Lieutenant Colonel John A. Crown gives an introduction to Eugene Sledge’s description of the battle in Peleliu. He explains that, although this battle was extremely deadly and painful for the Marines to experience, it became apparent after the war that it was perhaps unnecessary, as the battle did not bring clear strategic gains to the U.S. However, Crown describes Sledge’s narrative as a crucial window into an individual Marine’s experience, which anyone who has taken part in armed combat will recognize as powerful and truthful.
This Colonel places Sledge’s personal experience in a larger historical context. He suggests that, on a larger military scale, the impact of a Marine’s individual actions depends on location and context, even if all soldiers are equally willing to sacrifice themselves. In the case of Peleliu, this meant to suffer horribly, even if this had little notable impact on the outcome of the war. This injustice highlights the importance for politicians and military strategists to take extremely prudent decisions when it comes to putting other people’s lives at risk in combat.