June 15 1944 -Dad's Invasion day of Saipan in WWII H hour 0830. Landed on the beach at 9:45 a.m.
Landing Crafts being blown up full of soldiers all around him on the way in. He saw one shell fall in front of his boat, a second falling closer and thankfully third went over. His landing craft was pushing dead bodies as the ocean was littered with them and the ocean was dark red.
Beach was covered with dead soldiers and wrecked landing crafts and other equipment. Hundreds of GI's screaming for Med Corpsman (and for their mothers). Constant shelling all day and night. 3,500 killed in first 2 days and over 12,000 wounded (71 purple hearts in his battalion).
He was part of a three man BAR team.
Japanese Banzai attacks that broke through several lines of soldiers that threatened to push the invasion back into the sea.
After the airfield was somewhat secured from the Japanese he began working to repair and expand it. Faced constant artillery and sniper fire with no cover.
Eventually they invaded nearby Island of Tinnian and started to repair and build airfields for the big B29 Bombers that could hit Japan from there. While building they were under air raids at night and sniper fire during the daytime.
All the soldiers realized after the fighting eventually calmed down that invading Japan would mean 100 percent casualties of them.
Unknowingly the bunker for the atom bombswere just a few hundred yards from his tent area. One day they heard about the bombing and realized the B29 bomber that dropped it took off from Tinnian.
Michael Bender- this is about his dad Fred Bender who passed three years ago. He lived in Stanhope from 1950 where he built his home after returning from the war.