 4th to June 6th, 1944
  • Crossroads at Margival: Hitler's Last Conference in France, June 17, 1944
  • Bust Eisenhower: The Message That Almost Ruined D-Day.

 

If you want to read an interesting interview Casemate Publishing did with our post commander/author, follow this link:
https://thecasemateblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/meet-peter-margaritis-co-author-of-twenty-two-on-peleliu/

(Below: Sgt. George Peto showing Cdr. Margaritis photos
of him in his Thirties. Taken August 9th, 2015.)

The American Legion

Reynoldsburg Post 798

P.O. Box 58

Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

Post Commander

Pete Margaritis

pmargaritis@columbus.rr.com

NEXT MEETING

This month's regularly scheduled post meeting (2nd Thursday each month) will be on Thursday, January 10th, at 1900 hrs. The meeting location will be as normal at the F.O.E. Eagles Club, 1623 Brice Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
614) 861-9073.

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