Twenty-Two on Peleliu
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On September 15, 1944, U.S. Marines landed on a small island in the Central Pacific called Peleliu, as a prelude to the liberation of the Philippines. Among the first wave of Marines that hit the beach that day was 22-year-old George Peto.
Growing up in on a farm in Ohio, George had always preferred exploring to being indoors. This made school a challenge, but his hunting, fishing and trapping skills helped put food on the familyÕs table. As a teenager living in a rough area he got into regular brawls, and he found holding down a job hard because of his wanderlust. After a succession of jobs he decided that joining the Marines offered him the opportunity for adventure plus three square meals a day, so he and his brother joined the Corps in 1941, just a few months before Pearl Harbor. Following boot camp and training, he was initially assigned to a guard unit. Found not guilty of misconduct after falling asleep on duty while very sick, he was then shipped out to a combat unit. His first experience of combat was during the landings at Finschhaven and Cape Gloucester. He was a Forward Observer in one of the lead amtracs of the 1st Marines for the Peleliu landing, and saw fierce fighting for a week before the unit was relieved due to massive casualties. The unit was then the immediate reserve for the initial landing on Okinawa. They encountered no resistance on landing on D+1, but would then fight on Okinawa for over six months.
This is the wild and remarkable story of an "Old Breed" Marine, from his youth in the Great Depression, his training and combat in the Pacific during WWII, to his life after the war, told in his own words.