10 Oct 14
From: Lance Corporal Woodwick, Erik B 0231, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment Headquarters and Service Company, S2
To: Corporal Albright, Calvin, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment Headquarters and Service Company, S2
Subj: BOOK REPORT OF “Helmet for my Pillow” BY ROBERT LECKIE
a. Audience. I recommend “Helmet for my Pillow” to every single Marine. The book was phenomenal in going into detail about exact events that happened to the 1st Marines during WW2. The author is writing the novel in 1st person point of view and his recollections of the events that took place. Since the author is writing in 1st person point of view, he is able to write in great detail about all the events that took place. Leckie’s novel contains lessons that pertain to all ranks in the Marine Corps; teaching lessons about combat, lessons about life, and most importantly lessons about leadership. I also recommend this book to the majority of the U.S. population to further everyone’s background on events that took place during WW2 in the Pacific. WW2 is a major event in American history, and I believe everyone, military and civilians, should read this book to further everyone’s understanding and knowledge of events that occurred in the Pacific during WW2.
b. Action. The key point I took from the novel is the importance of small unit leadership. This is demonstrated several times throughout the novel. One occasion the author describes an event that took place on Guadalcanal. The officer in charge told Leckie, who is a machine gunner, to set up in the defense in a ravine. Leckie later decided that their position was neither safe nor beneficial to the rest of their company as he had no supporting fire and was in the wide open. Leckie decided to take charge and take him and his team up the hill and set up where he had mutually supporting fire with the rest of the company and dug into the defense. The next day Leckie explained to the officer why he took charge and moved his men to a safer and more beneficial location. This in turn led to saving the lives of his team and many members of his company.
2. Analysis of the Content.
a. Thesis. Robert Leckie recalls the events of the war in the Pacific in first person point of view. He tells the story of what it means and what it takes to be a Marine, and also the obstacles and hardships he had to overcome to achieve success during the war in the Pacific of WW2.
b. Synopsis. The book begins with Leckie volunteering for the Marine Corps on January 5, 1942 from his home in New Jersey. Leckie was sent to MCRD Paris Island for boot camp. Next, Leckie and the other recruits were sent to New River for more training and finally the order to ship out via San Francisco to the Pacific. Aboard the transport George S. Elliot, the Marines land at Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942 at Red Beach. The landing is anti-climactic, as there are no Japanese defending the landing beach and the only drama is becoming lost and discovering a cache of Japanese beer. Leckie's role in combat is he is a 30 caliber machine gun assistant for the Second Battalion, First Regiment of the First Marine Division. Told to dig in along the Ilu River, Leckie and his comrades experience their first combat during the Battle of Teneru when Japanese advance from the eastern side of the river against their prepared machine gun and barbed wire positions. The Marines were able to successfully repel the Japanese’s attacks at Teneru. Leckie and the other Marines of the 1st Marine Division were relieved by the US Army from Guadalcanal on December 14, 1942, the last Marines to leave Guadalcanal. The book follows Leckie on leave in Melbourne, Australia and return to combat on December 26, 1943 at Cape Glouchester, New Britain. Afterward, the 1st Marines have a period...
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