Eugene Sledge, the author of “With the Old Breed” would write down notes in his copy of the New Testament during his time fighting in WWII. Diaries were not allowed on the front lines. Where there was room to write a note, Sledge would document his time during the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.
Born to a military family in Alabama, Eugene Sledge had a passion for military history. He would spend most of his youth digging up old Civil War battle sights looking for lost relics of the past. A heart murmur prevented him from enlisting into the military himself when he became of age. He made a deal with his father, who was a physician, when the murmur was gone, he would answer the nation’s call and enlist. Sure enough, it disappeared.
True to his word, Eugene Sledge enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. Selected to be a mortar man with Kilo company 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, He would deploy on ship as fresh meat to the meat grinder that was the Pacific campaign. Sledge would quickly understand the reality of combat on the beaches of Peleliu. As the war would go on, he would become a student of the horrors of man, and how true potential can be snuffed out with the simple pull of a trigger.
Upon his return home, he spent some time creating an outline of all he became witness to overseas. Images of the days at war always ran through his mind without end. The outline would go unused for years until Sledge finally decided to write out the story of his past.
He would then spend the rest of his life as a science professor studying birds. The war would never leave his mind, and his work would help bring a better understanding on what really happened on the battlefields of WWII.