Just released, after five intensive years in the making, OPEN FIRE is a quality 708-page, 8.5" x 11" hardback book with over 1,000 photographs - - many published for the first time (including photographs captured from the Japanese.) The book includes supporting documentation, maps, and over 1,000 names of fellow Marines (many identified in the photographs.) It will be a valuable contribution, a delight, and of great interest to historians, researchers, and military buffs. A must for Marine veterans and their families to read and keep as a history and memento of these battles. Many say that is the most interesting book on World War II that they ever read.

Follow the remarkable story of the author, a naive young kid of 17, as he goes to Boot Camp in San Diego in July 1942 (a thoroughly shocking experience.) Then follow him as a BAR man (Browning Automatic Riflemen) and the men of Easy Company, Second Battalion, Sixth Regiment of the famed Second Marine Division as they experience and endure the rugged hardships of living in the jungle while fighting a fanatical and tough adversary - - the Japanese soldier who thought that he was invincible, and so he had been for 2,000 years.

It is an epic of guts and history with the Marines in World War II. Stirring firsthand combat stories and accounts. Powerful and moving. It tells the story of what it was like. A great tribute to the Marine Corps with tales of heroism that will make every American proud. Nothing compares to it and will be a best seller. An outstanding journalistic endeavor and a marvelous trip into history. Buddy Ebsen, the actor, believes that it should be in every library and on everyone's bookshelf.

It is perhaps the best personal account of firsthand combat in the Pacific war. It is also the definitive book on the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian, that the author fought in. Guadalcanal was the epic battle in the South Pacific because it was not only the turning point in our struggle against the Japanese and our longest military campaign during the entire war (six months), but it also changed the historical military might of Japan when it was defeated here on land for the first time in 2,000 years - - this at the hands of the U.S. Marines.

Tarawa (the toughest battle in Marine Corps history) is a tiny, remote island, described by historians as the most heavily fortified for its size anywhere in the entire war, either there or in Europe. It was defended by 5,000 Imperial Marines (Japan's finest), and the Japanese had bragged that he would take a million men a hundred years to take the island - - but the men the Second Marine Division did it can only 76 hours in the fiercest fighting of the war. For the time involved, it set the record for the highest casualty rate on both sides.

Saipan, along with its neighboring island of Tinian, presented an entirely different combat concept for the Marines. The islands were considered part of the Japanese homeland since 1914. Here, Japan had a large military establishment complete with a modern city, a government and a large population of civilians. It was fiercely defended by the largest military force the Marines had encountered yet. Rather than face defeat or capture, thousands of civilians and some soldiers chose death by hurting themselves over the famous suicide cliffs, a spector unimagined by Americans at that time.

On Saipan, the author's Company was chosen to take the beachhead at the hot spot of the invasion, the extreme left flank. Located on Red Beach One, it was the closest to Garapan, the capital city, where truck loads of Japanese troops were brought from and were unloaded close by. Then, they come in wave-after-wave of Banzai attacks for the first day and night. But the Company held their positions in heavy fire fights after suffering heavy casualties. During the first 24-hours, the action of the author's four-man fire team won a Navy Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for their leader, the most courageous fighter the author ever knew. The Company then had a leading role in the capture of Mt. Tapotchou and the rest of the island, including the area of the suicide cliffs and retaking the two-mile area where, in the largest Banzai attack of the war, the fanatical Japanese had broken through the Army's line. The author, with his BAR, experienced much action here, including fighting his way out of a deadly ambush.

The book will not only paint a vivid and unforgettable picture of these events that shaped the history of the war, and what it was like to experience combat (the ultimate adventure) close-up and personal, but it will thoroughly engage the reader as well. It will bring back many memories to veterans of the war, and also be of great value to their families and friends alike.

But, the book is not all about combat. The author, a professional writer, has skillfully woven in many stories and antidotes of great human interest, ranging from humorous and delightful to strange, even bizarre. Also, it contains many interesting bits of information that has been overlooked by historians, or omitted from the records. It also contains a section on American and Japanese weapons that will be of great interest to all gun collectors.

In the last chapter of the book, we follow the author during the Korean War as he concludes his eight years of adventurous military life when he accomplishes his lifelong ambition to become a military pilot. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1950, as an officer (First Lieutenant) and became one of our early-day, jet fighter pilots and also flew the famous F-51 Mustang. His most memorable experience was when he had a harrowing escaped from death when the engine of his F-80, single-seater, jet fighter plane exploded and caught fire following take off, resulting in a crash landing in the Nevada desert. He recovered after spending four months in the hospital in a full body cast. According to Air Force records, he was the first to survive such an incident.

It is an extraordinary, easy-to-read book, presented in a way as never before, including the best photographic coverage of these four major battles. The photos, along with the author's personal explanations, are exceptional.

Copyright© 2003, Roy William Roush. All Rights Reserved.

About the Book The Author The Reviews The Photos The Game
Get the Book Table of Contents The Fighting Starts My Dream of Flying War in Europe Begins
The Honey Buckets and the Giant Octopuses The Great Banzai Charge Washing Machine Charlie Going Ashore To Join The Fighting Hari Kiri On The Reef